Festival season is almost upon us, which means people up and down the country will be filling their cars up with camping gear and booze to head off to a muddy field for a weekend of music.
With that in mind, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart has put together a hand list of tips for those hitting the road to go to festivals this summer.
"Whilst the focus of the weekend may be the festival and the opportunity to let hair down with friends, a carefully planned journey there, proper preparation and caution for the journey back will only add to the enjoyment of the weekend," said Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart head of driving and riding advice.
Choose a designated driver
If this is you, make sure you set the rules from the beginning. Are you going to allow your friends to drink alcohol in your vehicle? Bear in mind that their behaviour could attract the authorities to you. Would a car smelling of alcohol be the best thing for you? Could you get peer pressured to having “just one drink” with friends? We recommend for the driver and passenger to not drink any alcohol in the vehicle – not even one. Why not wait until you’re at the festival so you can party together?
Planning your trip
Do you know where you’re going? Have you taken into account the likelihood of traffic? Looking at the route of your journey and the time it takes beforehand gives you a chance to determine how many breaks you need and where you can stop off. Stretching your legs and getting a bit of fresh air at least every two hours can help you stay awake and focussed on the road.
Have you pre-booked parking?
The last thing you want to do is to get to your destination and stress over finding a parking space. Pre-planning your parking spot will save you this hassle. If you’re parking in a field, make sure you check the weather – the last thing you want is to go back to a water-logged field with your wheels stuck in the mud!
Leave your car alone
You’ve been at the festival for a few hours and the party has started. It’s getting a bit chilly but you’ve left your jacket in your car. Do you go and get it? No, not if you’ve been drinking alcohol. Even if you’re not in the driver’s seat but still accessing your vehicle, you could be charged for accessing your vehicle when over the prescribed limit. Instead of having to try and explain to a traffic officer that you weren’t planning to drive, it’s best to avoid going back to your car at all until the alcohol has left your system.
Packing up the morning after
Are you fit to drive? Have you had enough sleep? Do you have enough energy and has the alcohol from the night before left your system? Find out more about checking if you’re okay to drive here.
Don’t forget to throw away your rubbish and take your tent home with you. And make sure you set some ground rules, like the fact that you’re in charge of the playlist!