Festival season: tips to get you home safely

Are you heading to a festival this summer? Every year, thousands of people drive to festival sites across the country – and everyone wants to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible. RAC and WiseDriving have teamed up to bring you tips for all the festival scenarios you need – including how to prepare beforehand and how to get there safely. However, once the festival is finished and the tent is packed up, you’ll need to head home again – and nobody wants to find themselves stuck when all they want is to get home and get a shower. We’ve compiled this helpful guide to make sure you leave the festival safely.

Be ready to drive
Once the music has ended, your first thought is probably getting home, with many festival-goers leaving at the crack of dawn to avoid all the traffic leaving the site.
If you’re intending to make an early start on Monday morning, do not consume any alcohol the night before. There will be a heavy police presence in and around festivals, so you’re risking prosecution as well as putting lives at risk. Also, be aware that, after a few nights in a tent, you might be tired – so stay alert and take regular breaks to ensure you drive safely.

Sort any problems
While you might be focused on getting to the festival, if you sustain any damages or mechanical issues on the way, don’t push them to the back of your mind. The organisers advise festival-goers to “get it sorted ASAP” if your car needs attention, “so it will be ready when you need to leave”. So, ensure you have the correct level of breakdown cover to make sure that, if the worst happens, help is a phone call away – and your car can be fixed in time for you leaving.
It’s also well worth giving your car a quick check before you leave – such as checking your tyres and fuel – so you can get home without an unexpected stop.

How to avoid getting stuck in the mud
This is one of the common festival problems. Unfortunately, it’s usually out of your control and down to the weather, the car park location and where the stewards tell you to park. So all you can do, if you can choose where to park, is make sure you’re not parked at the bottom of a slope, on already boggy ground and not too close to other vehicles.
If your car does get stuck in the mud, follow these steps:
 
  1. Stay calm
If you suddenly find yourself stuck, it can be very tempting to push your foot down hard in an attempt free your car quickly before it sinks any further. Unfortunately, this only make things worse.
Before you do anything, stop the car, ask your passengers to get out and ensure they are a safe distance from the vehicle. With the weight of the car now reduced it should reduce the chance of the vehicle sinking further into the mud.
 
  1. Avoid wheel spin
Your car has a better chance of moving if the tyres have some room to manoeuvre. To achieve this, move your steering wheel back and forth to create the necessary room. Push gently on the accelerator and move as slowly as possible, using the weight of the vehicle to get some traction.
For automatics, put the car into its lowest gear; for manuals, use the highest possible gear (2nd or possibly 3rd) and gently release the clutch.
 
  1. Deflate tyres
Whilst rocking the car back and forth, swiftly change from reverse to drive. Do this no more than eight times as you can risk damaging your car.
If this fails to free the car, increase the surface area of the tyres by releasing a small amount of air from them. Then, dig out an area around the tyres and place something under them to provide further traction, be it branches, boards, old blankets or even car floor mats. Return to the vehicle and once again push gently on the accelerator, moving as slowly as possible until the tyres get some traction and you are able to accelerate out of the hole.
 
  1. Check the car
After your vehicle is free, remember to inflate your tyres to their appropriate pressure. Be sure to drive slowly to shed the excess mud from your tyres, before returning to drive at the normal speed.
It is also recommended you stop at a safe place to inspect your vehicle for damage. Brake lines are particularly vulnerable in these situations and must be fixed immediately if they are damaged.

What to do if you breakdown
If you breakdown, remember to stay calm. Use the breakdown tips we gave in our guide to travelling to the festival, as these apply just as much on the way home too. Refresh yourself on what to do here.

Posted on June 21, 2018

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