Many people will have given up on the idea of a holiday abroad this year and will instead be taking to the road for day trips and staycations. I have noticed that the roads are busier than ever around Edinburgh and the North East of England. With that in mind, here are my top tips for your holiday journeys by car.
Use supermarket fuel
Most cars will run perfectly well on supermarket fuel. All fuel comes from the same refineries. The only difference is that BP, Shell or any other mainstream provider will put in some additives or detergents.
It won’t make any difference to the average motorist and the savings can be substantial at up to 10p a litre. A small car has a 40-litre tank and a family car will hold up to 70 litres, so you could save between £4 – £7 a time.
I live in Edinburgh and use Morrisons unleaded with a Morrisons More loyalty card which periodically gives me £5 vouchers towards groceries. Their fuel is likely to come from Grangemouth about 25 miles away from Edinburgh.
Find the cheapest petrol station via www.petrolprices.com
Do basic checks before you set off
Ensure your tyres are set at the correct pressure and have the minimum tread. Tyres that are below the recommended tyre pressure will affect your fuel consumption and handling of your vehicle. The lifespan of your tyres will also be affected, which will hit you in the pocket when you have to replace them.
Keep a digital tyre gauge and portable tyre compressor in your boot. They are cheap and easy to buy and will save you on trips (and costs) in using the machines at petrol stations.
Check your wiper blades as well. Are they split? They deteriorate in time and it’s a necessity to have them in good working order.
Also check your bulbs (headlights, indicators and brakes). It’s a legal requirement and you owe it to yourself and other road users to ensure that they are in good working order.
Keep some basic essentials in your car and an e-cloth with some water handy in the boot
Keep a small first aid kit, a torch, a blanket, carrier bags and a fleece in your car – you may never know when you need them.
Summer driving brings with it a windscreen peppered with insects. Using your wipers will simply smear your windscreen and obscure your vision. A damp e-cloth will quickly and easily remove any insects and clean your windscreen.
Keep your speed down on your journeys by car
You will get the best fuel consumption if you keep your speed at 55 – 65mph and change gears below 3,000 rpm. Driving at 80mph will use at least 10% more fuel than driving at 70mph and it won’t make much difference to your arrival time.
Anticipate traffic ahead and use your engine as a brake via your gears to reduce wear and tear on your brakes. Sudden stop-start driving will also increase fuel consumption.
Check Covid restrictions
This is more specific to Scotland where you are likely to pass through different levels of Covid restrictions. How will it affect your journey and your holiday? Plan ahead and adapt accordingly.
Keep it in a smartphone holder and linked to your Bluetooth so you can take any incoming calls or use it as a sat-nav device.
Keep your boot light and don’t use a roof rack
Don’t carry any unnecessary weight in your car. Every extra 50kg will add about 2% to your fuel consumption.
A roof rack or roof bars will add to the drag on your vehicle as well and can affect your fuel consumption by up to 10%.
Stay rehydrated and take regular breaks
Keep a bottle of water handy while you are driving on holiday journeys by car.
Take a break every 2 hours if you are driving long distances and ensure your car is well ventilated and not too hot. Tiredness kills.
These are my top tips for being a savvy traveller by road. Can you add anything?