The festive season may have arrived, but that doesn’t mean the roads are any quieter. In fact, the dark, rainy nights of winter mean there’s more congestion than ever — making the run up to Christmas a bit of a bind for commuters.
To help you get through December with your Christmas spirit still intact, here are some top tips on surviving your Xmas commute.
1. Carry a Flask of Tea or Coffee
On those cold pre-Christmas mornings, carrying a flask of tea or coffee in your car can mean the difference between “Merry Christmas” and “Bah Humbug”. A hot drink will warm you up even if it’s freezing outside, and help to give you that warm, festive feeling that only Christmas can bring.
2. Set the Mood with a Commuting Playlist
When you’re driving to work at an ungodly hour in the morning, the music you choose could either kick start your day or leave you feeling tired and lethargic. According to researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, listening to music with a natural element can boost your mood and help you feel more productive. Failing that, something upbeat and lively will certainly help wake you up.
3. Pack Blankets, Boots and Warm Clothing
It may be nearly Christmas, but that doesn’t mean your car is immune to breaking down. If it does, or if you get stuck in a massive tailback, you’ll be pleased you packed blankets, boots and warm clothing when you’re sat in a cold car or stood on the grass verge waiting for help to arrive. The RAC has an excellent guide on what to carry to carry in your car during the winter.
4. Use a Sat Nav or Smartphone to Avoid Congestion
Even if you know where you’re going, a sat nav or mobile navigation app can help you avoid tailbacks and congestion. When connected to the Internet, these devices will automatically adjust to current traffic conditions and send you on the fastest route possible — so you may never sit in a long queue again.
While there are loads of navigation apps available for smartphones and tablets, our favourite has to be Google Maps. As you’re driving along, this app will show alternate routes that are faster based on current traffic conditions, and will automatically change the route if the congestion starts to impact on your arrival time.
5. Keep Your Car in Good Condition
With Christmas right around the corner, it can be hard to find time for odd jobs like looking after your car. But if your car is in a poor condition heading into winter, it’s much more likely to breakdown — spelling disaster for your festive commuting. To safeguard against faults and breakdowns, take a look at our monthly car care guide.
6. Don’t be Tempted to Drink and Drive
We all know the warnings about drinking and driving over Christmas, but how much thought do you give to the morning after? Even if you’ve been to a Christmas do the night before, the alcohol may still be in your system. Drink plenty of water before bed, and make sure you eat as well. You can buy home breathalyser kits which give you an idea of your blood alcohol level and can help you decide whether it’s ok to drive. If you have had a heavy night at the Christmas do, we’d advise taking the bus to work the next day.
7. Avoid Speeding this Time of Year
Although speeding is illegal, many motorists are guilty of it. During the run up to Christmas, there are more police on the road to crackdown on drink-drivers who’ve got too into the spirit of the season. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid any form of speeding when you’re commuting to and from work — particularly if you want to avoid any nasty fines right before Christmas.
8. Car Share with Colleagues to Spread the Cost
Is Christmas putting additional strain on your finances? Then why not free up some extra cash by sharing a ride to work with your colleagues, or even someone you know who’s going the same way. Car sharing is a great way to spread the cost of commuting, and it’s better for the environment to boot.
If none of your colleagues live near you, or you just don’t fancy sharing a car with them, use Liftshare to find others interested in car sharing. This site can connect you with other drivers in your area who travel a similar route to and from work, so you can organise a car sharing system that works around your schedule.
9. Save Money with Redex
Filling up your car is probably the last thing you want to spend money on at Christmastime. Add a shot of Redex fuel additive to your fuel tank however, and you stand to make significant savings on the cost of topping up the tank. Our fuel additives are designed to help your engine run more efficiently, ultimately saving you cash at the pumps.
For more information about our range of fuel additives, visit the Redex website.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Craig Sunter.