It’s that time of year that rolls around again in the blink of an eye. There always seems to be driving to do - to the shopping centre for the hundredth time, to visit the relatives that live on the other side of the city or on a long road trip for a well-deserved break. When you’re travelling so much, how do make sure you keep yourself, your loved ones and other drivers and their passengers safe?
The last few months leading up to the festive season is often a busy time where the ‘to-do’ list piles up higher than normal. This means regular checks of your car’s safety may go to the wayside. It pays to have your car serviced regularly to ensure that your brakes, tyres and windscreen wipers are in good order and your car is running well, which is particularly important when you’re heading off on a long drive. There’d be nothing worse than being stuck on the side of the road in scorching heat on Christmas Day.
Before you head off, check your car’s oil and water levels to make sure they’re nice and topped up. Also, check your car’s tyre pressure, which plays an important part in effective braking and grip on the road. You can usually find the preferred pressure for your car on the inside of the driver’s door or in the service log book.
WATCH YOUR SPEED
Rushing is never fun for anyone, and rushing on the road at the festive time of year is definitely a no-no. Make sure you factor in plenty of travel time to get where you’re going and remember, with so many people on the road a trip can take longer than normal - especially if you are travelling on or around the main festive days.
If your car has cruise control, consider using it for stretches of highway driving. It will increase your car’s efficiency, using less petrol, and will help you stay at the speed limit. However, if it’s raining or there is heavy traffic you should give cruise control a miss and use extra concentration. Whether you use cruise control or not, it is important to stay alert at all times.
With the festive season often comes celebratory drinks. However, if you’re responsible for transporting yourself, your family and friends at this time of year it might be worth abstaining so that you know you’re in the right frame of mind to be driving around the ones you love. Alcohol can slow your reaction times which means accidents are more likely.
If you do choose to have a drink, ensure you stay within the recommended limits and leave plenty of time after your last drink before driving. If the thrill of the party is too much and you get carried away, don’t risk it. Stay where you are or consider a cab or public transport.
A year’s work under the belt, a belly full of home-cooked treats or a 5am wake-up from an excited child can mean that some of us are feeling the need for an afternoon nap or an early night. If you’re getting behind the wheel and your eyes are feeling heavy, consider having a 15-minute rest before you set off. Even just resting and closing your eyes for a short time can help you to feel more rested.
If you’re heading on a long drive, make sure you schedule in breaks to stretch your legs and drink some water which will help keep you alert and get your blood flowing.
Driving with kids in the car can make for a significant distraction while you’re driving. Pre-plan activities for kids to keep them occupied throughout the trip or consider travelling during nap time for younger kids where possible. Activities might include drawing, listening to music or watching a portable DVD player.
Mobile phones also create a huge distraction for drivers and using a phone while you’re driving significantly increases your risk of an accident. Keep your phone out of reach while you’re driving and use approved Bluetooth devices to take calls, only if absolutely necessary.
When all the driving is said and done Magic Hand Carwash is the perfect solution for ridding your car of the remnants of the festive season - like sticky fingers on the seats, sand in the carpet and bugs baked onto your bumper and windscreen. Find your local Magic and let us take care of the rest.