Us busy parents have got a lot on our plates – so it’s no wonder messing about with our cars is often far down on the list.
A little while ago on Muffin top mummy, I spoke about how the time I had a very dangerous drive down to Brighton. It was my fault entirely, but it did wake me up to the importance of maintaining a healthy car. And ladies and gents, I can announce that next month, I am spending almost every weekend driving to and from the South. With various weddings and parties to attend, I’ll pretty much be spending July on the road – so ensuring my car is safe is my number one concern right now.
What is worrying me though, is will my car hold up?
My poor baby Peugeot is on her last legs (if she had them). She’s had more problems than Jay-Z could ever imagine and yet I just can’t part with her. However, since her last fix-up she’s been pretty reliable, so I’m planning on using her as my main travelling car. I’ve always got my husband’s unlovable Renault if need be.
Regardless of who (yes, I’m anthropomorphising my vehicles) I use, I know I need to make sure they’re completely safe and ready for us to drive when the time comes. Each trip down the dreaded M25 can take anything from 2 – 5 hours, so ensuring they can handle it is essentially. Especially when we have Moo in the car.
I decided to do some research and find out what I needed to know about family car safety before I travelled – and I figured that since you’re probably a busy parent yourself, finding the information in one easy place would make life much easier!
The essential car safety checks for travelling with your family
1) Make sure your MOT and servicing is up to date.
This one might sound obvious (and it’s illegal to be driving without a valid MOT!), but with everything else going on, skipping vital things like car servicing is probably easy to do. We’ve already heard about my lack of servicing and where that got me! Please make sure your car is up to date before you travel.
2) Basic maintenance
Check your windscreen fluid is full. I forgot to do this once and had to buy expensive spring water from a petrol station as I couldn’t see a thing! Have a quick check to make sure all of your lights are working (including brake lights) and ensure the tank is full before you set off. A quick tidy up can also help to remove any hazards that can either distract you from driving – or prove dangerous if you do end up in an accident.
A car’s tyres are one of the most important pieces of kit – regular maintenance and replacement has the ability to extend a car’s life. Check the tread of your tyres is at least 1.6mm (or do the 20p test) and use a pressure gauge to ensure there’s enough air in them too. A good idea is to also keep a spare in the boot – but if you find that you need a replacement tyre stat, they are now easily available simply through online bookings. To buy tyres online in London, you can choose from many options at DAT tyres.
4) Breakdown kit
Make sure you have a breakdown kit handy – including a high visibility vest (sexy), a warning triangle, a torch, blanket and jumper cables. Checking you are up-to-date with your breakdown cover company like the AA or Greenflag before you leave is probably a good idea too!
5) Baby kit
Travelling with children means taking a whole lot of extra bits and bobs – many of which may seem a bit pointless, but you never know when they’ll come in handy. Drinks, snacks, toys, nappies, spare clothes and blankets will no doubt all be packed already. Try to add a small first aid kit (plasters, Calpol, antiseptic cream, teething gel etc) to cover all bases – and don’t forget the spare clothes for yourself when you inevitably get covered in sick!
I’m hoping that by using this guide, my weekends on the road next month will be much easier than some I’ve had in the past! If there’s anything else you can think of that I’ve missed out, please let me know in the comments below.
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