driving home for christmas

Driving home for Christmas may conjure up thoughts of Chris Rea’s smooth and relaxing singing voice, but in reality, with roughly 12 million people travelling across the UK to be with friends and family, your experience of driving home for Christmas is more likely to be a sitting in a sea of red taillights backing up for miles!

But fear not! The team at Caversham are here to help you prepare for all eventualities during your journey home, so that you can get back in time for all the festivities and hopefully avoid any hiccups that could set you back along the way.

Planning the best route

Although you may have no choice but to take these routes anyway, some of the worst areas to drive through in the UK around Christmas time include:

  1. London Commute Zone
  2. Greater Manchester
  3. Merseyside
  4. South Nottinghamshire
  5. Greater Birmingham
  6. Greater Belfast
  7. South Yorkshire
  8. Leeds to Bradford
  9. Avon & North Somerset
  10. Portsmouth to Fareham

It’s also worth noting that the worst days to travel on are Friday 19th, Tuesday 23rd and Saturday 27th December. Again, it may be difficult or impossible to avoid travelling on these days, but if it is, then we recommend you avoid the roads at all costs.

Checking your vehicle

It’s vital you make sure your car is up for the journey before setting off by carrying out some simple car checks:

  • Tyre tread and pressure (important if carrying more people or a lot of luggage – and presents!)
  • Fluids and wipers (check the fluid levels are correct and the blades are not torn on the wipers)
  • Fuel (fill your engine with a sufficient amount of fuel to last the journey there and back, and more, if possible)

It’s always best to plan for the worst case scenario, so as well as carrying out these generic winter car checks, it’s advisable to carry an emergency breakdown kit with you at all time. This can simply be kept in the boot of your car and should include:

  • Warm blankets
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water

Preparing for bad weather

Keep an eye on the weather forecast for the day you are planning to travel on. This way, you can be hopefully be prepared for any weathers you may encounter along the way. Aside from this, here are some general winter driving tips to follow:

  • Wipe any snow off the windows and the roof of the car
  • Never pull away whilst windows are misted up
  • If visibility is reduced to 100 metres or less, turn your fog lights on
  • On busy roads, have dipped headlights on
  • In icy/snowy conditions, increase stopping distance by four times the norm
  • To avoid skidding when pulling away, try and remain in second gear for greater traction


Should you find yourself held up in a traffic jam, with nothing else to do but to wait it out, having some in-car entertainment can help take your mind off the frustrating situation. Audio books and CDs can help keep your mind occupied- Christmas themed, of course! – and can help to pass the time.

Hiring a car

Hiring a car over the Christmas period is an extremely popular option for many, so that getting around to visit all your friends and family can be much easier. Whether you don’t own a car, or perhaps your own car is too small to fit the extra people and luggage in, that’s where Caversham Vehicle Hire can step in to help.

With a wide range of vehicles types available, you can be sure to find the right car to meet your needs and budget. Just remember to make sure you book yours well in advance, so you aren’t left disappointed! Get in touch today for more information.