Around the world, millions of people head out for road trips of one kind or another. From commuting to visiting family and friends, cars make our modern lives easier, and many of us have come to rely on having at least one in our households.
But the road is a busy place – cars are not the only mode of transport, and it’s essential for drivers to ensure that they’re sharing the road with others safely. Additionally, drivers should make sure that their vehicle is roadworthy to prevent any accidents from occurring. So how can you prepare for different types of trips in your car, and what should you be aware of on the road? We take a look.
Driving around town
Driving around your local area will probably make up a large portion of your journeys by car. Unless you live remotely, these journeys will often be a short road trip in heavy traffic, with potentially many pedestrians and cyclists around you and other vehicles. There will also be more traffic lights, crossings, and side streets than when you’re on country roads or motorways – all of which means you’ll need to pay attention to what’s happening around you.
Try to remain calm as you complete your journey, and respect the more vulnerable road users. This means you’ll need to give way to pedestrians trying to cross the road and check your blind spots for cyclists and motorbikes. This doesn’t give them license to move into your path, but it does mean that you have a responsibility to ensure that you’re driving safely and looking out for those more at risk than you.
Long road trips
Seeing more of your own country via a long road trip can be exciting. From setting up the playlist to choosing the right snacks, the drive is an experience. But there are some things you need to do before you set off to make sure that things go as smoothly as possible.
Check the air pressure in your tires, fill up on oil and windscreen wash, and put a warm jacket and hi-vis in the back just in case you break down. You should also ensure that you have your insurance and breakdown cover details to hand in case the worse happens.
Remember to plan plenty of stops in your itinerary, especially if you’re going to be the only driver. It might feel frustrating to pull over for half an hour when you can see your final destination is only a few hours away, but driving tired can put you and other road users at risk it’s been suggested that it’s just as dangerous as driving drunk.
A road trip abroad is a great way to really see a new country. You can enjoy the landscapes and stop when you like to explore instead of being stuck on a public transport schedule. It also means you can stay in more rural areas, giving you more accommodation options.
But before you cross the border, make sure you have checked the requirements for driving in that country. You’ll want to carry specialist safety equipment in case you break down or check that your insurance covers you if you’re taking your own vehicle – both things you’ll want to verify before you set off. You should also be comfortable with the different road signs and check for any tolls on your route in case you need to carry some cash.