Your car may seem ok to you on the normal day to day driving, but when you are travelling at high speeds or on long journeys, mechanical failure is more likely. So check out your car before your drive. Follow these simple checks to make sure you and your vehicle stay safe whilst travelling on the motorway.
Tyres – these have got to be in good order, not damaged, and at the correct pressure – check your handbook for details of air pressure required, especially if the car is carrying a heavier than normal load, like several passengers plus their luggage.
Lights – make sure all your lights work, carry spare bulbs just in case you need to change one – make sure you have a screwdriver and read up before hand on how to change a bulb – don’t wait until it’s dark and wet and you need to change one. Practise in the daylight.
Windows and windscreen – always keep the window glass clean. The windscreen wash reservoir should be topped up, and the wipers should be working and in good order.
Instrument warning lights – check to see if there are warning lights showing. If there are engine warning lights showing on the dashboard you should not be driving your vehicle let alone on a motorway.
Brakes – check your brakes are working correctly, and can stop the car safely.
Steering – is the steering ok, does it seem in good order?
Fuel – never leave this to chance. Fill up the tank and take enough funds with you to get fuel for the return journey. Motorway petrol stations are notoriously expensive, so do this before you get on the motorway. Also, some motorways do not have services, and you might get stranded if you fail to fill up the car beforehand.
Oil – high speeds may mean you engine consumes more oil than normal and running out can be dangerous and of course, extremely expensive. Running an engine without oil leads to certain damage to the engine. Plus, you will be stranded.
Water – running the car at high speeds, or being caught in slow moving traffic jams can lead to a higher than normal water usage. Make sure all the fluids in your engine are at optimum levels.
Loads – if you are carrying a load, like suitcases, for example, it is vitally important to make certain the load is correctly secured. Whether it be a trailer or a roof rack, losing items on the motorway could cause death and destruction. If anything falls off the vehicle, never try to retrieve it yourself, call for assistance using the emergency phones.
Journey plan – the modern way is to use a Sat Nav route finder. These are good tools, but are not fool-proof. Take a good quality road map with you, and written directions to where you are going, particularly if you are taking a long journey, or an unusual destination. Getting lost on the motorway and trying to read your instructions whilst driving, is not sensible and is considerably dangerous so study your route prior to setting off, and if you like, you can jot down a short list of junctions and directions on a post it note and stick it to the dash where you can easily read it. Or, if you have a passenger, get them to help.