Long car journeys with the family can be exciting but stressful.
There are lots of things to consider before setting off on your journey, such as making sure that everyone is comfortable and that you have everything you need for the long journey ahead.
While you may be thinking about how you are going to occupy the children for more than two hours, it’s also important to make sure that your car is roadworthy to avoid having an accident or a breakdown along the way.
To help you prepare, we have shared our simple checklist for making sure your long car journey with the family is stress-free and safe.
Check water, oil and fuel levels
To limit your risk of breaking down, make sure you have enough coolant and water in your car, and that your oil level is sufficient. This is very important because driving without any of these essential fluids in your car for any period of time can cause serious damage to your car.
Check you have plenty of fuel in your tank for your journey so you won’t have to worry about where to stop for petrol or diesel on the way.
No matter how far you are travelling, you should ensure that your car tyres are legally safe. You can find the recommended air pressure for your tyres in your car manual. Also, check your tyres’ tread depth, as driving without the required amount of tread can affect your grip, steering and braking distance.
Make sure your lights are working properly
Check to see if your headlamps, brake lights, reverse lights, indicators and internal cabin lights are all working properly. These will make sure that you can drive in poor visibility and that you and your driving actions are visible to other road users.
Check your windscreen wipers
Not only should you make sure that the windows are clean, you should also test your windscreen wipers to make sure they are working and clearing your screen properly. Although it might be sunny when you set off, the weather could quickly change on your journey, and you might find yourself needing them. You should check the wiper blades for any wear and tear and get them replaced if necessary.
Pack for an emergency
While we hope you may not need them, it’s important to pack emergency supplies in case you have an accident or if the car breaks down. For example, a spare wheel or an inflation kit will be useful should you have a tyre puncture, and a torch will be handy if you need to check your car over. You should also pack blankets and a change of clothes for the family in case your car breaks down in the middle of the night, or if the weather changes.
Clean the car
Make sure your car is clean and tidy. A fresh car is more pleasant to be in on a long car journey. It also helps to make sure the whole family is comfortable and that there are no unnecessary objects in the car that are likely to fall under the pedals and cause a car accident.
If you have children in the back of the car, it’s likely that they will become restless at some point of the journey. Therefore, make sure you pack toys, books and audiobooks to keep them entertained – although be mindful of what you pack as loud toys and ones that can move or find their way under the seats, can distract the driver. You should also pack drinks and snacks for the whole family in case there is nowhere appropriate to stop on the way.
Check the car seats
Make sure your children’s car seats are fitted correctly. The child car seat should come with instructions to follow on how to install it and fit it with seatbelts. Remember, you should never fit a rearward-facing child seat in the front of the car if there is an active airbag.
Once you have completed these checks, you should have a comfortable, safe and pleasant journey ahead of you. What car checks do you carry out before setting off on a long journey with your family?
Author bio: Thompsons Solicitors is the leading UK law firm in personal injury claims. We have a team of road traffic accident specialists who are experts in running and winning road traffic accident claims for injured people.