Despite the festive spirit, you may feel, driving home for Christmas is not always so joyous.
With millions of people travelling to see their nearest and dearest, the prolonged journeys, unexpected road conditions and temperamental weather can often mean feeling more Bah Humbug! than Christmas Cheer.
Here at Warranty Direct, we’ve put together our own guide to avoiding Christmas travel chaos – so you won’t end up feeling like Scrooge come Christmas Eve!
Consult more than your advent calendar…
Planning ahead could save you a huge amount of time and hassle. This year, Christmas Day falls on a Monday. This means roads on Saturday and Sunday beforehand are likely to be jam-packed and journeys could take twice as long. The Friday before Christmas 2016 saw 12 million cars on the road, so also be wary of travelling on the evening of Friday 22nd.
Online tools such as Highways England’s planned roadwork finder can be used to check your route is clear of any planned disruption prior to travel.
If you have to drive over the Christmas weekend, it’s best to ensure you don’t do so at peak times. If you can, avoid the motorways. Leave as early as possible on Friday 22nd. Journeying in the evenings on Saturday and Sunday may also save some time.
Driving in the evening can be easier if travelling with kids. Snuggle them up in the backseat with cosy blankets, play Christmas audio books or set up a festive film on a laptop to keep them entertained. You can even put them in pyjamas before setting off – so hopefully they’ll fall asleep!
Don’t just ‘let it snow’
In recent years, winters in Britain have been mild. However, some weather experts are predicting the coldest December in five years, which may mean further difficulties with travel.
Driving in snow and ice is not easy, so make sure you remind yourself of the necessary stopping distances before you travel. These can increase tenfold in snow or ice, so be mindful of traffic in front of you. If conditions are particularly hazardous, you can invest in a set of winter tyres or tyre chains to prevent skidding
Should you run into trouble, it’s vital to keep a winter emergency kit in your car. This should include items such as a snow shovel, tow rope and a high-visibility vest.
Don’t attempt to make repairs yourself – simply call your breakdown provider and request assistance. BreakdownCare Plus* from Warranty Direct provides benefits such as UK roadside assistance and nationwide recovery, to legal advice and uninsured loss recovery.
We are lucky today’s technology has vastly improved when it comes to providing motoring assistance. Google Maps and TomTom’s MyDrive route planner are great tools to use before you set off, to plan the quickest route and avoid traffic hotspots.
There are also a huge range of sat-nav apps available, which can provide alternative routes to help you avoid the worst of the traffic.
Plan for the Polar Express
Not only do fewer trains run during the festive season, this quieter period is often used to undertake maintenance work on rail services. This year, in particular, it’s been reported there will be a major disruption to London services. There will be no trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street Waterloo East and London Bridge stations from 23 December to New Year’s Day.
National Rail’s future engineering work search tool can give you a good indication as to any delays you might encounter and when – so you know whether to make alternative travel plans.
* – Breakdown cover is operated by AXA Assistance on behalf of Warranty Direct and underwritten by Inter Partner Assistance.
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