Father Christmas Driving Car with Presents on Roof

Driving Home for Christmas: Tips for Safe Festive Travel

Healthy Driving  |  By

The festive season is a time of joy, but also – travel. Driving home for Christmas is a cherished tradition, but it’s crucial to prioritise safety on the roads, especially during winter.

So, if you’re driving home for Christmas, follow our tips for safe travel!

Woman in car with presents driving home for Christmas

Prepare Your Vehicle

Before starting on a journey, make sure your vehicle is in the best condition. Here are some easy steps you can take:

  • Check your tyre pressure: Cold weather can cause tyre pressure to drop. Low tyre pressure affects your vehicle’s handling and, as a result, fuel efficiency. Make sure all tyres, including the spare, are properly inflated. You can find the correct tyre pressure for your vehicle in the handbook, printed in the inside of the driver’s door or on the inside of the fuel tank flap.
  • Test your battery: Cold temperatures can be tough on car batteries. Check the battery’s age and charge status. If it’s more than three years old, consider getting it tested or replaced before hitting the road. If you’re unsure, here’s a great guide on how to test your battery at home.
  • Monitor fluid levels: Ensure that your vehicle’s fluids, including oil, coolant, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid, are at the recommended levels. You can do this easily at home using this handy guide.
  • Inspect your brakes: Have your brakes inspected by a mechanic to ensure they are in good working condition. Spongy brakes or unusual noises should be addressed as soon as you notice them.
Winter Driving Tips

Winter weather brings a unique set of driving challenges. Be prepared for snow, ice, and colder temperatures with these tips:

  • Snow tyres: Consider using snow tyres for better traction in snowy and icy conditions. If you live in an area with harsh winter weather, investing in a set of snow tires can significantly enhance your safety. They are recommended for temperatures under 7 degrees Celsius.
  • Top us your antifreeze – Check that your vehicle’s antifreeze mixture is correct for the temperature. This prevents coolant from freezing and damaging your engine. Your owner’s handbook should give you an idea how much coolant and antifreeze to use.
  • Drive slowly and smoothly: Reduce your speed in adverse weather conditions. Accelerate and brake slowly to avoid skidding. Keep a safe following distance and be cautious on bridges and overpasses, as they tend to freeze first.
  • Pack an emergency kit: Having an emergency kit with essentials like blankets, a torch, extra warm clothing, water, non-perishable snacks, and a first aid kit will make sure you’re prepared in case of a breakdown.
Plan Ahead

Ever heard the saying “failure to prepare is preparing to fail”?   Well, that especially goes for driving too. With a few easy tweaks, you can give yourself the best chance of a smooth and safe journey.

  • Check the weather forecast: Stay updated on the weather for your route and destination. If severe conditions are predicted, consider adjusting your travel plans or delaying your trip until they improve.
  • Share your route: Let someone know your travel plans, including your route and expected arrival time. Consequently, if you don’t arrive or are late, someone will know your whereabouts in an emergency.
  • Factor in rest and breaks: Tiredness can be a huge factor in accidents. 10–20% of all crashes are estimated to be caused by driver fatigue[1]. Plan regular stops to rest, stretch, and stay alert. If you feel tired, don’t hesitate to pull over and take a break.
  • Have your insurance details on hand: In case of any emergencies or breakdowns, having access to help is crucial. Don’t wait until you’re stranded without internet – be prepared for when you need us the most. Vavista’s accident line can be reached on 0344 840 9537. Additionally, here’s more information on what to do if you do have an accident.

Toy car with Christmas tree on top with snowy background

Driving home for Christmas can be a joyful experience, and by following these safety tips, you can make sure it stays that way. Prioritise the well-being of yourself and your passengers by preparing your vehicle, adapting to winter driving conditions, and planning your journey with caution. Above all, safe travels and happy holidays!

[1] Driver fatigue | Brake
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Disclaimer: Articles are for general information only – customers should always seek their own independent advice. Vavista is not affiliated with the organisations/businesses mentioned and does not recommend or endorse any of the included products or services. For more information, click here.

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