Important all-year round, the festive period is still one time you really want your car in good working order before making any important journeys - and for any minor ones, too.
Tyres – make sure they’re inflated to the correct pressure (you’ll find a guide on a white sticker in your front passenger door frame, in the vehicle’s glovebox, or in the vehicle handbook). Tyre tread should be at least 3mm in depth (the outer band depth of a 20p coin if you want to measure at home) so that they tyres perform optimally in any wintry weather.
Windscreen wipers – make sure they’re cleaned so that no grit stays trapped between the wipers and the front or rear windscreen as it could scratch the glass when the wipers are activated.
Fuel, oil and antifreeze – ensure that all these are topped before you travel, and make sure you have enough for any unexpected detours en route.
For the definitive winter car care guide, read Autoparts explainer here.
In the boot
Keep emergency items such as a torch, a shovel, two warning triangles, a hi-vis vest and a first aid kit in the boot of the car in case you have to stop your car on the hard shoulder or road verge due to severe weather. The shovel will be especially useful if you come back to your car after your visit and it’s been a white Christmas – you’ll need to clear that snow to begin the journey back home.
For Autoparts’ range of safety products, check out the range here.
Pack the car precisely
While for Christmas 2020 you might only be staying for one night, you might have be transporting a pet or a Santa-worthy sack of Christmas gifts in the car, so make sure your car isn’t overloaded and your boot door closes securely. Store any bags in the boot, or the rear passenger area in the foot wells, so that its contents don’t spill across the seating area with any sharp turns the car makes. Equally, you don’t want the rear passenger seats overloaded with luggage, which can obstruct your rear windscreen view.
Driving puts physical demands on the body, therefore you should make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your day of travel (typically 7-8 hours). Keep your energy levels up by eating nutritious food and hydrating in the hours before you start your drive. Plus, you should bring snacks and fluids for the journey, as well as storing 2-4 litres of bottled water, and dry, calorie-rich snacks, in case you’re ever in the car for longer than planned for.
Enjoy the drive – and keep in touch
Driving longer journeys can be a daunting thought but you’ll enjoy the drive much more with your favourite festive tunes playing in the background – but be sure to keep an ear to the car radio from time to time for live traffic updates that could impact your journey.
And just be sure to let those at your destination know when you expect to arrive. And if you’re unexpectedly delayed, take a rest stop and call to let anyone waiting on your arrival to know.
Even if you’re driving home for Christmas, you should follow local guidance to keep yourself and others safe. Find the Scottish Government’s coronavirus rules for council areas starting Saturday 26th December, and links to all other UK public health guidance, here.