Driving means many different things, to many different people! Some motorists can’t get enough of the thrill of jumping behind the wheel, while others find comfort and relaxation in the repetitive nature of long journeys – some unfortunate few even find the whole driving experience just a bit too much, and keep their enthusiasm relegated to the contents of books and walks around the workshop!
Here at EASR we believe that everyone has the right to enjoy the amazing world of automobiles in their own way, just as much as we do – we see it from both sides, and often we see the results of the hidden hazards many motorists fail to even consider!
Our solution? Compile a list of the more elusive hazards that you can look out for – some are more serious than others, like all things. However, we feel that whether it will save you a few quid, or even save something a little more serious, we’re happy to help keep people passionate about our vehicles, so here’s our EASR handy-hidden-hazard-helper (we’re working on a better name!)
We want to start our guide with something a little less serious and scary, and possibly could save you the scuffs and scratches that bring us down when we notice them on our vehicles!
We tend to notice the glaring obstacles that might cause damage to our cars, for example, other vehicles, obstructions in the road (fallen trees, bits of damaged vehicles), but what if we told you there are more than a few elusive car-scuffer and scratchers that we fail to notice every time, and while some are unavoidable, with the right techniques and mindset we’re confident you can significantly mitigate the effects of some of the invisible nasties!
Most of the time, we envision the road as being of the most solid parts of driving – at the end of the day, it is what we are literally driving on – motorways especially lure us into a false sense of security, especially when they have recently been worked on or touched up!
If we take a closer look, however, there are a handful of variables that, while sometimes inescapable, can be worked around to save the stress from chips, scuffs and scratches! Let’s have a closer look:
We should have maybe mentioned this one at a more relevant time of year, however, better late than never, right? The bane of windshields worldwide, we’re sure you’ve seen them roaming the streets early in the morning, or late at night – the dreaded gritter! When the weather gets to a point where moisture on the tarmac could freeze, councils and highways may decide to grit the roads. Foremost, try to avoid driving behind them as much as you can – perhaps note their schedule and plan journeys before they have gritted, or at least an hour after – if this is impossible, and you find yourself behind one of the big yellow beasts, try and keep a wide berth, potentially the length of two or three cars to avoid ricocheting rocks.
Country roads & tracks
Roads that are less well maintained obviously harbor many more hidden hazards, and not simply on the road surface itself – here are a couple of things to note:
Hazards are not limited to the road
Overhanging trees or a dense canopy can cause serious damage to your vehicle – you wouldn’t walk anywhere by staring at the floor, so why would you drive like that. After a strong storm, listen out for cracking branches by lowering your window a tad.
Watch your speed
Unlike motorways, bits of natural debris (pebbles, rocks and even some small bits of wood) can blend into the floor much more easily on country roads. It is also important to understand that the faster your speed, the faster a piece of debris will fly from under your wheel (or the wheel of the car in front of you!) – keep your speed down and save your chassis, and set a precedent to stay safer on winding country roads.
Hidden hazards may not always be natural, and more often than we’d think, our very vehicles (or the vehicles of others) may actually be the reason we have to break into the wallet to fix up dings and dents. Some vehicles have suffered to the point where they begin to shed pieces of themselves and litter the road – unfortunately, after years of use, the bottoms of cars match the colour of the road, making them hard to spot, and sometimes bits of broken auto-mobiles will lay dormant on motorways, ready to cause damage. We would strongly suggest keeping an eye out for cars or motor-cycles that look a little on the ‘shabby’ side – telltale signs are cars that are excessively scratched on the bottom, protruding parts from the base of the vehicle, exhausts that are hanging too low and tires that seem to spin inconsistently.
We hope that at least a few of these might have opened your eyes to a little more than before, and remember to take all of this with a grain of salt! A nervous driver can be a dangerous one, and at the end of the day, we want everyone to enjoy the experience.
Let us know if there are any more hidden hazards to watch out for, and remember, if your car has fallen victim to any of these secret scratchers or deceptive dingers, book a consultation with our dedicated team of car care professionals, from paint repairs to wheel restoration, we always have you covered!
While the holiday season is over, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that we never really got our full opportunity for a getaway! With all the restrictions and mindful shieldings we’ve endured over the Christmas period, many people, maybe even yourself, feel as if they have not had the opportunity of a well-deserved break from the stress of the past couple of years! But at EASR, we quite frankly think that having that opportunity to get away from home, and to relax from our ever more complicated lives, is more important than ever!
