Driving tips for freshers

Friday, 12 September 2008 12:00 AM

Students need to make sure they don't overload their cars when travelling to university for the first time

Students need to make sure they don't overload their cars when travelling to university for the first time

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has produced a list of tips for new students travelling to university this year.

IAM is concerned about the growing numbers of students taking risks by cramming their cars full of their possessions, unaware of the potential risks.

Here is what IAM recommends:

  • Make sure belongings are securely packed - bear in mind, drivers can face prosecution for travelling with an 'unsecure load'. More importantly, loose objects can be distracting and if the driver needs to brake sharply, unsecured items could fly forward and hit those sitting in front.
  • Loading a car until it's ready to burst can obstruct the already dangerous 'blind spot' view further, making the driver more vulnerable when changing lanes. Loads should be made as small as possible and positioned for a clear view. Students should take essentials on the first trip and ask family to bring more when they visit.
  • A long drive can lead to fatigue, so drivers should get plenty of rest beforehand. For the journey, comfortable, loose clothing should be worn, the driving seat should be adjusted to a safe upright position and the heating/air-conditioning set to a cool - not cold - temperature, regular breaks should be taken at least every two hours and driving at night should be avoided.
  • Having a full car will use more fuel; keep an eye on the fuel level to ensure it doesn't run out.
  • Check tyre pressures before setting off. Tyres on a full and heavy car usually require higher pressure. The right pressures prevent unnecessary wear, excess fuel consumption and potentially dangerous blow outs.
  • Finally, driving on unfamiliar roads can be unnerving. Sat navs can help and enable the driver to re-route quickly and relatively easily, however, they can be expensive so it is best to plan the journey before hitting the road.
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