Every year, millions of drivers take to the roads to drive home for Christmas.

Dubbed by experts as Frantic Friday, you will definitely want to plan ahead if you're driving on this date.

This year Frantic Friday falls on the 22nd of December.

Read on and find out how you can stay safe and ensure that you make it home to your friends and family on time this holiday season.


What Is Frantic Friday?

The term ‘Frantic Friday’ has been thrown around for several years and refers to the last Friday before Christmas – the day that, traditionally, the workplace takes a break for the Christmas period.

Millions of people take to the roads to visit their friends and families at this time. 

Busy London traffic at Christmas time.

Ensure that you are prepared for the busy traiffc that the festive season can bring. 

For those travelling long distances to greet their loved ones, the Frantic Friday rush may seem daunting – and those who have a shorter journey may be concerned about getting caught in the madness.

That's why we've put together a list of things to consider before you begin your Frantic Friday journey.


Before You Drive Home For Christmas


Check Your Vehicle

As with any long-distance journey, you should carry out some necessary checks on your vehicle before you take to the road.

Check the levels of your engine oil, engine coolant and washer fluids. You should replenish them before you set off if they are looking low. 

Ensure that your tyres are inflated and the tread depth is correct.

Don’t forget to check your spare tyre, as well. This is especially important in cold weather, as your tread depth will allow for better grip in icy or overly wet conditions.

Check your lights – including your indicators, headlights, brake lights, and fog lights.

Change any bulbs that may need replacing so you are ready to face those dark winter drives.


Plan Your Trip

Even if you’ve done this journey countless times before, it is definitely worth planning your Christmas trip in advance. 

Make sure you are aware of any roadworks or diversions before you set off so that you can plan accordingly.

It is worth noting where the petrol stations and services are along your route, should you need to refuel or take a break.

It can be a good idea to print these out in case your phone runs out of battery or you lose signal.

You should also check the weather forecast, so that you can prepare to drive in snow or ice if needs be.

A man driving through snow.

Check the weather forecast for snow and ice before setting off.


Ensure You Have Breakdown Cover

Before you set off, check what your breakdown insurance covers, should you need it.

If you do end up needing roadside assistance, you’ll want to ensure that there will be no nasty surprises in terms of unexpected costs.

You should be able to find this information in your breakdown cover documents or on your online account.

If you are still uncertain, phone your breakdown cover provider and speak to a member of the team, who will be able to inform you of your cover level.


Pack The Essentials

Every car should have an emergency kit, but this is even more important for long journeys in winter. 

You should always keep water in your car - both for the vehicle and for drinking.

A first aid kit is a must-have, as are jump leads and tyre puncture repair kits.

It is worth keeping a few high-vis vests or jackets in the car just in case you do break down and need to get out of the vehicle.

A torch will save you from draining the battery if you need to use the interior light, and a spare phone charger may be a much needed lifeline.


Be Aware Of Security

If you do plan on stopping at a service station for a quick pitstop, be wary of what you leave in your vehicle.

Chances are your car will be full of Christmas presents for your loved ones – make sure they are out of sight or take it in turns with your passengers to use the services, so the car isn’t left unattended.

Unfortunately, Christmas doesn’t put a stop to crime, and it is better to be safe than sorry.

Never leave any mobile phones, sat navs, wallets or anything else of value in view of prying eyes.

Christmas presents under the Christmas tree.

Make sure that your Christmas presents get to your destination in one piece by packing the car effectively and keeping them out of view of passersby.


Know Your Limits

This goes without saying at all times of the year – never drive after drinking an alcoholic beverage.

During the festive season, we all have the tendency to overindulge, and alcohol can take up to 24 hours to leave your body - so you should think twice about jumping in the car the morning after a heavy night of drinking.

It is always better to be safe than sorry - don't take the risk.


Be Prepared

You can never be sure what Frantic Friday might have in store, so it is best to be prepared.

Pack a few blankets in the event you find yourself in standstill traffic, or stuck at the side of the road, to preserve your body heat and your car’s battery life.

If you’re travelling with children, be sure to bring something along to entertain them, such as a pre-downloaded Christmas film or their favourite toy.

Make sure all your devices are fully charged, and a portable charger is always on hand when you need it most.


From all of us at BookMyGarage, we wish you well over the festive period and into the new year!