A Festival-Goers Guide: avoiding breakdown disasters this summer

7 minute read

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Summer 2022 will see festivals come back with a bang! If you're driving to your festival of choice, here are some top tips from us...

 

  • Check your tyre tread and pressure before heading off to a festival
  • Packing lightly will ensure a safer journey and less stress when you get to the festival
  • Just in case of mud, why not consider packing a shovel 
  • Broken down on the way to a festival? Britannia Rescue has you covered

Did you know that 61% of people choose to travel by car to festivals? With long queues, overloaded cars and summer heat, this can be a disaster waiting to happen. That’s why we’re sharing our top tips on how to avoid car trouble whilst heading to your favourite festival this summer, making sure you get from a to b smoothly.

And here’s top tip number one… If you're covered by LV=’s breakdown cover, Britannia Rescue aims to get you back on the road as quickly as possible, because let’s be honest, there’s nothing worse than missing your favourite band because you are stranded!

 

Have you checked your tyre pressure?

Before setting off on any long journey, it’s important to check your tyres to make sure everything’s in working order. There are two key tyre checks you need to make.

First things first, check your tyre pressure and, if needed, pump up your tyres at your local petrol station using the air machine. Set the machine to your required pressure (you can find these details in your car manual), connect the hose to your car and when it beeps, remove the hose. Make sure you do this on all four tyres - while there, why not stock up on hand sanitiser? We all know what festival toilets can be like! 

Top Tip: Your tyre pressure may need to be adjusted if you have a car full of people and bags. Usually, your car manual will include everything you need to know when it comes to tyre pressure, so be sure to check what’s needed when driving with a full car. 

The next item to tick off your checklist is your tyre tread. To avoid any accidents, it's important to check your tyres and make sure the tread’s not too low before heading on a long drive. 

Did you know: 4 in 10 drivers don’t check their tyre tread regularly enough which risks a hefty fine of £2,500 - not the best way to start a festival weekend.

Top Tip: The ‘20p test’ is an easy way to check your tyre tread – insert a 20p coin into one of the three main grooves, if you can’t see the outer rim of the coin, you’re good to go! Don’t forget to also check your spare tyre or check you have an approved emergency tyre inflation kit if your car doesn’t have a spare wheel. You may also need keys for any wheel security devices such as locking wheel nuts. 

Have you packed one too many outfits?  

It’s easy to get carried away when packing for a festival - we get it, it's hard to plan all your outfits in advance, especially with the unpredictable British weather. 

However, overpacking is not great for long car rides. Not only will everyone in the car be a lot more comfortable with less in the car, but you’ll also be a lot safer and when it comes to carrying your bags to the festival camping ground. So, you’ll be glad you didn’t pack that extra pair of trousers.

Make sure when packing your car that you don’t exceed the vehicle’s weight limit as you could end up with a fine and points on your licence. And remember to increase your tyre pressure before you set off if you’re driving with a heavy load.

Top Tip: Stuff a pillowcase with clothes to double as a pillow while you’re at the festival!

Should you take a break when you’re driving a long way?

It sounds obvious, but make sure you’re fuelled up before you set off and plan your journey, so you know where to refuel along the way. The last thing you want is to run out of juice on the motorway - not only is it a real pain, but it can also damage your car by overheating the pump. 

Stopping to refuel also gives you a chance to take a break and stretch your legs. It’s recommended you take a break every 2 hours of driving to be on the safe side, especially if you aren’t used to long drives.

Did you remember to pack snacks?

If you’ve ever been to a festival before, you’ll know you spend quite a bit of time in queues. There are queues to get into the festival, queues at the toilets and queues to get food and drink. But, if you’re driving, the first queue you’ll no doubt come across is the line of cars to get into the festival car park. 

With plenty of cars being stopped to check parking permits, you’ll likely be waiting a while to get in. But never fear, that’s why car snacks were invented, RIGHT? Be sure to pack your favourites (and lots of water!) before you get going on the journey ahead.

What to do if your car gets stuck in the festival mud?

When you’re leaving the festival, desperate to get home, shower and sleep, the last thing you want is to prolong your journey because your car’s stuck in the mud. Festivals are notoriously muddy so it comes as no surprise to see pictures of Glastonbury-goers pushing their cars out of the car park in previous years, ankle-deep in mud at the end of the weekend. 

If the weather’s looking like rain for the weekend, you may want to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario. Although packing lightly is key, if your car does get stuck, reduce the weight in your car by asking passengers to get out and stand safely away from the car. Accelerate slowly without wheel spinning as this may cause you to sink deeper. Having a shovel on hand to dig your wheels out will be very useful.

If you haven’t prepared, there are items you might already have that could help. Putting your car mats down in front of your wheels could help you gain the traction needed to get unstuck. Take care when doing this and ensure the engine is off beforehand.

Top Tip: If you’re really planning ahead, one of the best things to help get your car out of the mud is cat litter - it may just do the trick to gain traction on your wheels and get you out of the mud and on your way home. Sounds odd, we know, but if the rain does strike, you’ll certainly have the last laugh! 

 

What to do if you break down

Breaking down is never fun and can be nerve-racking - particularly if it’s your first time.

Here’s our quick guide on what to do if you breakdown:

  • First things first, get your car to a safe place. Your car will usually show some warning signs that something’s wrong, so don’t ignore warning lights or unusual noises! Drive to a safe space as soon as you see the warning signs
  • If you breakdown on a motorway with a hard shoulder, pull over there, get out of your car and wait behind the crash barrier if there is one. If there isn’t a hard shoulder on the motorway, look for an Emergency Refuge Area to pull into and do the same
  • Once stopped, remember to put your hazard lights on and, if you have a warning triangle, position it roughly 45 metres from your car
  • Call the breakdown experts, Britannia Rescue, to help get you back on the road as quickly as possible
  • Where are you? You’ll need to provide your location to the Britannia Rescue team, which you can do using motorway signs, checking your GPS location on your phone or by downloading the What3Words app

If you do stop in a live lane and you can’t safely get your car off the road, put your hazard and sidelights on immediately. You’ll need to assess whether it's safer to stay in your car or get out but, if you decide to stay in your car, keep your seat belts on and call 999.

So, there you have it, our top tips on how to have a smooth journey to your next festival and what to do if you break down along the way. We hope these help you out and make sure you have an amazing weekend seeing all your favourite bands and DJs and, if you see someone with a bag of cat litter in their boot… now you know why! 

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