Christmas is inevitably linked to travel. Besides those who do so for pleasure and to disconnect and enjoy their vacations, others take advantage of these holidays to see family and loved ones again.
Many people choose a car. That’s why the authorities and organizations dedicated to controlling traffic prepare special measures to strengthen vigilance and traffic safety at this time.
But a safe journey begins with measures that everyone adopts if they are planning to get behind the wheel at this time.
That’s why we’re giving some advice to keep in mind before getting on the road if you’re planning to travel over these Christmas holidays:
Tune up the car
Making sure our vehicle is ready for a trip is essential before setting off. And it’s a good idea to get a garage we have confidence in to go over the most important points, such as:
– State of the tires. The treads must be as deep as the law demands, and the pressure has to be what the manufacturer recommends. This is essential all year long, but especially so in winter, when the weather and road conditions can require greater road-holding qualities.
– Check the battery. This is another element that’s especially important to care for in winter because the cold can harm batteries.
– Levels of liquids. From the brakes to the windshield wiper, the oil, the refrigerant… And of course the fuel. We should make sure that all of them are at the optimum level.
– Lights. This is another essential element at any time of the year, but more so in winter, and if we are going to be on the highway, we have to be sure the lighting system is functioning well. And especially those lights that we don’t normally use in the city (for example the long or anti-fog lights) but that we may need at night and at certain times.
Planning the trip
It’s wonderful to improvise, but on long trips the ideal thing is to plan what’s essential, especially in winter. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a very clear idea of the route before setting off, especially if you’ve never driven to that destination before.
Avoiding mountain passes and little-traveled areas is especially recommended in winter. It’s also essential to consult the websites of organizations that regulate traffic, and be right up to date with their warnings and advisories. Apps like Waze or Google Maps can help us avoid traffic jams along the way.
And leave plenty of time for the drive. You can invent an excuse for arriving late to an event, but don’t keep a heavy foot on the accelerator.
Check the weather
This bears a close relation with what we’ve said earlier. Taking to the road when weather conditions are optimum is always a good piece of advice so that our holidays can begin in the best possible way.
And always pay attention to conditions on the road and adapt you driving appropriately.
Do you have everything?
Have you checked your suitcase to be sure you haven’t left anything behind? And have you done the same with the car’s equipment? If you’re going to be driving in winter, you should always have chains and an ice scraper, in addition to those year-round safety elements like a reflecting jacket, safety lights, warning triangles and a first-aid kit.
There should also be protective things like blankets, and we should be sure that the cell phone is fully charged and also bring a charging device.
Respecting the speed limit and the safety distance
It’s always a good idea to take these elements into account, but especially at this time of year, when there is more traffic and road conditions may not permit the car to respond with total safety when the brakes are applied or there is some other unforeseen event.
So there you have it: don’t drive too fast and keep a safe distance between your car and the ones ahead of you.
Rest before and during the trip. If the trip is going to take several hours, don’t forget to stop along the way. Fatigue is one of the principal reasons why drivers lose attention, besides slowing down your reaction time at the wheel.
The ideal thing is to stop every two hours or after traveling 150/200 kilometers, and in a safe place where we can stretch our legs and drink some water.
And of course…
While driving, no alcohol! So as to be able to enjoy these holidays and the ones that will come next year.