Jack Dreyer | Thursday 4th August 2022 8:00am
If you, like so many others, are deciding to stay in the UK for your holiday this year, you may well be faced with a long drive. No matter how scenic the route is, a long drive to a holiday destination can sometimes be gruelling, particularly on hot days or with a family of young children.
So, whether you’re heading down to Land’s End, up to John o’Groats, or somewhere in between, read on for our tips on how to make the drive that little bit easier.
First is entertainment. If you are travelling a long distance with a car full of passengers, they will definitely need something to keep them occupied and pass the time. This rings especially true if you are travelling with young children oh-so-likely to reel off the “Are we there yet?” spiel every few miles.
When it comes to in-car entertainment, it is all about prior planning. There is nothing worse than getting a few hours in and realising you have nothing to do. Make sure any electronics are charged up before you depart — this may include:
- Portable gaming consoles
These will provide a few hours of entertainment in the form of apps or multi-player games. You could also invest in travel board games such as Travel Scrabble, Connect 4, Battleships Grab & Go, or Yahtzee.
But there’s nothing wrong with the good old-fashioned in-car games either. A few of the old classics that surface around the 5-hour mark include: ‘eye-spy’, ‘the number plate game’, ‘20 questions’, and ‘the memory game’.
If you’re organised about it, you could also prepare a quiz beforehand. Though, nowadays, there are plenty of quizzes pre-made online that you can access on apps like Kahoot. We’d recommend browsing this list of quizzes about road trips from Fun Trivia if you’ve got a car full of adult-aged passengers.
For more tips on keeping the kids entertained in the car, see another of our blogs here.
Next up is food. Driving long distances is always that bit easier when both you and your car have enough fuel.
So, take time before you set off to pack some snacks that will be sure to keep you going. In our experience, we’d recommend avoiding any foods that are likely to melt or spoil, and sticking to the classics like sandwiches, crisps, or wraps.
Most importantly, though, it is essential to stay hydrated; so pack a variety of drinks. You can read through all of our road trip snack recommendations in another of our blogs here.
3. Rest breaks
As you might have seen on motorway signs, tiredness can kill. According to research by GOV.UK, up to one fifth of road accidents happen from drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
If your staycation drive is longer than 2 hours, it is essential that you factor in rest breaks for both driver and passenger safety. Be wary if you are having to drive at night too. The government has outlined the following two times as periods when drivers are most inclined to drift off:
- Midnight to 6am
- 2pm to 4pm
Not only do rest breaks make long distance driving safer, they also make it easier. By breaking the journey down into small, manageable chunks, the drive will likely feel far less daunting. This way, you can check off each stop as a milestone and use the next one as something to motivate you as you go.
Nowadays, service stations are fully equipped with everything you need to relax and refresh yourself on your travels.
4. Climate control
An often underrated way of improving long distance drivers is climate control.
Being stuck in traffic on a hot day without air conditioning is many people’s idea of personal hell. Equally, driving for a long time without heating in winter isn’t much fun either.
So, before you go, check your air conditioning unit is in full working order. If you are unsure of how to go about this, book in for a free Air Con Check with Kwik Fit. For more serious problems with your air con system, you may need to book in for a Recharge too.
Travelling to your staycation destination, especially in the summer, will feel much less laboured with the fans blowing. What’s more, air conditioning can also be used to recirculate fresh air around the cabin. When sitting in a car for long periods of time without opening the windows, the air can stagnate — so it’s always nice to have clean, fresh air circulating.
5. Driving styles
A lot of the stresses and difficulties of long drives can be alleviated by simply changing your own driving style.
For a start, there are plenty of techniques you can use to avoid using excessive amounts of petrol and accelerating and braking a lot. You can start by making a habit of checking further ahead when you drive; if the cars in front are braking, you can anticipate this in good time and slow down gently instead of braking suddenly. Also, try to maintain a constant cruising speed instead of constantly speeding up and slowing down to overtake.
Research has shown that accelerating and decelerating your speed between 75km/h and 85km/h (roughly 45mph to 52mph) every 18 seconds can increase fuel consumption by 20%!
Finally, if you are off on a staycation with another adult who is insured to drive the vehicle, switch out the driver every few hours. This will help give you both a rest and keep you alert.
Stay safe while on staycation
Before you embark on your staycation journey, the most crucial thing to do is to check that your car can handle it. Ask yourself:
- When was the last time my car was serviced?
- Are the tyres in good condition?
- Are there any warning lights on my dash that are likely to cause a problem?
- Are all my car fluids topped up?
- What about the brakes and lights?
For answers to all of these questions, book yourself in for a service at your local Kwik Fit centre today. In the meantime, you can access a list of all the things you should check before a road trip here.
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