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Stay safe driving this summer

 Published 4th August 2020
General Guides 

We're at that stage of the year, with lockdown behind us, and foreign travel darkened by the thought of potential quarantine for 14 days, that the idea of taking a ‘staycation' becomes the best way to have a holiday.

It's exciting travelling to your holiday destination, but don't let the holiday mood ruin your concentration on the road.

So we've put together a reminder of some of the key things to remember when you hit the road this summer.

Keep the gap

Don't be persuaded to lose concentration and start following other traffic too closely. Keep a minimum distance between yourself and the vehicle in front.

While it's difficult to judge exactly what 96m is - the distance required to stop when travelling at 70mph - there is an easier way to judge you are holding the correct distance to the vehicle in front: say to yourself ‘Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.'

Use it as the vehicle in front passes a fixed point, such as a sign, bridge or lamp-post. Then you say ‘Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.' If you are still speaking when you pass the same fixed point, then you are following it too closely.

Neil Worth the chief executive of safety and road recovery organisation GEM Motoring Assist , told us: “We recommend that all drivers familiarise themselves with the two-second rule. It's time-based, not distance-based, so it's effective at any legal motorway speed.”

Stay hydrated, and take a break

Although there is little physical exertion involved in driving, you still tend to lose hydration so regularly drinking some water is a good idea as dehydration will affect your concentration and will have a direct impact on your driving performance.

You can do this in the car, but it's also worth taking a break every two hours, advises the RAC. And make sure you are prepared with masks if you are going into a service station and maintain social distancing rules.

Neil Worth adds: “Falling asleep at the wheel is easily avoided, but it's vital you heed the many warning signs your body will give you before you actually nod off. After all, no one simply falls asleep without passing through various recognisable stages of tiredness and distraction.

“You will experience difficulty focusing on your driving, you may fidget, yawn constantly and rub your eyes frequently. You may find your thoughts constantly wandering away from driving, you may drift to the left or right, you may be slowing down without realising and you'll suddenly find you cannot recall anything that happened in the past few minutes.

“Don't ever get that tired when driving. On long journeys, take a break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours or 100 miles. Get out of the car, do some exercise, stretch or walk. If necessary, have a caffeine drink or two to boost your alertness.

“You will know when fatigue is affecting you. It doesn't just take you by surprise. So resist the urge to press on, and take a proper break.”

Take care in the glare

We're all after the sunshine but it can present a real driving hazard when it starts to dazzle. You can reduce the effects of sun dazzle, says the AA, by keeping your windscreen as clean as possible, and by replacing worn or damaged windscreen wipers before you start your journey.

Plus a pair of sunglasses that you can reach for when you come round that corner, or come over the top of a brow, and - zap! - the sun gets you straight in the eyes. Get those sunnies on straight away!

Know what to do in a breakdown

Sorry to end on a downer, but it's best to be prepared: so if the worst happens and you break down, then the car that we helped you lease will have a list of the assistance providers you need to call in case of emergency.

We're sure you won't have to use it but knowing where it is will ensure there are less tears and stress should the unthinkable happen. We're sure it won't, but you never know.

Finally - have a happy motoring holiday!

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