With the festive season fast-approaching, you may be starting to think about where you’re planning on spending Christmas and, if you’re planning on spending time with friends and family, you may have to travel long distances in order to be reunited.
Driving over the Christmas period is often met with excitement, with the promise of good food and good company on the horizon. However, before departing for your journey home, there are a few things that you need to consider.
Ensure that your car is prepared for the journey
Checking that your car is safe and ready to drive regularly before embarking on a journey is vital. However, this is especially important during the festive season, as the drop in temperature, often to below freezing, puts you more at risk of dealing with adverse weather.
Here are some of the key features you need to pay extra attention to, to ensure safety for you, your passengers, other drivers, and your vehicle.
- Tyre tread - Worn tyre tread majorly increases the risk of the vehicle skidding in winter conditions due to wet leaves, rainwater, and ice.
- Fuel - Ensure you have more than enough fuel to cover the distance of your journey. It's always worth having more than enough incase of any unforeseen diversions. Be aware that fuel efficiency decreases substantially when temperatures plummet to freezing.
- Coolant - Check your coolant levels when the engine is cold. Before setting off, take a look in your vehicle handbook and familiarise yourself with the correct coolant mix you need, should you need to top up.
- Oil Level - A key component to a healthy engine. Checking the oil level takes less than a couple of minutes and could be the difference between a pleasant journey or a broken down one.
- Lights - For the sole purpose of safety and because it's very tricky to test these yourself. Ask your partner, friend, or family member to check your brake lights, fog lights, headlights, and indicators. Lets get you lit up like a Christmas tree.
- Car insurance - Forgetting to check car insurance is very common. Throughout the busy festive period it's essential that you're aware of and happy with the cover you have. Are you covered for a courtesy car? Does your plan include breakdown cover? Check your insurance and even ask your insurer if they provide any add-ons to ease your mind this Christmas.
A Mercedes-Benz South West Service Plan
or a Winter Health Check
are great ways of travelling with reassurance and peace of mind this Christmas.
Getting in the Christmas spirit
Whether had been on a strict “no Christmas music until December” ban or have been swapping out your favourite playlists in favour for something a little more festive over the past couple of weeks, Christmas music is one of the best ways to get in the Christmas spirit! Just make sure you have something for everyone.
The top 10 Christmas songs to enjoy on your journey
- Fairytale of New York - The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl
- I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizzard
- Driving Home for Christmas - Chris Rea
- Merry Christmas Everyone - Shakin’ Stevens
- All I Want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey
- It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Michael Buble
- Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - The Supremes
- It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Andy Williams
- Last Christmas – Wham!
- Step into Christmas – Elton John
Be prepared in case of a breakdown
Although breaking down isn’t desirable at any time of the year, the cold breeze and chilly temperature make it much harder to cope with. Although we hope it never happens to anyone, the sad truth is that sometimes it does, and it's a lot more reassuring knowing you have prepared for it 'just in case', rather than hoping it doesn't happen at all.
To help you prepare for this we have put together a list of Winter Car Essentials
, which you can use to gain a better understanding of the items you need onboard and why you need them.
Packing the car
If you and the family are spending Christmas away from home, you will no doubt be filling the car up with presents, suitcases and all those little bits and bobs. Although space can get a little tight, always make sure you're methodical about how you pack the car, ensuring you don't impede your clear lines of sight out of the vehicle. Triple check all mirrors before setting off just to make sure your comfortable with your viewpoints.
For security reasons, it's always worth placing coats over gift bags and presents, to help prevent any wandering eyes from seeing something that they perhaps shouldn’t have!
Check the weather forecast
Check the weather forecast before setting off. That way, you know what to expect and can prepare appropriately. Whether its heavy rain, heavy snow, ice, strong winds or darkness, don't get caught out by the adverse winter weather conditions.
Driving in the winter and the adverse weather conditions the season brings means we need to adjust our driving style slightly in comparison to the summer months. You can read our Safety Tips for Driving in Adverse Weather
guide on how you can keep yourself and other drivers safe this winter.
Checking journey times
When driving home for Christmas, it is important to remember that the roads will be busy. Not only can poor weather conditions add time to your journey, but with people travelling to meet up with friends and family, it is more than likely that there will be more cars on the road than usual.
Before leaving, check journey times, as well as looking if there are any road works or other things that could hold you up. Additionally, finding an alternative route could be really helpful and opens up another option should you run into a spot of traffic. With this in mind, you should keep family members up-to-date with your estimated time of arrival.
If you would like any more information about our Service Plans
or Winter Health Check
and how they can provide you reassurance while driving this Christmas, fill out the forms below and a member of the team will be in touch.