Driving home for Christmas: holiday driving advice

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    Christmas is the time of year when many of us embark on longer journeys, often to unfamiliar places. Combine that with the risk of cold, damp weather and the offer of Christmas cheer, and it can be a rather dangerous time on the road.

    Read on for our top Christmas driving tips:

    Drink-driving

    If you plan to have a drink, don’t drive. And if you’re planning to have lots to drink, don’t drive the next morning, either.

    Despite perceived wisdom, there’s no way of estimating whether you’re under or over the limit. The way the body deals with alcohol varies from one person to another and depends on a range of factors.

    Even if you’ve had a drink, and you’re still under the limit, your driving could still be impaired.

    Read Drink Driving: the facts for more information

    Driving while tired

    Late nights, early starts and long journeys are all likely occurrences over the Christmas period – and all can combine to create a real risk of driving when tired.

    Government figures suggest almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep-related and sleep-related accidents are more likely to result in a death or serious injury.

    If you’re already tired, don’t drive. But by careful planning, you can avoid tired driving. Take a 15-minute break every two hours and avoid an early start after a late night.

    If you feel sleepy, pull over in a safe place. Have a cup or two of coffee and let the effects kick in before setting off again. But remember, the only real cure for tiredness is to have a proper sleep rather than a short nap or caffeine.

    Preparing your car for Christmas holidays

    The preparation you should do before your Christmas road trips aren’t really any different to those recommended at any other time of the year. That means…

    Check your tyres. Make sure they’re inflated to the correct pressure, bearing in mind that you might be carrying more passengers than usual. That means pressures generally need to be a bit higher. You’ll find this information in the tyre-pressure chart in your car’s handbook, inside one of the doorjambs or inside the fuel filler cap.

    You should also make sure to check your tyres’ tread depth. You can use a tread depth gauge, but a 20p coin is a simple alternative – the coin’s outer band measures 3mm, which is the minimum tread depth you should drive on. Between 3mm and the 1.6mm legal minimum, braking performance is significantly compromised.

    Check that your lights work. All exterior lights should work properly. If not, you should change the faulty bulb.

    FULL STORY HERE

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