Use maps and apps to take the safest route home

In the words of Chris Rea, when you’re driving home for Christmas, you can’t wait to see their faces. But before you go anywhere, our guide to preparing for the journey could be just what Santa ordered…

A winter check

Driving in the coldest, wettest and iciest months of the year is a challenge during even the shortest of journeys. But if you have a long way to go, then making sure your car is up for the trip is essential.

  • Top up your anti-freeze – Make sure your anti-freeze is topped up and not only will it prevent your radiator from freezing, but it will also help to stop your car from overheating too.
  • Change to winter tyres – Winter tyres stay supple in cold or freezing temperatures, as opposed to summer tyres that may harden. They also have a better tread, giving you a safer grip on the road. Try and change to winter tyres when the weather starts to change.
  • Check your tread – If you’re avoiding the expense of changing to winter tyres when you have presents to buy, at the very least, make sure your tyre tread is well above the legal minimum of 1.6mm.
  • Inspect your wipers – When visibility is poor, you don’t need a murky windscreen obstructing your view of the road. Check your windscreen wipers are in good condition and renew them if they’re worn or hardened.

Plan your route

According to the RAC, Christmas Eve is the busiest day of the year, with around 3.8 million drivers heading home for the festive period.

You may take the same route home many times throughout the year, but winter twilight is the worst time for bumps on the road, and breakdowns are common for those who haven’t prepared their vehicle for the trip.

Always check you’re taking the quickest route by using maps, apps and websites to plan your journey.

Pack your vehicle

If the worst happens and you do breakdown, make sure you have supplies at the ready. A blanket, some water and a fully-charged mobile phone are absolutely essential.

Prepare your entertainment

In Chris Rea’s classic Driving Home for Christmas, he talks about being “top to toe in tailbacks” and “red lights all around”, perfectly summing up the typical traffic jams that millions of Brits encounter as they try to head home for the festivities.

Being stuck in queues of traffic can be pretty boring and incredibly frustrating when you’re itching to get home to your loved ones. Distract yourself with the perfect soundtrack and have a sing-along to keep you in good spirits for when you get home – eventually.

Struggling to find the perfect playlist for driving home for Christmas? Take a look at our top 20 festive tunes.