• Make sure your bank holiday journey is safe, enjoyable and stress-free
  • Plan your route and check weather and traffic updates in advance 
  • Be prepared and avoid traffic jams and breakdowns

The UK has so much to offer if you're planning a bank holiday weekend break away; from coastal cottages where you can enjoy fish and chips and a paddle in the sea; to countryside retreats for cosy pub lunches and long rambling walks. 

Where things go wrong for us Brits is when we all seem to hit the road at the same time, often causing miles of traffic jams and frustration in the car. To make matters worse, cars can often break down at the most inopportune times, making tailbacks even worse! 

If you're thinking about a quick weekend getaway before the summer's over, follow our top tips for a trouble-free journey.

Before you set off, check your car is ready to roll

Take time to run through this quick check list before you set off: it could make the world of difference to how smooth your journey is. Your car manual should be your first port of call if you're not used to tinkering under the bonnet.

  • Make sure all your headlamps and brake lights are working and that you've got spare bulbs in the glove compartment
  • Windscreen wiper blades should be in good condition
  • Check oil, coolant and screen wash levels, topping up any tanks if necessary
  • Check the condition of your tyres and make sure they're at the right pressure, including the spare wheel. If not, pop to the garage for a quick blast of air

Read our 5 car checks for a smooth Bank Holiday drive.

Pack some essentials for your journey

If you do end up stuck in traffic, make sure you've got everything you need in the car in case the unexpected happens. Our list includes:

  • Food and water supplies
  • A fully charged mobile phone
  • Road Maps (in case the SatNav stops working!)
  • First aid kit
  • An empty fuel can
  • Mobile phone charger
  • If you're travelling with kids, remember to charge up any tablets or devices, and bring travel games and pillows so they're comfortable in the back

What to do if your vehicle breaks down

Should the worst happen and your car breaks down en route, don't despair! 

  • Try and pull over to the hard shoulder or as far left and away from the road as possible, provided you can and it's safe to do so. Switch on your hazard lights and, if its dark or the light is bad, keep your sidelights on as well
  • Sometimes you can't get your vehicle clear of the road. In this case, only leave your vehicle if you can do so safely. If you can't safely exit the vehicle and decide to stay in it, keep your seatbelt on at all times while switching on your hazard and sidelights
  • If you've got breakdown cover, call your provider (the number should be saved on your mobile phone before you leave home)
  • Don't try to make repairs yourself; wait for a rescue vehicle

Lastly, our final recommendation

Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey – and if you're going far afield, plan your fuel stops before you leave. 

Armed with these helpful hints, your bank holiday car journey should be a breeze. Alternatively, save yourself all the hassle and enjoy the long weekend at home – you could make a start on that DIY project you've been putting off!