Top 4 summer road trips, plus car tips for the journey
The best roads in the UK
With the last two summers being the warmest on record, more and more people are considering staycations. If the thought of driving in the UK conjures up images of long traffic jams and a quick dash to the service station, think again. We’ve pulled together a list of four fantastic roads to drive in the UK this summer.
Make the A897 your road - the M25 antidote
The A897 in the northern highlands of Scotland was found to be the quietest A-road in Britain (according to the RAC). The route which runs from Helmsdale to Melvich, winds its way along the route of the River Helmsdale, finishing on the North coast of Scotland. If it’s peace and quiet you’re after this could be the perfect route.
Tebay Services - a service station that’s a destination
Surely that can’t be right? Service stations are places we make a quick dash to, use the facilities and refuel people and cars. Well not if you’re travelling along the M6 between the Lakes and Dales National Parks. Set up back in 1972, Tebay Services, is the only family owned and run service station and is more like a Farm Shop, complete with Organic food for little ones and a specially designated dog walk for your four legged travelling companions.
Discover the ‘Evo Triangle’
As you travel down from Tebay, it might be time to get away from the madness of the M6 and M5. If you’re more about the drive than the destination then a detour across North Wales is the route for you. While it’s not as direct as the motorway, it beats sitting in a traffic jam and what you may lose in time, you more than make up for in scenery.
The Evo Triangle runs along the A5 at Betws-y-Coed, across the A543 and back along the B4501. The triangle has long been a favourite for car journos to test drive cars. It takes in long sweeping bends and views of Llyn Brenig Lake.
As you head further south the many winding roads across the Brecon Beacons don’t disappoint, with breath taking scenery. There are so many beautiful roads across Wales, we’ve just started with some of our favourites and will leave you to discover some of your own.
Take the B3306 for a drive to the end of the land
No round up of driving routes across Britain would be complete without a mention of the fabulous B3306 in Cornwall. Running from St Ives to St Just, the road offers great technical twists and turns for the petrol heads amongst you and for those who prefer a more leisurely trip you’ll be able to take in the dramatic views over the Atlantic.
How can I prepare my car for the road trip?
1. Inspect the car battery
Long journeys in slow traffic, often with the whole family’s entertainment devices plugged in, can be hard work for your car’s battery. Coupled with the fact we often do shorter journeys while on holiday - this can lead to batteries wearing out.
Prevention is the key with this kind of car breakdown so look out for the following warning signs:
• Check the age of your battery. The RAC recommend that you replace batteries every three years
• Avoid taking lots of short trips - try to build in a longer journey to fully charge your battery
2. Check for any alternator problems
Alternator issues are closely related to battery problems. Hotter weather and the demand of powering up multiple in-car devices will put a strain on your alternator. If you notice the red battery warning light flickering or lighting up then pull over as soon as safely possible and call breakdown assistance. Replacing the alternator can be expensive and time consuming, so please keep this in mind when you visit the garage.
3. Do you have a worn clutch?
Heavy, slow moving traffic isn’t kind to your clutch either. Nor are the frequent hill starts that cars are required to do more often in the summer as we drive through scenic, often hilly roads. It’s very rare for clutches to just fail. They often show signs of wear, such as slipping, a heavy or gritty feeling when you press the clutch or a change in biting point. If you suspect that your clutch is wearing then get it serviced before heading off. If you plan to tow a caravan, make sure it’s correctly loaded and that your car has the correct towing capacity.
4. Is your tyre pressure correct?
Tyres are prone to punctures and blow outs if not properly looked after. Both of which can be time consuming at best and potentially dangerous at worst.
The good news is that they are easy to prevent by carrying out some simple checks:
• Make sure you check your tyre pressure regularly and keep it topped up to the recommended pressure (PSI) level. If one tyre drops pressure more than others it may be a sign of wear
• Check the rubber all around the tyre for cracks, rubbing and signs of wear
• Make sure you have at least the legal minimum tread on your tyres
Before you head off on your holiday this summer make sure that you have up to date breakdown assistance.
If you are an esure Car Insurance customer, you can add RAC breakdown assistance to your policy today.