How to prepare for a holiday trip by car?

When going on a long trip by car, proper preparation is necessary to make the trip a success. Safe Driving School, together with its cooperation partners who are experts in their field, provides insight and advice on the essentials to prepare for a holiday trip by car.

What needs attention, what needs to be checked or replaced to make the car road-ready? What things should you bring with you, what should you know when going abroad and how to take care to stay safe if you encounter any mishaps on the road? We will talk about all this in more detail in this article.

Traveling with your own car offers unlimited advantages, such as easier choice of places to rest and access, to the amount of luggage taken can be much larger than traveling by plane or bus, etc. However, traveling with your own car also creates a great responsibility, so that unexpected mishaps do not happen on the road.

About the technical condition of the car.

"It is important to take care of your car even before the upcoming trip. The first thing to check is the condition of the tires. Make sure that there is sufficient tread depth - in the summer season, the minimum legal tread depth is at least 1.6 mm and that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. It is important to make sure in what condition the spare wheel is, it must be in working order so that it can be used if necessary", emphasizes the cooperation partner of the Safe Driving School, the representative of Kumho Tire in Latvia "".

"Secondly, it is essential to check technical fluids - cooling, window washing fluids, motor oils, brake fluid. Refill or replace if necessary. Pay attention to see if there is an oil leak somewhere. Thirdly, make sure that the braking system is in working order. The thickness of the brake linings, the tightness of the system, the operation of the pedal should be assessed and, if necessary, repairs should be carried out. Fourth, you should think about good visibility. New windshield wiper blades must be installed, as clean windows are one of the most important aspects of safe driving. Also, the car's headlights and bulbs should be checked and adjusted so that there is high-quality road lighting in the dark. You should also take care of your comfort in hot weather, check and refill the air conditioning system if necessary."

For safe driving.

Jānis Vanks, director of the Safe Driving School, talks about safety and traffic rules: "Longer journeys require more preparation, especially if the destination is planned outside the borders of Latvia. Although road traffic regulations in most countries are the same as in Latvia, there are countries where road signs and driving culture may differ. Therefore, before going to other countries, you should familiarize yourself with the local road traffic regulations. Always be alert and follow road signs and speed limits to protect yourself from unpleasant penalties. It is definitely recommended to use navigation on holiday trips to make it easier to get to your destination. That way, the car driver can focus more on the road instead of studying road signs.”

About parking places and their rules.

An important aspect when traveling with your car is parking spaces and their rules. If this matter is known and clear in Latvia, because the information is available in the national language, then the situation with parking spaces in foreign countries may be more unclear. EuroPark, the cooperation partner of the Safe Driving School, gives advice on what to pay attention to when parking a car both in Latvia and in other countries: "One of the main points is attention!"

"When entering the parking lot, you need:

  • Familiarize yourself with the rules for using the parking lot.
    Find out when you have to pay - immediately (advance payment) or before departure. In some cases, it is possible to pay for the parking service even after leaving the parking lot, subject to the rules and certain deadlines.

  • Find out the working hours of the parking lot - whether the parking lot is open 24 hours a day or not.
  • Check which parking space is suitable for you, because it often happens that the parking lot has specially designed spaces, for example - for visitors, subscriptions, employees, etc.
  • Find out whether any special parking offers/specific products are applicable to you - for example, a special tariff for hotel guests, visitors to individual facilities, etc.

"Still, in our opinion, one of the most important points is planning. Just as you plan your route, accommodation, etc., also plan where you will park your car. For safety reasons, it is better to leave your car in closed parking lots (multi-storey or underground) where there is video surveillance. To find a parking space, use an internet search engine such as Google Maps.”
"When going to the Baltic States or Poland, we recommend using the EuroPark app. By clicking on the map in the app, you can see in advance in which cities you can pay with the app, while when you turn on location detection, you will see the nearest parking lots and the distance to them in the list of parking lots."

"Parking lots often offer better prices when you pay for several days at once (by purchasing a short-term subscription) - find out where and how you can buy a better offer. Taking into account the development of technology, more and more parking lots offer only one payment method - the mobile app."

The insurance is the guarantor of security

Unpleasant situations during travel can surprise you unexpectedly, so you should think about proper insurance to make such situations a little easier, especially when you are abroad. The cooperation partner of the Safe Driving School, the insurance company "ERGO", states: "KASKO insurance is recommended, as it includes technical assistance for all vehicles with a total weight of up to 3500 kg. If there is no KASKO insurance, then you need at least OCTA with the additional risk "Technical assistance", which costs only 15 EUR per year. Both KASKO and OCTA + technical assistance work throughout Europe.”

What should not be forgotten?

If the trip is planned outside the borders of Latvia, then you must have documents with you - driver's license, transport registration certificate, insurance policy, identity documents of passengers.
The car must also have a fire extinguisher with a valid expiration date, a first aid kit, an emergency triangle, reflective vests and a set of spare light bulbs.

Have a safe trip and sunny holidays!