Helpful advice for your next self-drive holidays
Already planning your next self drive holiday? Will it just be a short dash to the city with the family or an out-and-out road trip with your friends across Europe? Wherever your next motoring holiday takes you, it is important to safely load the car and take a number of precautions – for the car, driver, passengers and children.
Here we give you some good advice for your next motoring holiday.
Some good advice for your next motoring holiday
- Check the car's fluid levels before departure – brake fluid, coolant, sprinkler fluid;
- Check the oil level before and during the trip;
- Check that the lamps and door locks are working;
- Check if the tyres are damaged or worn;
- Bring the car's spare key and keep it in a different place than the main key;
- Always lock the boot, as this is where many thieves get access to the car from;
- Remember to bring a reflective safety vest. If you suffer from engine failure on the motorway, the vest is mandatory to wear in many countries;
- Remember to bring a warning triangle, hydraulic jack, first aid cushion and fire extinguisher;
- Check the air pressure and pattern depth of your tyres.
- Avoid driving between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning because of the body's circadian rhythm. Driving in this time interval corresponds to driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.8 (according to for example the Danish Road Safety Council);
- Beware of long, monotonous motorway sections – introduce breaks;
- Never drive more than eight hours, as this doubles the risk of an accident and always remember to take breaks from time to time;
- If you use a navigation system, set the route and position the navigation so that it can also be operated by the passenger in the front seat;
- Change the seat adjustment and your sitting position from time to time.
- Keep track of the route – using either the navigation system or a map;
- Provide the driver with refreshments;
- Keep the driver company – in particular, at night, unless it is you who is supposed to take over the wheel afterwards;
- Keep the children in the back seat calm and quickly intervene if any conflicts erupt between them.
- Load the car in a way that makes it easy to keep track of toys, books, games, food and beverages. Bring along garbage bags;
- Check that the DVD player and iPad are functional and work with the car's 12 V socket as well as that they can play films;
- Make sure that any portable game machines are fully charged so that they do not run out of power in the middle of the trip;
- Bring blankets and pillows so that the children can sleep comfortably if the trip is long;
- Take more short breaks rather than a couple of long ones. Use the breaks to stretch and go to the toilet;
- Give the kids water to drink during the trip. In this case, they will drink because they are thirsty and not because it tastes good;
- Avoid salty snacks, since they make children thirsty and augment the need to go to the toilet;
- Beware of the heat. Make sure that the you have curtains to protect yourself against the sun;
- If a child is crying or is hysterical, you should stop in a service area and take care of the child there rather then remove him or her from the chair while the vehicle is moving;
- Check the rules for using car safety seats when you drive in Europe.
Generel advice for the self-drive holiday
- Use your common sense when you load the car. Place any heavy items right at the front and at the bottom. Only use the roof box for light items. If you have a large open boot, e.g. in an estate car, it is a good idea to buy grating and fit it behind the back seat.
- Check the current traffic situation all over Europe on www.trafikken.dk before you are off.
- Avoid driving on Friday and Saturday when the risk of traffic jams is highest;
- Drive in the evening and at night and avoid the afternoon, when the holiday traffic is at its worst;
- Always bring 2 to 3 litres of spare water;
- Traffic jams can last for hours and are not only caused by roadworks and accidents;
- Pay attention to toll roads and restricted environmental zones, e.g. in several large German cities. If a trip down South and back again could cost around DKK 1,500 in toll (it is possible to pay both in cash and using a credit card in most places), the fines for driving without a valid environmental zone sticker could be as high as 40 Euro. More information about environmental zones is available on www.tolltickets.com