Of course, totally stress free family holiday motoring is not possible. If you are delusional enough to believe that any such state of affairs could ever be achieved, perhaps it’s best that you move along to another web page.
Maybe we should rename this article: Minimising stress in family holiday motoring. Sounds a little less hopeful – but probably more realistic.
Family holiday motoring seems to come around with alarming regularity. It’s that time in the year when parents take on a haunted look. The prospect of a long car journey in the company of a marauding band of feral whipper-snappers is enough to make even the most laid back cool-merchant twitchy.
There’s the packing and unpacking, arguments over which toys can go in the car and which have to be left behind, tantrums over who sits where, which sandwich fillings go in to the picnic – by the end of the whole car packing scenario most parents are happy just to lock the car up, leave it on the drive and head indoors for a stiff drink and an early night.
As a parent, all the grown-up stuff falls to you. The success or failure of this road trip adventure lies at your door – can you handle the pressure? Before a road trip in the family car there are some pretty serious things to consider. In order to transport your delightful brood safely to your destination you’ll need to be well prepared. Here are some pointers to help you get started on operation family holiday motoring.
Know the way
It’s a great idea to know where you are going. Dig out the map and study it carefully in a quiet place without distractions. Note the major roads and route you intend to take. If you have GPS you can use this too, but for a big trip it’s a good idea to have a paper map – just in case the GPS freaks out and starts directing you down streams or you completely lose the signal. You can read a map,can’t you?
Check you have the contact details of the key players you might need in an emergency. This includes car insurance and vehicle recovery and assistance services. Smart drivers in the south of England take the details of www.bktyres.co.uk who are experts at changing tyres in road side situations. The nightmare scenario of being stranded with a puncture or blow out and the whole family sitting in the car chanting ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ is enough to bring the calmest dad out in a sweat. A replacement tyre or puncture repair could scupper holiday plans but with BK Tyres on your side, the chances of getting back on the road again swiftly are good.
The children will be excited about going on holiday and this will result in certain agitated behaviour. The best tactic to counter this type of conduct is diversion. You need to concentrate on driving safely and following the correct route – so offer your children sufficient entertainment. Whether that’s films to watch, audio books to listen to, music to wallow in, books to read or games to play – get them absorbed in something other than constantly asking you when the next wee stop is, why do they always have to sit in the middle or why haven’t you got any hair on the back of your head?
Check the fluids in the car before you leave town. The liquids you need to be concerned about are fuel (obviously), transmission and brake fluid, engine oil, anti-freeze/coolant, radiator coolant, power steering fluid and windscreen wash. It’s also sensible to check tyres are at the correct pressure. Make sure all lights exterior and interior are functioning – pack some spare bulbs to be on the safe side. Check wiper blades are swiping efficiently, you want to be able to see when rainstorms hit on unfamiliar roads. Take a look at the battery in the car – how old is it? Does it need replacing? What if it ran out of juice when you were in the middle of nowhere….with the kids in tow…
If you have no idea about any of this stuff, check the car’s manual. And if this still doesn’t help, book the car in to your local garage for a pre-road trip health check. Asking a professional mechanic to assess the vehicle beforehand should certainly reduce stress and raise confidence levels – which is exactly the effect we are aiming for!
So are you up for it, mum and dad? Are you mentally and physically prepared for some family holiday motoring? All you need to do is follow these tips to the letter and your stress levels will be on the floor. Sound tempting?