But you may be asking yourself about the difficulty of travelling abroad at the moment – or the expense of hired travel, and while they are fair points, what if we told you that there was a way to cheaply take on an adventurous getaway, by yourself or with your family or friends, without having to deal with travel agents, or even if you want, not even one hotel receptionist?
If you’ve been paying attention to our quality car maintenance and repair services, you’ll know that our getaway solution has to do with our cars! That’s right, it’s the road trip – and while it’s a leaf we’ve taken out of the book of our North American driving buddies, there are still plenty of beautiful and exciting road-tripping destinations around Great Britain that can really give you the breather you deserve!
Let’s just cover the basics of road-tripping for those who haven’t been lucky enough to experience it before!
What is Road Tripping?
This one is pretty simple, but for those who haven’t even encountered the term, don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Road tripping quite simply is the activity of visiting location to location using your own vehicle, and treating it like a holiday or adventure! The activity really took off in the United States. As the country is so vast and it could take days to drive across the nation, some bright spark realized you could use that time in between to get some rest, relaxations or activities in!
In the UK, we do not have access to a landmass as large as our American friends, however, this may serve as a blessing to some. The main detractor from American road trips, ironically, is the driving – there’s a lot of driving, and sometimes it’s through places that don’t have an awful lot going on, leading to semi-monotonous sessions of staring out of the window and listening to the radio. The UK on the other hand is positively pea-sized compared to the States, meaning that interesting locations are not only closer together, but we also have more control as to where we want to go! Want to hop from coastal town to coastal town? No problem! Want to take a tour through WWII Britain? Easy peasy! Like any road trip, these excursions can take however long you’d like them to, but most can easily be done at a weekend, or long weekend, with plenty of stops in between!
What Should I Take While Road Tripping?
When planning a road trip, you have to take the fact that this is not your run-of-the-mill holiday into consideration, and your personal wants and needs can be catered for, which is really exciting. If you’ve been following our blog, you may have seen our Christmas Car Safety Guide, which contains a mix of both car checks and must-brings on your trips, especially in the winter! We recommend taking a look through and picking up the essentials, like spare blankets, map and light source, a warning triangle etc.
However, we are going on a trip, remember, so we can afford to take some more luxurious items in the car, especially if your trip is a little bit longer, and boredom is almost sure to strike!
- Make sure you bring some entertainment along for the ride – prepare a playlist or pre-download some audiobooks! Firstly it will stave off boredom, and also by preparing before you leave, you won’t be fiddling with your phone on the journey
- If you’re travelling with little ones, maybe figure out any car games they might like, eye spy, or any verbal game can be a great pastime and keeps them engaged with the wold going buy, rather than a screen in the back
- Travel pillows and eye-masks (obviously not for the driver) can also be great, long drives often have a sleepy effect on passengers, and a quick rest can make the time fly by
- A travel mug or flask is almost a necessity, especially for drivers, keeping just a little tea or coffee could make the world of difference when setting off early in the morning or late at night, but of course, remember never to drive when excessively tired
How To Plan A Road Trip
Now we’ve skimmed over some road-tripping tips and must-brings, let’s get started by looking at the planning of an effective and fun road trip! While it is fun to just jump into the car and see where the roads take you, sometimes things can become very difficult and less enjoyable without just a little bit of a plan!
- Pick a destination – this one is obvious, but can really be helpful. Sometimes the destination might be for a work meeting far from your home, and in that case, leave a day before to plan a route with interesting stops along the way, and turn it into a get-away with a friend or loved one!
- Do your research – nowadays, it’s tremendously easy to find things to do by using search engines and travel websites – however, what these resources are not good for is going off the beaten track. Pick up some old guide books, or talk to people in the area to find those once in a lifetime spots
- Always take the scenic route – what’s the point in taking a driving holiday, when if you look out the window, all you see is the motorway? Of course, we have to take the fastest route from time to time, but sometimes A roads and even smaller country roads, while less efficient, can reveal some of the most beautiful parts of our country, and it is always fun to get a little lost!
- Book campsites in advance – obviously, if you decide not to camp this does not apply to you, however, camping on a road trip can significantly reduce the cost of your trip, and in turn, elongate it! If you are planning on camping, do not expect all campsites to have space, and in recent years many sites have adopted booking policies, so be wary, as sleeping in the car is really not as comfortable as it sounds!