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Top tips to keep safe on your summer road trip

Crispin Moger profile

Crispin Moger

August 2, 2019

Driving advice News Parent advice 6 min read

The Great British Summer can be an unpredictable thing – but one thing we’ll all likely be doing is heading out on a road trip! Come rain or shine – there isn’t much that will stop you from hitting the road this summer with your friends. We’ve done some research into young drivers going on road trips and found that there are quite a few things that young drivers feel under pressure to do when they’re behind the wheel.

It’s important to remember that even though one person is in charge of the car, all passengers have a responsibility to be sensible. My daughter is 18 and just passed her driving test – I know she, like many young drivers out there will be heading on road trips this summer. We want you to have a fun summer, but also a safe one – so here’s my top tips to keep your road trip free from distractions – for drivers, and passengers! We’ve also included a helpful infographic to show you what pressures young drivers are dealing with around the UK.


Plan ahead

No one wants to hop behind the wheel without a plan, and as spontaneous as you may be feeling, there’s nothing worse than getting in the car and having no clue what’s going on – especially if you’re the driver! Here are a few things to plan before you set off.

  • Tempers can fly if you get lost, so it is worth planning ahead, both for a smooth journey and to make the most of your time away
  • If you do get lost, don’t panic. Pull over, work out where you are going and put a passenger in charge of navigating so you can concentrate on the road
  • If you’re travelling with friends who all love different music – create a playlist between you all before heading off. That way, everyone’s happy!
  • Snacks – don’t forget em’.
  • You do not want to add the stress of the unknown to the stress of the bay park. Check parking locations at your destination to make sure you know where you’re heading. Don’t forget to have change to hand to pay for it either
  • Remember, you’re on holiday so you can take your time!


Set those ground rules (and roles)

At the end of the day, whoever is driving the car means they’re responsible for the safety of everyone else. It makes sense for everyone who will be in the car to set some rules before heading off – here’s a few ideas!

  • Give everyone in the car a role. Music maestro, snack distributor, direction checker. Get everyone on board to help you get to the destination as smoothly as possible
  • As the driver, if there is anything you don’t want passengers to do on your trip – tell them beforehand! You may ask everyone to put their phones away, keep the music at a set level etc. You’re the driver, so you’re in charge
  • Driving to impress is never a good idea – your friends may want you to overtake that car or speed through the upcoming amber light, but it is just not worth the risk


Respect the driver

This one is for the passengers. We know it’s fun and exciting to be on a road trip, but it’s your responsibility to keep calm and not distract the driver. They need to be fully focused on driving, so here’s some things you can do to make sure you’re the best passenger you can be!

  • If you have your phones out – taking selfies and Snapchatting the journey – it can be a big distraction for the driver. Some passengers even try to get the driver involved in taking a selfie! It may only take a few seconds, but it involves visual, cognitive and manual distractions meaning there’s no concentration left for the driver for the road. Consider putting your phone away completely so there’s no distractions at all
  • Don’t encourage dangerous behaviour for the driver. Telling them to speed up, overtake, go through amber/red lights is dangerous and not needed


Driving the next day

When planning a road trip for a night out, one thing you may not think about is driving home the next day. Even after a good night’s sleep and some breakfast, you may still be under the influence of alcohol. Here are some things to consider if this is the type of road trip you’re heading on.

  • If you know you need to head off at a certain time after a night of drinking – stop drinking earlier on in the night. One pint of beer can take around 2 hours to leave your system (depending on your weight, gender, metabolism and food intake)
  • If you know it’s going to be a long and alcohol fuelled night – plan to set off much later in the day. If you’re staying a hotel, check to see if you can extend your check-out time. Taking those extra hours before driving again can be really valuable



Don’t be tempted to use your mobile phone

We all know that using your phone when driving is illegal. Social media can be addictive but losing concentration behind the wheel is way more dangerous than missing out on the latest Instagram stories from your friends. Here are some tips to avoid using your phone when driving – although we’re sure you won’t need them!

  • Put your phone on silent and put it away. If you’re using it as a Sat Nav which many of us do – disable notifications from popping up on your screen
  • If you’ve no need for your phone for directions, keep it out of sight and out of reach

Infographic of driving pressures in UK

Summer brings sunshine (mostly), freedom, fun and of course, road trips! We want to you have a fun filled summer but it’s essential that you remember to be safe in the car. Remember to enjoy the freedom! You’ve worked hard to pass your driving test and now it’s the time to embrace it. Go to new places, explore different areas and have fun whilst you’re doing it. It’s time to go and make some memories!

Crispin Moger profile

By Crispin Moger

'As the CEO of Marmalade, and having spent 20 years working in the motor and insurance industry, I feel strongly about helping young drivers to get on the road in a safer, fairer and simpler way. Outside work I'd describe myself as a hard rock loving adventure sports fan, who loves to travel.'  See more posts by Crispin

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