Bank holiday getaway – driving to your “staycation”

If you’re planning a bank holiday getaway then be sure to read our tips on how you can make your journey a safe and stress-free one. Here’s IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, to help you prepare for the journey – remember, a little preparation goes a long way.

  • First things first, have you booked your accommodation or any attractions you plan to visit? With the current uncertainties and the social distancing requirements, just turning up is not an option now. A confirmed booking will make for a less stressful start to your break and avoid disappointment.
  • Be sure to take some time and check your vehicle inside and out before you set off. Run through your POWDERY checks to make sure you have enough fuel for the journey, oil and water levels are topped up, there is no damage to your vehicle and all the electrics are working, including lights. Don’t forget to make sure you’re well-rested and hydrated, ready to concentrate on the journey ahead.
  • Secure your luggage so it’s out of the way and doesn’t obstruct your view. If you do have to put it on the rear seat, use the seat belts to secure your luggage so it won’t move around if you must brake suddenly. Roof racks and roof boxes should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and never over-loaded.
  • If you are taking the four-legged members of the family, remember to pack everything they need too. Take them for a good walk before the journey and if they suffer from travel sickness try not to feed them just before you leave. Keeping a cool ambient temperature in the rear of the vehicle will stop your dog overheating which can be fatal. Remember never to leave your dog in the car alone – even for a short period of time.
  • Give yourself plenty of time for the journey and check the news for any traffic updates and roadworks nearby. You can also view traffic information here:
  • Be aware that the risk of falling asleep at the wheel rises steeply if you are driving when you would normally be in bed. After midnight and in the early afternoon is the peak time for fatigue-related crashes. If you feel tired, stop for at least 20 minutes every two hours, for a nap if you need one, a drink and maybe even something to eat. These are the minimum things you should do to refresh yourself.
  • Good weather for a bank holiday will mean it’s going to be a busy time for many cafés, restaurants, and pubs. When you add in the government’s ‘eat out to help out scheme’ available on the bank holiday Monday, you might need to book or allow extra time for a food stop.
  • Plan some entertainment if you are traveling with children. Reading is not the best option as it can make even the best traveller queasy. A simple game of car colour cricket or I-spy can keep the interest up until your planned stop (every two hours or 100 miles – for your benefit as well as theirs). For those teens who are inseparable from their smartphones, check out free Wi-Fi hotspots, and consider budgeting for some extra data for the journey. Keeping them entertained means you can concentrate on the road ahead and your generosity will be much appreciated and help to keep you in their good books for a while. Remember the charging lead (and adapter for the car if necessary) – that way the nightmare of a dead battery will simply pass you by.
  • Using a sat-nav? Make sure to programme in the destination before you leave and check it. Leave plenty of time for the journey so you don’t find yourself speeding to get there. Pre-booked parking is usually cheaper, and you will know where you are heading for. If your destination does not have parking, make sure you have arranged something first.
  • If you have joined the cycling revolution make sure your bike rack is fitted correctly, not overloaded and is not obscuring lights or number plate. Investing in a lighting board will reduce the risk of being stopped by the police and fined.
  • Finally, if you have decided not to go anywhere but are enjoying a socially distanced barbecue with friends remember when it comes to alcohol, home measures are often more generous than pub measures so why not leave the wheels at home and walk if you can, or arrange a pre-booked taxi to take you home.

Richard said: “With so much planning involved in taking a trip away, many of us forget the journey is as important as the destination.

“Enjoy the journey and more importantly, enjoy the getaway. Remember to plan for the return trip as well, a stressful return journey is likely to make you forget about the restful break.”