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Preparing For A Long Journey This Summer

Updated: Jul 17

This year due to the Ontario lockdown restrictions has been lifted more people than ever from Ottawa are planning to take their holidays outside the city of Ottawa. and they will be driving to their destination. It is essential that you check your vehicle and plan your journey, and if you will have children in the car make a plan to keep them entertained.


Summer Road Trip Tips

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Essential Checks For Your Car Before Travelling Long Distances

This summer will be one of the busiest on our roads for years, if you setting off on a long journey firstly have you checked your car properly? You also need to plan your journey well and try not to travel at peak periods.

There are many occasions in life where you might be required to drive a longer distance than usual.. It could be that you’re intending to drive to your holiday, maybe even driving abroad as many motorist will do during the summer. Perhaps you are off to visit friends and family that live a little further away than you usually travel, or maybe you’re just out for a good Canadian holiday.

Whatever the reason, make certain that you check out your car first, so that you do not become a motorist that has broken down on the side of the road.

Here is a short overview of some of the things you need to check before you start your journey:


Check Your engine oil.

Ideally, you should make sure to check your vehicle’s oil at least once per month, more often if you regularly take long journeys, or do high mileage in your vehicle. Ensure that your car is parked on the level before checking the oil. You need to check first to ensure that there is enough oil, but also to ensure that contamination hasn’t occurred. Oil is essential, as it maintains the smooth running of your engine. Usually, your car will have a dipstick.

To check the level of your oil, firstly make sure that the engine is cold and the dipstick is clean. Then, test the dipstick to see where the level of oil reaches.

Top up your oil if necessary.


Fill Up Your Washer Fluid

There is nothing worse than running out of washer fluid half-way through your journey, perhaps when you’ve hit a particularly dirty bit of road, or driven through a plague of insects! To make sure you can see clearly, top up your washer fluid before leaving home. Don’t forget to check your windscreen wipers and replace them if worn.


Check Your Engine Coolant

The engine coolant is a mixture of anti-freeze and water, which stops the engine from overheating. You should check the coolant level frequently, and especially before a long journey. Look at your vehicle handbook to find out how to check the engine coolant and how to top it up if necessary.


Check That Your Battery Is Charged Up

One way to end a road trip straight away is if your car won’t start! Make sure that your battery is charged and is strong with a battery check test which can be provided from many garages, or mechanics. Clean terminals are also crucial but it isn’t difficult to tidy them up with a little baking soda and water.

The battery in your car is incredibly important and should definitely be considered before beginning a road trip.


Checking if Battery is Charged


Check That Your Tyres Are Safe

It is important to inspect your tyres regularly, but it is crucial to check them before a long journey. Check that the tyres have the correct amount of thread left on them, and if you’re worried, it is definitely worth investing in a fresh set of tyres. Good traction is important in all weather conditions.

Furthermore, make sure that all the tyre pressures are set to the necessary figures, which can be found in your car owner’s handbook When replacing your tyres think carefully about how often you drive the car and what you really need out of them. Don’t forget to check out your spare tyre too, if you have one!


Check Your Brakes

Inspecting your car’s brake pads for wear and tear is necessary before embarking on a long journey, as you don’t want to travel in a car that isn’t entirely safe.


Check Your Lights

Check that your headlights and indicators are working. If possible take spare bulbs with you.


Safety Precautions

You can be prepared for an accidents, or injuries with a special car first aid kit. This kit can contain all the usual bandages and plasters, but with the added car breakdown needs such as a torch, a blanket and perhaps even a basic toolkit. It could also be useful to store some water a and non-perishable food snacks in your vehicle.


Planning Your Journey

There are lots of tools you can use to help you plan your journey to avoid congestion and get to your destination on time. Always plan your journey before you set off and, if possible, plan alternative routes in case there’s a problem with your original route.

Try to allow some extra time for your journey in case there are delays – especially if you’ve got to be at your destination by a specific time, eg if you’re catching a plane, or going to an appointment. Delays can make you frustrated and you are more likely to take risks to avoid being late, which could lead to an incident, or accident.

Also, if you plan a long journey take breaks every 2 or 3 hours in order to keep your concentration and avoid fatigue, also to keep your passengers happy, particularly if you are travelling with children.


Using a Sat-nav (GPS)

If you’re using a satellite-navigation system (sat-nav), enter the destination before you start your journey so you’re not distracted by it while driving. A sat-nav can be very useful if you need to change your route, but be careful not to rely too heavily on it: if you suspect that the route is wrong, use your common sense rather than following it blindly.


Using a Sat-nav (GPS)

Using a Map

Alternatively, use a map to plan your journey. There are route planners available online. Check motoring Organization websites for information about roadworks and areas that might be congested.

It’s a good idea to keep a map in your car in case you need to change your route or if there’s a problem with your sat-nav.


Finally

Ensure that your windscreen and windows are clean and clear before the journey, and fill up with fuel.


Travelling With Children

If you are travelling with children try to make their journey a part of their holiday. Take books, toys, games etc. with you and get your other adult passengers to keep the children amused and happy.


Travelling With Children

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