Motorway Tips For The Bank Holiday

With an unprecedented number of bank holidays in the coming weeks, motorway safety group, SURVIVE, is warning motorists to be prepared if they are planning a bank holiday getaway.

Allan Mowatt, Chairman of SURVIVE, comments: "Motorways have a far better accident record than any other part of our national road system. But every year we see crashes on the motorway that could have been prevented. Children in the back of the car can prove to be a big distraction which is more dangerous when travelling at higher speeds.

"If you breakdown on the motorway, call for help. Think about where you are and do not slam on the brakes. You might be able to roll into a safer place to stop. Ensure everyone gets out the vehicle from the passenger's side and stands on the verge if possible. "

The Highways Agency has lifted many roadworks to ease the traffic between Thursday 21 April and Tuesday 3 May. They will also be patrolling the road network to help the flow of traffic move smoothly.

Research from the AA shows that Easter will be the busier of the two bank holiday weekends, as the schools are still out. Despite the record cost of fuel, a third of drivers - or around 10 million vehicles - plan to go away by car then.

Green Flag is anticipating record call-outs from British motorists in Europe over Easter weekend as thousands of holidaymakers travel abroad by car to cut holiday costs. They saw a huge 125 per cent increase in European breakdown incidents in Easter 2010 compared with the previous year and anticipates a rise of 116 per cent call-outs this year compared to the average Sunday in Spring.

RAC warned that roads around theme parks, tourist attractions and retail outlets were likely to be particularly busy over Easter and expects a 30 per cent increase in fuel related problems during this break. With the stop start conditions created when queuing and using air conditioning to keep cool, cars use more fuel. RAC is recommending that, to avoid running out of fuel, motorists fill up before their fuel gauge hits the red and when filling up make sure that it's with the correct fuel.

Motorway Survival Tips
  • Check your vehicle is regularly serviced, consult your service book. It can be all too easy to overlook the correct service date.
  • Check the operation of all exterior lights to ensure they comply to any legal requirements. All headlights and indicator lenses must be free from any damage such as cracks or missing glass or plastic. Remember to keep the lights clean.
  • Check front and rear wiper blades for wear or splitting. Do check windscreen washers making sure that they are adjusted correctly. Screen wash additive is also recommended.
  • Ensure all dashboard warning lights operate correctly. If not, consult your owners handbook or call your local dealer.
  • Check oil and water levels. Ensure they are topped up correctly. Pay particular attention to the electric fan.
  • Tyre condition should be checked, (inc. the spare) for tyre pressure and legal tread depth.
  • Inspect the jack and wheel brace making sure you are confident about their use. If locking wheel nuts are fitted, ensure locking key is safely stowed away in the car. It may be useful to practice changing the spare wheel, following instructions from your owners handbook.
  • Remember that concentration and frequent use of mirrors are doubly important on motorways because of higher traffic volumes.
  • Take extra care when approaching intersections where traffic is joining the motorway.
  • Be prepared to anticipate the unexpected actions of other drivers.
  • Keep your distance. On a dry road and in good weather conditions leave at least a two second gap between your vehicle and the one in front.
  • Use your mirrors and observe lane discipline. Always use the left hand lane where possible. Remember lanes two and three are not the 'middle lane' or 'fast lane', these are overtaking lanes and should be used as such. Always indicate when changing lanes.
  • Take special care when joining a motorway. You must give way to motorway traffic. Beware of the 'blindspot' factor.
  • Take regular breaks at service areas, but never on the hard shoulder - if you feel sleepy, get off the motorway at the first opportunity.
20 April 2011 Staff

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