By Emma Elsworthy

Leaving in plenty of time, filling the car with toys and games to amuse the kids and taking a 15- minute break every two hours are among parent’s tips for a stress-free drive this Christmas.

Having a fully-charged mobile phone also made the list, along with filling up the car the night before setting off.

Checking traffic conditions before setting off also emerged as a must.

A well-stocked picnic bag for the journey will also ensure the trip passes by pleasantly, along with a festive playlist for the family to sing along to.

The tips emerged following a study carried out among 2,000 mums and dads.

David Carter from Accident Advice Helpline, which commissioned the research, said: “We’re happy to see that leaving extra time for your journey was voted the number one tip for a stress-free car journey, it’s great advice.

”Some basic preparation for the journey ahead is the best a way for parents to minimize stress on the roads during the festive season.

“Alongside the 20 tips for a stress-free drive it’s vital to ensure your car is fit for the road.

”So make sure your tyres are in good condition and are properly inflated, and your oil, coolant and screen wash are at the right levels.”

The study also found around 18 per cent of drivers agree taking emergency equipment such as flashlights or spare tyres is the way forward.

It also emerged others who are well prepared will have their car serviced in the weeks leading up to Christmas, as well as checking fluid levels and having their tyres balanced.

Despite packing the car the night before and carrying lose change for tolls appearing in the top 20, it’s not just about planning when it comes to lightening the load of Christmas journey stress.

One sixth of motorists said a forgiving attitude towards others’ driving faults will keep things calm in the car.

And getting into a positive mind-set for the trip also appeared in the list of things which will free travellers from worry.

Supplies of blankets and pillows will help keep the family quiet for minimal driving disruptions.

And if the kids aren’t ready to nap, stocking the car with toys and games will assist in leaving worry at home.

A DVD player accompanied and a good collection of films also made the list of quality advice for a stress-free journey.

Motorists agreed charging and programming your Sat Nav before the drive is important.

But this heavy reliance on GPS could be the cause of other problems as just one in 10 will plan their own alternative route in case the main route becomes impassable.

Nearly half admitted it is their fault when something goes wrong during the Christmas car journey so it’s no wonder over one quarter dislike festive road trips.

Just under two thirds will make an effort to be super organised to help make their life more tolerable when traveling during the festive season.

David Carter added: “Being stressed during a drive can impact your attentiveness and driving style which ultimately might result in a road accident. We deal with the aftermath of accidents and know how life-changing it can be for victims and their loved ones.

“During the winter months it’s even more important to stay alert and focused on the road, as adverse weather conditions inevitably make driving more challenging”.

For more stats and infographics please visit

Parent’s top 20 tips for stress-free Christmas travel:

1. Always leave extra time for your journey.
2. Check traffic conditions before you set off.
3. Make sandwiches, snacks and drinks for the journey.
4. Make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone.
5. Fill the car up the day/night before.
6. Clear your windows and mirrors completely of snow and ice before you set off.
7. Give the family a chance to relax with a 15 minute break every two hours for longer trips.
8. Compile the ultimate Christmas playlist beforehand to keep attention on the road.
9. Take games and toys to entertain the kids.
10. Take emergency equipment (like extra water, flashlights, road flares, a car jack and spare tire) for peace of mind.
11. Take blankets and pillows with you to allow passengers to sleep on the journey.
12. Maintain the season of goodwill with forgiveness for driving errors.
13. Pack the car the night before.
14. Carry loose change for tolls or parking.
15. Play a Christmas-themed game with the family.
16. Have your car serviced in the weeks leading up to your drive, with fluid levels checked and tires balanced.
17. Take a portable DVD player – with countless DVDs.
18. Join a roadside rescue service.
19. Get into the right mind-set before you leave. Be positive that the journey will be stress free.
20. Charge your sat nav and program it before the drive.


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