As lockdown restrictions are lifting, you may be considering a long road trip to visit family and friends, or maybe driving somewhere for a holiday and change of scenery. It has been a difficult and unusual year for us all and missing out on seeing loved ones has been difficult, especially for me.
I have mentioned it before but six years ago I moved to Northamptonshire, to the village my boyfriend grew up in, leaving my family and friends up north, approximately 150 miles away. It was tough, and still is, but as someone that loves to drive, I made sure six weeks didn’t go by without a visit. If I wasn’t driving up there, my dad brought my mum and nephew here. That was until Covid changed everything.
Before I undertake that three-hour journey (that sometimes turns into four depending on road works) I check various things with my car to make sure it is ready to get my family to its destination.
- Tyre pressure – if your vehicle doesn’t automatically monitor your tyre pressure, you can find out the correct tyre pressure in your car’s handbook. Then pop to your nearest garage or petrol station to add air.
- Tyre tread depth – you can do this with a 20p coin. Place the coin in the main tread channel of the tyre and if the outer band at the bottom of the coin is visible your tyres are unsafe and need to be checked or replaced immediately.
- Fluids – make sure you have enough of the various fluids your car requires, oil, windscreen wash, coolant, and brake fluid.
- Lights – if you don’t have a garage door you can use, you will need someone to help you check your headlights, brake lights, indicators, and reverse lights. You might be able to change the bulbs yourself depending on your vehicle, but your local garage will do it, no problem.
- Fuel – don’t forget to top up on fuel. There’s usually plenty of service stations along the way but I always fill my tank up with fuel the day before or the morning I am leaving.
Other than the checks above, I also make sure my wheelchair is properly secured and I have its battery with me so I can charge it whilst I am away from home. I also stock up on snacks, water and often my boyfriend will make sandwiches for the journey in case we end up running late. We always make sure my medication is in a separate bag and in the front of the car, so we have easy access to it whilst I am driving. There is also a lumbar cushion and hoody nearby in case I get cold or need some extra support for my back.
Furthermore, travelling with two dogs on the backseat, their harnesses and seatbelts are checked for any sign of tears. Luckily my dogs aren’t chewers so that has never been a problem, but I always like to make sure. We also have a collapsible water bowl that lives in the car especially for the dogs. We tend to make one stop at a service station during the journey to stretch our legs and use the toilet. My boyfriend takes Teddy and Georgie for a wander around the station, encourages them to go to the toilet (he’s always equipped with poo bags), and their water bowl is filled. Then we continue our trip on the M6 and my dogs sleep the whole way.
If you’re planning a long journey, don’t forget the insurance with your lease is for up to three named drivers, so your car could be driven by a family member, friend or carer during your trip.
To find out more about adding or changing named drivers click the link below.
My boyfriend is an expert at packing the car and he does it all whilst I rest before we leave for the road. He also packs our cases the day before, I sit on the bed giving instructions what I want to take, and he sorts it all out. We both understand that although a three hour journey might not seem like much to some, it is for me, so the longer I can rest and do as little as possible the better it will be for me in the long run.
Wherever you are travelling to and however long it is going to take you, take your time, do the necessary checks, don’t forget your medication (I’ve done that once and had to turn around after driving for an hour), be safe, and have a wonderful time.
About the Motability Scheme
The Motability Scheme supports people in staying mobile by offering a unique, all-inclusive leasing package for brand new cars from all the major manufacturers. As well as cars the Scheme leases cars with adaptations, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles and scooters and powered wheelchairs.
If you’d like to find out more about the Scheme, request an information pack below and we’ll send you all the information that you need to make the right choice.