With all this wonderful weather we’ve been having, you’re possibly starting to plan some family adventures, pack up the car and head out to the beach or to enjoy a picnic with friends or family. Whether you are going on a long road trip or just hoping for a few days out over the summer holidays, sometimes travelling with kids (and adults) isn’t as much fun as you imagined. Long journeys can be challenging, but they are doable, and can be memorable. However, a little bit of planning beforehand may just help save your sanity.
No one wants a summer holiday to be remembered for the wrong reasons. We want our children to have great memories to go back to school with and share with their friends.
Planning your perfect road trip can be a stressful and exhausting ordeal, but Leeds City Council’s ITB team is here to help. Here are some practical tips on how to make your journey as successful as possible:
- Is your car road ready? Highways England recommend carrying out a few quick and easy checks to ensure you and your vehicle are safely equipped to drive.
- Follow this link on what to check the week before your journey
- Just a little point to consider – do you have breakdown cover? If not…. do you need it? And if you do…have you got the number to hand?
- Your safety
- Firstly, always make sure you are well rested before travelling and have had a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation can contribute to frazzled nerves and unsafe driving. It’s helpful if your children are also rested at the start of the trip
- Never drive when under the influence of alcohol or drugs (including prescribed medication). If you need to visit your GP before travelling, make sure you have allowed plenty of time to do this.
- Sounds a silly question but ‘Do you know where you’re going?’ (winging it sounds fun…. but I’ve heard from a reliable source that says it rarely is!)
- If you’re using a Sat Nav make sure it’s up to date and that you are able to charge it. Try having a backup in case it fails – you can always print out a copy of your route from Google maps and it would also be wise to check the latest traffic conditions here .
- Before you set off, plan your route. Why not identify opportunities for you to take a scenic (i.e. park or lake) break during your journey? This will not only benefit you, but it will help give your kids (or passengers) a chance to burn off some energy
- Distractions – driving requires the full attention of the driver at all times
- Try and keep distractions to a minimum. Things like mobile phones and iPods are best placed in the glove box or boot
- The biggest unavoidable distraction on a road journey is other passengers i.e. the kids.
- So……Be kid-prepared:
- If you are driving with kids, give them plenty of planned activities to do, especially if your destination is a long way from your home
- Before you hit the road, make sure you have any child car seats fitted correctly. Check out the new laws on car seats here and to see if you have the right size for your child.
- Keep an open mind
- You might need a second route in mind if there are unexpected road works, breakdowns or accidents. If the weather is unexpectedly hot then you may also need extra comfort breaks
Are you having a Staycation?
Just one more point for those of us you aren’t going on holiday and who will be going about our normal routines – Watch out for the kids! They’re everywhere!
I know what you’re thinking … that you’re a ‘good, safe driver’ but a little reminder won’t harm. Please take a little extra time to watch out for those children who aren’t going away on holiday, and who will be out and about with their friends, running, skating, scooting and cycling in the streets, parks and playgrounds. Unfortunately some may be too occupied playing with their friends and being away from their bossy parent to remember all the road safety training they’ve had.
There are so many distractions affecting both pedestrians and drivers. As a driver make sure your distractions are out of sight and that you’re prepared for and looking for those pedestrians who forget to look when they cross the road, because of their hand held devices or excitement at having freedom. If you’re driving, you are largely responsible for their safety. A child doesn’t have a chance against a 3,000-pound (or heavier) vehicle in the street.
So with all this in mind, don’t forget your bucket & spade and sun cream and go have some fun. Have a safe and hassle free journey and we will catch you at the beach!
Have you considered leaving the car at home and exploring Yorkshire on your bicycle? How about taking the family out on some of our fantastic local cycle routes and explore what Leeds and the surrounding areas have to offer?
Leeds City Council has loads of information on how you can safely get about on your bike over the summer. Follow this link for planning your family outing – there is information on cycle routes, city centre bike storage, cycle loans, bike maintenance and information about cycle to work schemes.
There are also interactive maps which will help you find those hidden places which you didn’t know existed. Follow the link to view cycle routes using City Connect’s interactive map or use the cycle journey planner to plan your route step by step.
Have a fun summer cycling and let us know what you get up to by following us and tweeting your sustainable activities @SaferRoadsLeeds.