For the inexperienced and even the experienced driver, motorway driving can be stressful. It’s so easy to go off route, get stuck in unforeseen traffic jams and, sometimes, we even break down, with no clue as to what’s happened to our beloved car.
Motorway driving isn’t like driving on the road; you have to make quick decisions while travelling at 70mph and alongside large lorries and overtakers, on roads unbeknown to you and your passengers. Driving safely on the motorway can be so easy, though. Yet, people neglect the preparation beforehand and, therefore, face issues that could have been so easily prevented, had they planned ahead.
Here at Cuuver.com, we’re invested in helping every drive you make safe. That’s why we’ve come up with our top-five handy hints to help you prepare for safe motorway driving and prevent you from uttering “I wish I’d done that before I set off.”
- Check your tyre pressure, oil and lights
Before venturing onto the motorway, two things you should always do before you set off is check the tyre pressure and oil. There’s a reason the DVSA hammers this into you when you’re learning to drive, which is demonstrated by the number of questions you’re asked surrounding these safety checks on your theory and practical test.
So, check your tyre pressure and ask yourself: Are my tyres cold? Are they the correct pressure according to my vehicle handbook? Yes, you may feel like a goodie two shoes, but that’s the type of driver you should aspire to be. If you’re driving, don’t neglect your responsibilities.
It’s crucial you check your lights are working, too. If it’s foggy, no one will be able to see you if your lights are inactive and vice versa. Your lights on the motorway almost replace your eyes; it is your lights you rely on to be able to see the road ahead, properly.
- Load up your Sat Nav, but don’t rely on it
Sat Navs provide us with an element of safety when we’re braving a busy motorway; they show you where you are heading and, literally, point you in the right direction.
Sometimes, Sat Navs can lose GPS signal, not re-calibrate or take you a much more complicated way than you had planned. That’s why Sat Navs should be used as a guide to your motorway driving, you shouldn’t necessarily rely on them to get you somewhere. So, use this clever device as a loose guideline to help you navigate where you are going. Nonetheless, ensure you’ve prepared your route well enough without the Sat Nav’s help, before setting off.
- Plan your route on Google Earth beforehand
As well as having an old-school map in your car and your SatNav on, it’s a wise idea to check out your route the night before your trip, to get a feel for the area you’re driving to. Google Maps are so advanced these days that you can zoom in on satellite to see exactly which roads, lanes and signs you will be following in preparation for your trip. Familiarising yourself with the route you’re travelling on will prevent stress in the event you do follow the wrong sign or go the wrong way.
4. Always have a Plan B
If there’s anything your theory test should’ve taught you, it’s to plan ahead and plan some more. Motorway driving can be a doddle, but sometimes roads are closed, roadworks are being carried out or accidents have blocked off certain areas of the motorway which can not only delay your journey, but meddle with your planned route. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan a second route, just in case the first one doesn’t work out.
Both your SatNav and Google Maps will calculate different routes to get you to one set destination, so make life easy for yourself and prepare in advance of your journey.
- Connect your hands-free
Many people still make the mistake of quickly ringing or texting a friend to say they’ve nearly arrived, or use Snapchat to film a formed traffic queue while they’re still driving. With hands-free devices available, there’s no excuse to be using your phone behind the wheel.
So, before you set off, ensure your hands-free is set up and working effectively. There’s nothing worse than not being able to get in contact with friends to say you’ll be arriving late – oh, apart from nearly causing an accident because you’re frantically trying to fix your hands-free…
This should not be construed as advice and is for guidance only.