RED’s Tips for Driving to a Festival for the First Time
One of the best things about driving is the freedom it gives you to travel across the country independently. Many of our former pupils who passed their driving tests earlier this year will be making the most of this during the summer months.
For those of you driving to a music festival, it’s one of the first chances to savour your new found independence. Although some of the advice in this article may seem obvious to an experienced driver, new drivers are often unaware of the risks of long distance driving, so we’ve put this together to ensure you’re properly prepared before hitting the road.
Preparation is key
Before setting off on a long journey, you need to make sure your vehicle is well prepared. Does it have enough oil, are the tyres in good condition and is there sufficient water in the car’s radiator are all key questions you should be asking yourself.
Unsurprisingly, it’s also a good idea to plan your journey; do you know how to get there? There really is no excuse for getting lost now-a-days with the help of a Sat Nav! If you’re sticking to the tried and tested road atlas, make sure you have a co-pilot to map read for you.
It’s important you have number of ‘essentials’ with you before you leave for a long journey. For example, a first aid kit, water bottles and sun cream are all necessities. However, preparing for unlikely eventualities is important too. A spade wouldn’t be the first item that springs to mind when packing your festival bag, but you will be grateful for it if the weather takes a turn for the worse and you need to dig your car out of a muddy field!
One of the most common problems among new drivers taking on big journeys is overloading the vehicle. Trying to squeeze five rugby-playing lads and their camping gear into a tiny hatchback simply won’t work! Overloading a car is not only impractical and uncomfortable, it’s dangerous too as the extra weight can dramatically affect the handling and breaking.
Many inexperienced drivers are also unaware of the energy required for driving long distances. It goes without saying that driving for hours without having had a good night’s sleep or proper breaks is dangerous to you and other road users.
This is particularly paramount when driving home from a festival. As the nominated driver, make sure you plan ahead to ensure you are fit and capable to drive you and your passengers home safely.
Make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep the night before you drive home and have refrained from drinking alcohol. As well as being dangerous and irresponsible, driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, even from the night before, could result in a fine, a ban and even potential imprisonment if stopped by the police. Did you know that one in five convicted drink drivers are actually caught the ‘morning after the night before’? Don’t be one of them.
The return journey from a festival is often the most dangerous as everyone is usually jaded and less prepared after the weekend’s activities. Make sure you’re alert and crucially, that you anticipate other road users’ actions.
Take regular breaks and stop for a nap if you feel tired. If travelling in a group you need to make sure someone else is awake to keep you company. This person can read directions and chat to help keep you engaged. Similarly, keeping the windows open to provide a supply of fresh air and playing music will certainly keep you responsive.
Have fun – be safe – go RED!
Having the independence and freedom to take ourselves off for weekends away with our friends is one of the main reasons most of us started driving in the first place. For new drivers the sense adventure is part of the appeal of driving and should be cherished.
However, at the same time it’s essential you’re aware of the extra steps you can take to be safe on the road especially during long journeys. As a leading, national driving school and instructor training college, we have a responsibility to pass on our knowledge and insight, irrespective of how obvious it may be.
RED Driving School offers a Pass Plus course for newly qualified drivers to help build on the skills and knowledge already gathered as part of the learning to drive process. For more information on our Pass Plus course, please visit our website or contact us on 0330 332 2680.