Finally, your long-anticipated holiday has arrived. Your bags are packed with summer dresses, shorts, swimwear, flip-flops, snorkelling gear and all the summer essentials. Your car is packed with (hopefully) everything you’ll need for the next two (or more) weeks in paradise.
The holiday road trip runs smoothly, until you arrive at your destination, where the traffic is backed up like a queue at a Black Friday sale. You end up worming your way through the traffic, just to get stuck behind another distracted driver who can’t seem to drive properly. Ugh, if only you could beat the traffic and start your holiday on a high note.
Well, you CAN beat the traffic with these clever tips from the Automobile Association (AA):
TIP 1: Failing to plan = planning to fail.
Possibly the best way to cheat holiday traffic is to plan ahead. Many fellow holidaymakers will be travelling on roads which are more convenient to reach their destinations faster. Congestion is bound to be an issue at some point.
Before you arrive at your holiday destination, do the following:
- Open Google Maps on your mobile or your car’s screen and search for your destination.
- Check the traffic by clicking/tapping on the left icon next to the name of your destination in the search bar.
- All drivers will choose the green road. Rather choose the orange or yellow road as it will be the roads less travelled.
Always have an alternative route in mind and stay up to date with road conditions and traffic issues on your planned route. Check out the AA’s road conditions calculator.
TIP 2: The early car catches the open route.
Timing is everything! Not everyone is on holiday, that’s why rush hour still applies during the holidays.
According to TomTom, the peak traffic times are between 17:00 and 18:00, as well as around 08:00 in the morning. There are almost 0% congestion between 19:00 and 05:00. That’s why it’s best to plan your trip and to make sure that you don’t arrive at your holiday destination or drive to the mall during peak hours.
TIP 3: The tank isn’t half empty, it’s half full.
It’s important to have a positive attitude behind the wheel. Exercise patience, tolerance and even graciousness. Give other motorists a gap where you can and avoid aggressive driving at all costs. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry as an accident will pull the brakes on your holiday plans.
In the unfortunate event of a traffic jam, make sure that the kids are occupied with games so that they don’t distract you from driving.
TIP 4: Opt for the road less travelled.
This goes hand-in-hand with TIP 1 as planning is important when choosing a road for travelling. The majority of drivers will choose the most common roads for travelling. But why not dare to be different and take the gravel road every once in a while?
Find some awesome gravel roads here.
TIP 5: Stick to the rules.
Follow these 5 Golden Rules by the International Federation of Automobile Clubs (FIA)
- Buckle up
Drivers and passengers should always wear their seatbelts. Wearing a seatbelt greatly reduces the chance of death or serious injury in the unfortunate event of a crash.
- Obey the speed limit
Cars are made of metal, pedestrians and children are not. It’s easier to plan and respond in time to avoid accidents if you stick to the speed limits.
- Drive sober
Drunk driving is extremely dangerous and illegal.
- Pay attention
Distracted driving leads to less focus on the road and is extremely dangerous. Put your cell phone away and focus on the road ahead.
- Stop when you are tired
Driving while tired has been compared to driving while drunk. If you are tired, stop and rest. The AA advises all motorists to stop and rest every two hours or 200km.
Remember: going on a long journey is not a race. Arriving safely is more important than reaching your destination in ‘record time’. Plus, preparing for a road trip by having the right attitude, a clear mind, and well-maintained car, is as important as the holiday itself.
Enjoy your break and remember to get car insurance for those unplanned bumps in the road. Get a quote in less than 5 minutes right now!