Setting off safely through the festival season


The mud at Glastonbury may have finally dried but there’s still another 100 festivals taking place across the UK this summer including V Festival and Global Gathering. For many this means preparing for a weekend of fun and getting ready to take to the road for an exciting getaway. But before you load your car up with tents, food and festival survival kits, take some time to prepare yourself and your vehicle for the trip ahead.

Michelin has put together some handy tips and basic safety checks to help you to avoid stressful driving situations, unnecessary damage, excess spending and more importantly to keep you and your friends safe on the road throughout the festival season.

  1. Tyre pressure and tread

Before heading off you should take a few moments to check the tread and pressure of your tyres. Incorrect tyre pressure can affect safety, handling and grip as well as a car’s efficiency leading to a potential increase in fuel consumption.

When checking tyre pressure you will need to ensure the tyres are cold; you can use a tyre pressure gauge and fill up with air at your local garage. The correct pressures – or where to find them – should be in your car’s handbook.

It is also important to check your tyres have the legal minimum tread depth; 1.6mm is the absolute legal limit across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference. For help when you are stationary Michelin has launched an App called Michelin MyCar, which offers tyre and vehicle servicing information.

Be aware that when a car is heavily laden with tents, camping equipment and luggage, you may need to increase tyre pressures to handle the additional load. Additional weight in your car can also increase your stopping distance when you brake. You should always refer to your car’s handbook to check the appropriate laden tyre pressures for your vehicle and adjust them as necessary – remembering to return them to normal when the extra weight is removed.

  1. Under the bonnet

To avoid spending time on the hard shoulder and to ensure good visibility, check your car has enough of all the essential fluids.

Make sure your engine oil, windscreen washer fluid and engine coolant are topped up to the appropriate level. Refer to your car’s manual if you aren’t sure how to do this.

  1. Inside the vehicle

Before embarking on a long journey, essential checks need to be made to keep you and your friends safe. For example if the boot of a hatchback is full you should ensure you can still see out of the rear window.

And while we may not like to think about breaking down, a crucial item to pack is an emergency breakdown kit which includes: breakdown triangle, a blanket, torch, map and a high visibility vest.

  1. Plan your route

Plan your journey in advance. If you don’t have a built in sat nav, Michelin navigate can be used to alert you of upcoming traffic jams by offering real-time traffic information. The app itself offers an easy-to-use GPS navigation and guidance system, with simple presentation of directions, hazards and potential hold ups. It constantly displays the speed limit, helpfully alerting you when the speed limit is being exceeded. Ensuring you leave at the right time is also essential as rush hour can increase stress and add unnecessary time to your journey.

  1. Leaving the festival

It’s likely that there will be long queues to get out the car park, especially if it’s muddy, but it’s important to remain patient and make sure you do everything you can to leave the area safely.

Firstly, make sure you’re wearing the right footwear. Trying to drive in muddy wellington boots can be dangerous as your feet could slip off the pedals, so make sure you keep a spare pair of dry shoes to drive home in.

If you’re in a very muddy car park, try pulling off in second gear - rather than first - and accelerate very gently and lightly. This will give you greater traction and help to prevent wheel spin. And try to stay out of ‘tram lines’ created by other vehicles as these are likely to be filled with mud making your journey much more difficult and dangerous.