TÜV NORD hints for taking your car on holiday
Stress-free summer holidays
Most people in Germany like to take their cars on holiday. The advantages are clear: at the holiday destination, you have your own vehicle and are mobile and independent. You can take as much luggage as you like and if several people are travelling together, taking the car is often the most cost-effective alternative.
To make sure that your holiday journey remains a pleasant and stress-free experience, we have put together the most important tips for long journeys.
Avoid the queues
If you are flexible as regards dates, try not to travel on a Saturday, as traffic jams and delays are much more frequent because of hotel changeovers. Look for alternatives and choose to travel on a weekday, avoiding towns and cities during rush hours. Find out in advance about hotspots where traffic jams often occur and try to take alternative routes.
Sat-navs have obvious advantages in this situation: if a traffic jam is up ahead, the device quickly finds an alternative route and there is no need to struggle with mapreading. If, despite your best efforts, you do come up against a jam, keep calm and put the hazard warning lights on in good time to warn others approaching from behind.
Find out about our POI service for sat-navs.
A good night's sleep and an early start
Sufficient sleep is one of the most important factors if you want to start off on your holiday feeling fresh and rested. This is why Rainer Sander, an inspector at the TÜV-STATION in Celle, does not think it is a good idea to travel during the night.
"If you are not used to being awake through the night, driving at night is bound to be a problem. Between one and three in the morning, at the time of deepest sleep, there is a considerable risk of falling asleep momentarily without warning. It's much better to set off early in the morning."
Stress-free travel with children
Stress-free travel with children starts when you are planning your journey. What length of journey is reasonable for myself and my children, and which destinations are accessible within this time? If the journey is to last longer than eight hours, it is better to plan-in an overnight stop.
Children quickly become bored in the car, which leads to arguments and bickering. Make sure there is something for them to do, and take enough games, books and entertainment. When listening to plays or music, it is best for the children to use headphones, so as not to distract the driver.
Also make sure that the children are well protected against the sun and that you take enough drinks and snacks. Take a break every two hours and let the children get out of the car for some exercise. The next part of the journey will be a great deal calmer if you do this!
Think about your luggage
Less is sometimes more! Before your holiday think carefully about what you really need - perhaps you can leave bulky sports equipment or the pushchair at home. If you do load up your car heavily, make sure you don't exceed the maximum permissible laden weight.
It is important to arrange the luggage carefully - heavy objects should be at the bottom and as close up to the rear seats as possible. Use straps or luggage retaining nets to secure the load in an estate car. Besides correct securing of the load, good all-round vision is naturally the most important requirement for an accident-free journey.
Dieter Vottler – expert at the TÜV-STATION in Celle – recommends setting up all the luggage in a row in front of the car before loading it. This helps you to maintain an overview and to pack in the right order.
"Items that you will need quickly in case of a breakdown or accident should always be easily accessible. These include the first-aid box, warning triangle and hi-viz jacket or waistcoat and also your mobile phone, vehicle documents and personal identification papers."
Read more about luggage and safety here.
Speed limits and traffic regulations abroad
If you want to take your car abroad, you should check on speed limits and special traffic regulations in neighbouring countries before you travel. These can be very different from at home and infringement can lead to very large fines. Make sure you know the rules and you will keep your holiday spending money intact.
An overview of the permissible maximum speeds in Europe and other important rules and regulations, such as for example use of headlights and sidelights, the need to wear a hi-viz jacket or waistcoat and motorway tolls can be found at your local TÜV STATION.