No set departure times, always a seat available and as much luggage as you can fit in the boot: going on holiday by car can give you a certain degree of freedom – provided everything goes smoothly along the way. Here are some pointers to ensure you have a pleasant, stress-free and safe road trip.
Going on holiday by car: follow these tips to ensure a safe and pleasant journey
Going on holiday by car? Follow our tips to ensure you enjoy a safe, pleasant and stress-free journey to your holiday destination and back home again.
Get your car ready for the holidays
Long journeys are demanding for your car. Make sure you get your car serviced at the garage in good time before heading off. The following things should be checked before going on holiday:
- Engine oil
- Brake fluid
- Cooling agent
- Lights and indicators
- Windscreen wipers, windscreen cleaning solution
- Air conditioning/ventilation
Make sure you adhere to the regulations in other countries
Different countries, different customs – the same applies to driving. Before heading off on holiday, find out which documents you need to take, which safety equipment is required and which traffic rules must be observed in the country where you’ll be driving.
- Documents: regardless of where you’re going on holiday, you should always take your driving licence, vehicle registration document and accident statement form when travelling by car. The “Green Card” issued by insurers is helpful, and is even mandatory in certain Eastern European countries.
- Safety equipment: you also need to find out which safety equipment you need to take to every country you pass through or travel to. While “only” a warning triangle is mandatory in Switzerland, a safety vest, first aid kit and alcohol testing kit are compulsory in other countries – in France, for example.
Protect your car and any possessions inside it against theft
Watch out for thieves! In some countries, there is a greater risk of theft – for both your vehicle and your belongings. Partially comprehensive insurance provides protection against vehicle theft. However, if personal items kept in the car are stolen, the “Personal belongings” coverage option offered by PostFinance car insurance will help you.
Roadside assistance cover ensures you don’t just receive help if your car breaks down, but even if you run out of fuel. It also covers the costs of continuing your journey or returning home. It’s worth noting that not all roadside assistance policies provide protection outside of Switzerland. The roadside assistance policy from PostFinance car insurance will cover you throughout Europe.
Pack your luggage carefully into your vehicle
Load your luggage and items into your car carefully. Best method:
- Put the heavy items at the bottom of the boot and the light ones on top.
- Distribute the weight equally on both sides of the car.
- Put your luggage into the boot and don’t leave it loose on the back seat.
- Make sure you have important things like the warning triangle and first-aid kit ready to hand.
- Make certain that you haven’t exceeded the total permitted load for your vehicle.
Plan your journey carefully
It’s best to plan your journey carefully before setting off. The following factors should be taken into account:
- What is the total journey time?
- Where do you expect to meet traffic?
- Would it be better to do the trip in stages or all in one go – for example, if you’re travelling with children or pets?
- What is the best time to set off – for example, very early in the morning, at off-peak times or perhaps later, because you’ll feel more relaxed?
- How much leeway do you need realistically?
- When do you need to take breaks and for how long?
Check the road conditions and weather forecast shortly before setting off
To be on the safe side, check road conditions before departing (roadworks, diversions and road closures), the level of traffic and the weather forecast, and factor in more time if necessary.
Avoid driving when tired
Let somebody else take over at the wheel as soon as you feel the first signs of tiredness. If you start to feel tired when driving alone, it is vitally important that you take a break and have a power nap. Even when the tiredness has passed, it’s better to leave the car overnight, find accommodation and continue your journey refreshed in the morning. Make sure that you eat well and drink enough on your journey.
Keep the emergency number of your car insurance ready to hand
Just in case anything should happen, store the emergency number of your car insurance provider in your mobile phone so you can find it immediately.
A special tip for driving during the summer – keep an eye on the temperature
Cars heat up quickly in the sunshine. Even a short trip in a closed car can be life-threatening for children and pets. Never leave children or pets alone in the car. And make sure that the driver and all passengers drink regularly and sufficiently.