Get your car ready for summer
While the Christmas-New Year holidays are still a while off, it pays to check your car, and caravan, boat trailer and horsebox now, as mechanics and garages will start to get busy soon.
It’s likely that warrants for your equipment will also need to be seen too, so don’t leave it too late.
The summer could be one of the busiest ever, as fewer people can afford to go overseas and the roads will be more crowded than you’re used to during the rest of the year.
The economic downturn has put serious pressure on motorists but that doesn’t mean you can try to save by not keeping your equipment safe and sound.
If you think you can do everything yourself, don’t cut corners and if you’re not sure about anything, consult a professional.
General summertime tips
Always prepare your car before a long journey. Check tyres, brakes, windscreen wash, lights, oil and water levels prior to travelling.
If towing a caravan, ensure you carry out suitable checks for its roadworthiness too. You may not have used the caravan, trailer, boat or horse box since last year, and it may have deteriorated since then. Pay particular attention to its hitch, brakes, wheel bearing and lighting. Keep an eye on your fuel levels, especially if driving in the countryside and you are unsure where the next filling station will be. Try to never let the gauge fall below one quarter.
Make sure you have adequate car breakdown cover that will get you to your destination with minimal disruption in the unfortunate event of a breakdown – and make sure you have your emergency callout number, if you have one, with you or in your mobile phone memory.
Plan your journey so you know where you are going, taking a map or GPS system with you, plus a telephone number for your destination in case you do get lost or break down.
Allow extra time to get to your destination if travelling at peak times. Better still, try to avoid Friday evenings when everyone else will be on the road.
In case of a breakdown
Breaking down on the side of the road can be extremely hazardous. Consider your own safety first. If possible, get your vehicle off the road and ensure all passengers are safe.
Park safely away from traffic and switch on your hazard lights.
Make sure you have a reflective jacket or tabard for yourself and your passengers – they’re only a few dollars and can save lives on a busy road.
If you wish to leave the car, exit with caution on the side of the car away from the traffic. Find somewhere to sit that is a good distance away from the road and where you can keep an eye out for help to arrive.
Of particular note, don’t forget to tell the breakdown company if you have children on board.
SUMMER’S HERE: Be prepared for conditions you may not be used to during the rest of the year.