Whether youre travelling for work or leisure, staying safe and secure on the road is the responsibility of all of us. There are lots of considerations that can make a long trip more bearable, safer and cheaper. Here are some top tips.
1 Before setting off on a long journey, make sure youve had a good nights sleep beforehand and have something to eat before you go. Avoid big meals, however, as these can make you feel drowsy.
2 If youre with someone else its worth sharing the driving as one of you can stay alert while the other relaxes. If youre on your own use the radio or music to keep you alert and open the window a little or use the aircon to keep you cool and alert.
3 On long trips, its worth taking a break every couple of hours, get out of the vehicle, stretch your legs and have something to eat and drink. If youre out of sight of the vehicle make sure its secure. You can get high security locks for vans from places such as http://www.vehicle-accessories.net/Deadlocks-Van-Locks.
4 When you do stop find a safe place to do so, a service station, layby or car park. Remember the motorway hard shoulder is only for use in emergencies – http://www.2pass.co.uk/motorway-hard-shoulder.htm#.WSatvozyuUk.
5 Handheld phone use while driving is illegal in the UK. Put your phone in the glovebox out of reach so youre not tempted to reach for it. Even if you have a hands-free system keep calls to a minimum as they can be a distraction.
6 Dont drink and drive. This message should be obvious, but remember that even if one drink wont put you over the limit a single beer or glass of wine can contribute to drowsiness. Best not to drink at all before long trips.
7 Check the weather forecast before setting off and allow extra time for poor conditions.
8 Use your satnav, or a smartphone app, or listen to the radio to get early warning of problems and congestion.
9 Make sure you have a road atlas or map. Even if you have a satnav its a useful backup.
10 If youre driving a hired car, on holiday perhaps, take a bit of time to become acquainted with the vehicle before you set off.