Get A Tyre Safety Check Before Setting Off
Going on holiday is exciting but it does come with several risks, especially in terms of road and vehicle safety. Whether it’s a bank holiday weekend in the Cotswolds or driving across Europe, tyre safety should be part of your pre-holiday vehicle check. Before we get into car maintenance and safety checks, let’s take a look at a few interesting driving statistics.
Figures From RAC Europe
Did you know that more than a quarter of people driving their own vehicles abroad admit to driving for more than five straight hours? Nine-in-ten people ignore the recommended limit of driving for two hours or less before taking a break. In comparison, only one-in-ten motorists driving abroad from the UK (9.3%) adhere to the Highway Code recommendation of driving for two hours or less before taking a break.
Even people who drive for a living within the EU are not permitted (by law) to drive for longer than four-and-half hours without stopping. Drivers outside the UK may not be bound by this but Rule 91 of the Code requires drivers to take a break of at least 15 minutes every two hours. Regular breaks are essential to keep drivers focused, alert and safe on the road.
Preparing For ‘Black Saturday’
Considering the Summer Bank Holiday on 26 August, motorists can expect heavy queues and traffic jams weekend. For those heading to France, remember that this Saturday is a ‘Black Saturday’ or ‘un Samedi noir’ as millions of holidaymakers take to the roads. Many of them will start their journey from the UK which means planning ahead is crucial.
According to Rod Dennis, spokesperson for RAC Europe, “Perhaps it’s a desire to get to our holiday destinations as quickly as possible that means we continue to drive on, or maybe we’re not leaving ourselves enough time to reach the French ferry terminals on our journeys home – but whatever the reason, driving for so long in one go means we’re severely increasing the risk of causing a collision.”
Breaks are essential to enable drivers to stay alert and safe. They don’t have to be long breaks but you have to get off the road to re-energise. You could take a short nap, have something small to eat or drink two cups of caffeinated coffee as recommended in the Highway Code.
How To Stay Safe And Alert When Driving Abroad
If you are heading to France for the Summer Bank Holiday, take heed as it is a lengthy journey. Don’t be a hero and rather share the driving responsibilities. You can even get temporary car insurance which is much cheaper than adding another driver to your existing policy.
Driving is part of your holiday so plan ahead to stop and discover interesting sights. Here is a great road trip travel guide from RAC to keep handy. Never underestimate the total length of some journeys as anything can happen en route. Leave enough time for every journey so you don’t feel rushed or the need for speed.
Possibly one of the more important things to remember is breakdown cover as it is a requirement. Here’s a closer look at what you need when travelling with your own vehicle across the Channel.
Required Documents For Driving In Europe
- Full, valid driving licence and national insurance number
- Proof of vehicle insurance
- Proof of ID (passport)
- V5C Certificate
- Travel insurance
- European Breakdown Cover policy number and documents
- Before you travel, make sure that your vehicle’s tax and MOT are valid and up-to-date
- Crit’air sticker (find out if you need a ‘Clean Air Sticker’)
Required Equipment When Driving In Europe
- Reflective jackets for each passenger to be kept inside the cabin of the car
- Warning triangle
- Headlamp beam deflectors (depending on your car, you’ll either need deflector stickers or have to adjust the beam manually)
- Breathalyser (compulsory in France)
- Safety helmets are compulsory for riders and passengers of motorcyclists and moped users
- GB car sticker (if you don’t have a GB Euro number plate)
- First aid kit (compulsory in Austria, France and Germany)
The Importance Of Tyre Safety
Tyres are essential to any vehicle and should always be kept in good condition. A big part of tyre safety is to carefully check each tyre before embarking on any journey, especially when driving long distances.
First off, look for any visible signs of damage like punctures, stones or cracks especially on the sidewall. Your tyre tread should not be less than 3mm and must be evenly worn. If they are not, it could be a sign that the wheels aren’t aligned correctly which could cause issues down the line.
Next up is checking that you have a working jack and a spare wheel in good condition. If your car doesn’t come with a spare wheel, make sure you have a tyre inflator/sealant kit. For more tyre safety tips, this article offers vital information on the dangers of driving on part worn tyres.
Free Vehicle And Tyre Safety Checks At Elite Garages
You should never compromise your own safety and that of your passengers and other road users. In addition to enjoying your journey, having your car checked by professionals also provides much-needed peace of mind.
If you have doubts about anything on your car, don’t hesitate for a second and bring it to Elite Garages for a FREE safety check. It can identify issues before they become dangerous and costly to repair. Early detection could avoid potentially fatal problems on the road, keeping you and your family safe.
Do you need more advice on tyre safety, tyre tread, pressure and labelling? Visit our website or contact any of our branches and book a FREE tyre safety check before hitting the road. You can trust Elite Garages to provide the quality services you’d expect from a family-owned and managed company.