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How to keep your cool in heavy traffic this summer

How to keep your cool in heavy traffic  

At ingenie we're always keeping an eye on the news so we can give you guys the heads up on all things driving, and according to the traffic experts, this weekend is predicted to be preettttty hectic on UK roads.

Huge queues on the motorways are to be expected this week as the busiest summer getaway in 5 years gets underway. Researchers are predicting nearly 14 million holiday journeys will be happening between Friday and Sunday, which is 4 million more than last year. Wowza.

Mix holiday makers with schools breaking up, and you've got a recipe for congestion. And not the type that can be sorted with a nasal spray.

So, if you are one of the millions planning on making a road trip this's 5 bits of advice to help you keep your cool behind the wheel.

  1. Be prepared

    We've said it before, several times in fact, and we're saying it again. Being prepared for all eventualities before you head off for a long journey is going to massively help you avoid potential problems on the road.

    How do you get prepared? Firstly, do your usual car checks - tyre pressure, oil, screen wash, a FULL tank of petrol (not just enough to get you to the first service station). You know the drill.

    Then, check you've got what you need if the worse was to happen, like a breakdown. Have you got breakdown cover? Do you know who to phone if your tyre bursts? Have you got a blanket in the car in case you end up standing by the side of the road for hours?

    If you've answered no to any of these you know what to do - today.

  2. Plan a back-up route

    Plan your route. Then plan another route. Because you can bet your bottom dollar that the entire world will also be taking that route. Apps like Google Maps and Waze will help you avoid major hold-ups but it's also a good idea to have a few secret routes up your sleeve to cut your journey time down.

  3. Phone charger

    Make sure you've got a phone charger and a phone holder in your car. If you're using your phone as a satnav the chances are by the time you arrive you'll have next to nothing left on your battery.

    It'll save your Mum flapping about whether you've arrived safely yet too.

    May we also recommend downloading several playlists to help with the bordem gridlock brings:

    • One to play when you've just set off - packed with all the charts and your top summer tunes.
    • One for when you hit traffic - you'll need a bit of livening up to keep the good vibes alive.
    • One for when all your passengers have selfishly fallen asleep but you still need music. Heavy metal?
  4. Think comfortable

    When we're in "weekend away mode" and we're living our best life we want to look the part. Think of all the photos for goodness sake?! But your latest denim hot pants and beach hat from ASOS may not actually be the most practical if you're going to be stuck in the driving seat for 3 hours.

    Think comfortable. Think sensible. And keep a change of fancy clothes in the boot if you simply HAVE to transform yourself when you arrive.

    TIP: always keep a pair of decent sunglasses in your car as well as your bag. Sitting stationary in traffic with the sun glaring in your eyes is not fun.
  5. Tasty supplies

    Snacks and drinks. If there's anything that's going to keep you smiling during a traffic jam it's knowing you've got a bag of your favourite munch to get you through.

    Sure, there’ll be petrol stations and supermarkets near, but if you end up stuck for an hour you’re going to wish you'd grabbed that bag of Doritos before you set off.

    Also an absolute essential to have with you - water. Staying hydrated will do wonders for your concentration and your mood.

    Hunger + a hopelessly long situation = hangry driver and unhappy passengers. Don't underestimate the importance of keeping yourself fed and watered!

  6. Frantic Friday

    So here's where the experts are predicting the heaviest traffic:

    • The M1 southbound from J16 to J6 - 90-minute delays.
    • The M25 anticlockwise from J4 to J1 - hold-ups of around an hour are predicted.
    • The M40, M5 and M6 and likely to have long queues.

    Drivers who want to avoid the worst of Friday’s traffic are advised to travel after 8pm.

    And if you wouldn't know what to do if you broke down in your car (the actual car, not your mental state) here's how to keep you and your passengers safe.

Katey Gregory

By Katey Gregory

Katey Joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of all things social and content. She passed her driving test in 2015 and her first car is a Toyota Yaris T3 named Tyrone.