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Planning Retirement Online

Summer driving                                                August 2009 


Summer driving

The key to driving on our congested summer roads

summer drivingHere we are in the middle of summer, and with more people holidaying at home this year the roads are busier than ever.

Each year over 100 million holiday trips are taken in the UK, with a very high proportion of them being in the six week school summer holiday period. On top of this, a further 80 million day trips are made to the seaside and nearly 300 million trips are made to the countryside.

For retired people, it makes sense to make most of our trips outside this busy mid summer season; but we don’t want to totally miss out on the good weather and fun events held in this peak time, so most of us will be taking to the roads for at least a spell this month.

A key aspect of course is to be prepared – and this aspect has changed in recent years. A few years ago a bottle of water and a good map was about all we needed to think about. Today accidents and problems on motorways and major routes are taking a long time to clear up – my son was stuck on a motorway a little while ago for nearly 4 hours. This is a long time to be stuck in a hot car and you can’t rely on outside help coming to give assistance.

Therefore drinks, snacks, rugs and even a book are a really good idea to pop into the car before you set off. Make sure your mobile phone is charged, of course. If you use satnav, always put in a hard copy road map as well, a vital back-up. In fact, many advise that once you have programmed in your destination, you do a quick check on a road map as well. A friend of ours was taken on a round the south west tour of Britain because she had inadvertently kept in the request for a route showing the quickest way including motorways. One of the main routes down to the south west is the A303, dual carriageway but not a motorway, so her satnav sent her by the M4 and M5, two sides of a triangle!

You can also plan your route through the computer with an online journey planner.

To find out about hold-ups while you are enroute, both the RAC and AA offer support. Call RAC Live Traffic on 64644 (Mobile) or 09003 444999 from a landline for the latest traffic and travel information. The AA also offers live traffic news 24 hours a day on 84322 (mobile) and 0906 88 84322 landline).

Local radio is also good reporting delays and again, a little research beforehand will ensure you can key into the region’s local radio stations as you pass through their areas.

One thing that can be forgotten is that even here in the UK we do stand a chance of getting glorious sunny weather in August! But that means bright sun and early morning and evening low sun glare through the windscreen. Be prepared that on very bright days you may suddenly be blinded for an instance from a bright flash, either direct light or reflected from a shiny surface into your eyes. The same may happen to another driver near you, so take extra care when driving in very bright sunshine.

For this summer, the RAC launched a new concept called My Way. The idea was to encourage people to veer off the congested motorways and main road, find a more scenic route and enjoy the drive. Some of them sound so good that even if you hadn’t planned to go in that direction, they could make a lovely summer day out. Check them out on the RAC website.

Finally of course, there is the green aspect to consider. There are great options to go by train and bus to all sorts of exciting places and sometimes public transport can add to the fun of a journey, letting you relax more than when you are driving.

August is a lovely month to be out and about, but with roads now so congested, it just makes sense to be a little more thoughtful in planning our destinations and our routes.


Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.




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