It’ll soon be time to head off on that summer road trip but how can you become a better driver, one that all your passengers will appreciate? Here the team at Sterling insurance offer some advice on how to be a better driver as you head off to chase the sun this summer. 1. Research your road trip route and possible stops Most of us have and make use of satnavs but it’s well worth taking a look at an old fashioned map to familiarise yourself with your road trip route. Pick out places of interest that you may pass and plan stops to break the journey, perhaps one an hour so everyone can get some air and stretch their legs. Your research may pay off. Passengers don’t want a running commentary of their road trip, but they may have questions about things they see on route. Wouldn’t it be impressive if you could answer some of them? 2. Make sure the car is up to the journey A few simple checks of your car could save all sort of anguish and frustration on route. There’s nothing worse than being stranded on the hard shoulder with a car full of hot and hungry children because your engine has overheated. Before all road trips you should check the battery, oil, water, lubricants, tyres, lights, electrical components, wiper blades and windscreen washer levels. And, “because even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”, consider Sterling insurance breakdown cover which can cost from as little as £46.80 a year, which is a fraction of the cost of an emergency call out, tow and repairs at a local garage. 3. Leave plenty of time for your road trip Wherever you are headed on your summer road trip, you will probably run into delays. Whether it’s roadworks, a crash or simply being stuck behind a tractor on a country lane, the journey will usually take longer than you imagined. If you have to be somewhere by a certain time, leave at least an hour longer than you think the journey will take. If you don’t you may find yourself rushing the last 40 miles and tempers will rise as quickly as your speed. 4. Don’t give your passengers a white-knuckle ride If you are headed for the seaside or a theme park on your road trip the white knuckle ride can wait till you get there. Accelerate, brake and corner gently to give your passengers the most comfortable ride possible. And shouting at the car in front to stop hogging the middle lane just gets everyone on edge. Stay calm, count to 10, and think of your passengers’ wellbeing rather than your frustration at the inconsiderate behaviour of other motorists coming between you and your road trip destination. 5. Make a playlist for your passengers You may love Metallica or even Michael Buble, but your favourite won’t necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea. Plan a varied playlist that reflects all of your passengers’ musical interests. And the panels of the door don’t need to be vibrating to the rhythm of the music. Watch the volume, if you can’t hear one another speak comfortably, it’s definitely too loud. 6. Pack snacks and drinks for the road trip Children, adults, grandparents, most people enjoy a little nibble when they get bored and they may get bored if your road trip takes you along mile after mile of dull motorway. Pack a variety of snacks and drinks but avoid chocolate which can melt in a warm full car. Mints, fruit and crisps are ideal, but make sure you have a rubbish bag handy for wrappers, packages, peel and pips. Go for water, still or sparkling, rather than sugar-laden soft drinks or energy drinks which could leave the children — and possibly granny — a little hyperactive, which is not great when you’re on a road trip. 7. Avoid spicy food Watch what you eat the night before your road trip and during it. The only place for gas in a car is in the petrol tank. Being a good host when driving people means being considerate of the environment you’re putting people in! 8. Be sympathetic to demands for comfort breaks If someone needs a break, let them have one. There’s little worse than sitting with your legs crossed in the back of a car for hours on end. If you’ve planned properly and given yourself plenty of time for your road trip there’s no reason for you not to stop for a comfort break every time someone asks. 9. Play games during your road trip Take your passengers’ minds off the journey, and hopefully off their need for the loo, by playing games on route. Anything from I-Spy to hangman will make the journey go a little faster. With children you can get them to guess the mileage between stops or look out for particular landmarks that you spotted earlier during your pre-route planning. You can also get children to put their initials on the walls of car tyres before you set out and the child whose initials are nearest the ground each time you stop wins a prize. 10. Let passengers have their own small travel bag People get great comfort from having a few personal possessions around them. Let all the family pack their own small travel bags for the road trip. They can include their favourite sweets, perhaps a small teddy, pack of cards, computer game or gadget, anything that makes them happy, as long as it doesn’t take up too much room. Wherever you are headed for your summer road trip, be a better driver with Sterling insurance cover. Call 0344 381 9990 to find out how much money you could save.