Does Summer Holiday Driving Drive You Crazy?

Mountain road in summerDoes driving to your summer holiday destination fill you with dread? You’re not alone.

New research* from car hire giant Europcar has revealed that while the summer holiday itself may be a relaxing experience, the journey can be a nightmare.

Arguments with passengers, road rage at other drivers and worries that the car won’t even make it to the destination – and back home – can all make families up and down the country dread heading out on the road this summer.

The top things that ‘grind drivers’ gears’ are motorists driving too close (42%), middle lane hoggers (39%) and being cut up by other vehicles (37%). Slow ‘Sunday drivers’ are also a considerable cause of irritation (37%) on long journeys.

Inside the car can be equally infuriating, with back seat drivers (37%), a partner’s inability to read a map (18%) and having to squeeze the kids, the luggage and what feels like the kitchen sink into a too-small boot (16%) all adding to driver stress levels.

But, according to the Europcar research, the biggest concern for motorists appears to the reliability of their vehicle for long trips as Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group explained:

“As the schools break up for the Summer holidays, the family car becomes even more vital for everything from day trips, to excursions to visit relatives and, of course, getting to the airport for holidays abroad.

“But our latest research suggests that many families have little confidence in the family car being up to the job.  And that’s more likely to be the case as families try to managed stretched finances, perhaps leaving servicing or maintenance until it’s absolutely necessary.  Nearly two thirds of drivers who responded to our survey (62%) said they are concerned about their vehicle breaking down on long trips, illustrating that reliability is a big issue for most motorists.

Europcar obviously advocates hiring a car for your summer holidays, but it’s worth noting too that many breakdowns are simply the result of poor maintenance and neglect, and could be avoided by following the correct servicing schedule, checking oil, water and brake fluid levels regularly and ensuring your tyres are correctly inflated and your battery is in good health.

M25 tops the list for the motorway to avoid!

Careful choice of route can also help avoid stress. Popular routes can become a nightmare with holiday traffic and travelling at off-peak hours or choosing a less popular route can pay dividends.

Europcar’s survey revealed that Britain’s most hated motorway is the M25, which was chosen by more than a third (36%) of motorists. Other contenders included the M6 (11%) and the M5 (6%), which is of course a notorious bottleneck for traffic heading from the Midlands to the West Country on summer weekends.

Here are Europcar’s top tips for a stress-free summer travel:

  • Check that the family car is large enough for all the luggage and passengers
  • Is the car reliable enough for a long journey – consider upgrading to a rental car
  • Travelling with kids? Take wet wipes, drinks, snacks and pillows
  • Make sure children are sitting high enough to see out of the window – Europcar offers child seats from all locations
  • Use a Sat Nav to avoid map-reading arguments – Europcar offers hire of Sat Nav systems
  • Keep the car well-ventilated to avoid travel sickness
  • Consider travelling overnight so children can sleep and then stop for breakfast
  • If audio CDs or DVDs aren’t holding their attention, try an old fashioned game like I-spy or word games
  • Give children a map, so that they can follow the journey and spot landmarks on the way

*Europcar independent research of 2,000 respondents conducted 18/07/2013

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