Andy Cash’s Motoring Guide to Summer Fun
Two delightfully hot Bank Holiday weekends inevitably bring with them stories of traffic chaos, queues and overheated motorists. While you plan your packing and the loading of your car it really is worth a few minutes on a check list to make sure all goes smoothly. Here are my thoughts which may assist;
- Documents. Many people are caught out when instalments are not paid on insurance or it is not properly renewed. If stopped without current cover your vehicle will be impounded, potentially wrecking your break. Although everything is now saved digitally, I recommend keeping a paper copy of your insurance certificate and the registration document in the car to ensure all goes well. If towing a caravan or trailer make sure the driver is licenced to tow. Older motorists [test passed before 1st Jan 1997] will be passported, but younger drivers may need an additional test pass depending on the trailer or van weight.
- Mechanics. Check your tyres, pressure and tread, paying particular attention to the inside edges of tyres not easily seen, but often worn if out of track. A garage will do a check of fluids for you, but it is easy to check coolant and brake fluid levels your self. Tyre and brake checks are vital on caravans which may not have had regular use and the best advice if unsure is to change both tyres and bearings.
- Plan your journey. It is always a good idea to check your route and avoid undue reliance on Sat Nav systems. If using a Sat Nav on a smart phone ensure that it is fitted in a proper cradle and not hand held at any point. Make yourself aware of parts of your route that might be busy and plan to leave early or late to avoid congestion.
- Equipment. If you are going over to Europe check the specific requirements of each country you plan to visit as they all vary slightly,[e.g. In France you must carry two breathalysers]. However it is a good idea to carry a warning triangle, reflective jacket, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher any way. [I always carried a spare bulb set, but with more modern cars it can be almost impossible to change a bulb yourself.]
Once you have set off, remember to stay alert. I see increasing numbers of people caught out by variable speed limits on our smart motorways, so watch those overhead signs. Equally if you are in an unfamiliar area you may not always see speed limiting signs and it is vital to be aware of the type of road you are on. In urban and sub urban areas never assume it is anything but a 30 mph limit unless you have clear indication otherwise. Finally please stay away from your mobile and smart phones. I lock mine in the glove box.
All advice is correct at time of publication.