Getting Your Car Ready For Road Trip - Top 5 Checklist
By: Irena Kavas
Last updated: 05 July 2016
Before you hit the road this summer, make sure that your vehicle is ready. Needless to say, a car problem can ruin even the most carefully planned trip, no matter if you are planning to explore Britain's hidden gems, or visit the most popular travel destinations in Europe or other parts of the world.
Unfortunately, it isn't always possible to prevent a flat tyre, but you can dramatically reduce the risk by following these five simple measures.
1. Ensure your car is mechanically flawless
Check the tires, oil, brakes, suspension, air filter, air conditioning, etc. or better yet, have them inspected by a mechanic. Schedule a check-up at least one week before the departure in order to allow enough time for repairs if any are necessary. In addition to saving you a lot of stress, this will also save you a lot of money for emergency repairs, especially if you'll be travelling abroad.
2. Get a breakdown cover
Even brand new vehicles sometimes break down. The risk is extremely small if your car was inspected and serviced; but it's there anyway. If the worst happens, a breakdown cover can be a life-saver. Just make sure it includes cover for when you travel abroad, as you may have to purchase extra cover when leaving the UK.
3. Pack a good map or install a GPS navigation system
Both will make it easier to reach your destination, not to mention faster too. In addition, a GPS navigation system will also provide guidance to petrol stations, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, etc. Just make sure that the map/GPS navigation device is up-to-date and is set to the correct destination, in the correct country.
Photo credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock
4. Inform yourself about compulsory equipment requirements
If you're planning to drive abroad, you will probably need to get some compulsory equipment. For example, in France you need to have a self-test breathalyser in your vehicle. In Greece, you must have a fire extinguisher; while those driving in Belgium and many other European countries should have a warning triangle, reflective jacket, first aid kit and some other pieces of equipment. So check before you travel, to avoid getting into trouble with the local authorities if stopped.
5. Don't forget your driving license
This might seem obvious, but just to be on the safe side, triple check you have taken your license before you depart. A UK driving license is accepted in most of Europe but if you'll be driving in non-EU/EEA countries, you may need an international driving permit. Inform yourself about the requirements of different countries in advance in order to get an international driving permit on time in case you need it.
Once you've reached your destination
Just because you have reached your destination, doesn't mean you can relax; at least when it comes to driving. Follow driving rules, don't drink and drive, and adjust the speed to road/weather conditions. It’s also a good idea to look for the nearest petrol station before your fuel light starts to blink and just in case, write down the address and contact information of the nearest mechanic. Last but not the least important, remember that you are supposed to drive on the right side of the road in most European (as well as non-European) countries.
Feature image credit: Dirima / Shutterstock