It’s exciting, but so many things could go wrong! Here’s how to have a smooth, amazing family road trip out of sunny Singapore.
Preparing for the trip:
1. Check your car
Schedule a thorough inspection at least two weeks before your trip, says Ivan Kwa, manager of the service and technical department for Kah Motor/ Honda singapore.
If you want to be extra cautious, send your car for an inspection about a month before to allow adequate time for minor repairs and for the workshop to secure any necessary parts. It also gives you a buffer period in case the workshop is fully booked for repair work, explains Jeffrey Cheong, marketing communications manager for Trans Eurokars (Mazda).
2. Prepare the Paperwork
Also check passports for the family, visa and work permits if your domestic helper is going along, a spare car key, and an extra copy of the vehicle log card and insurance, which will be required in the case of a total breakdown. Passports should have a minimum of six months’ validity.
Some countries require an International Driving Permit, which is issued by the Automobile Assocation of Singapore (AA Singapore).
Also, check the scope of your insurance, a spokesman for the association advises, as there may be geographical limits on your policy.
3. Plan your route
If you have a GPS, download the map of a country you are visiting beforehand, a spokesman for Citroen points out. If the car you will be driving does not come equipped with one, Google Maps is a serviceable alternative.
To avoid costly roaming charges on your telecoms bill, Jeffrey from Trans Eurokars suggests bringing a spare phone and buying a local data card. Of course, he adds, it’s also worth investing in a good old-fashioned map.
Have an alternative route mapped out in case of unexpected road closures due to construction, traffic, or accidents.
4. Book the right transport
While you might want to rent a larger car, AA Singapore advises that it’s safer to choose a model that you are accustomed to handling. Though a larger cabin might be more comfortable, it may be tricky manouevring one that you’re not used to controlling, its spokesman says.
5. Pack some first aid
Take along some plasters, antiseptic creams, small bandages, as well as your family’s regular medication, Jeffrey suggests.
On the road:
1. Buckle up
According to the Singapore Police Force, kids below the height of 1.35m are required to be secured with child restraints such as booster seats, car seats, or an adjustable seat belt.
These rules vary from country to country, so be sure to check.
2. Keep the kids entertained and comfortable
Road trips provide great bonding opportunities, so sing songs, tell stories, and play games together.
Children are more likely to cooperate and fidget less if they’re comfortable. Small comforts such as neck pillows, sunshades, and a regulated car temperature can go a long way towards keeping the complaints at a minimum, which helps you keep your concentration on the road, too.
Jeffrey also recommends at least one pit stop every one to two hours so that the kids and you can stretch out those cramped muscles.
3. Get enough rest
Especially if you have left-hand driving or a drastic time difference to adapt to!
4. Don’t ride the brakes
If you’re driving through hilly terrain on a downward slope, keeping your foot on the brake can cause brake fade, which happens when brake pads overheat and fail to work properly.
5. Take turns
It’s easy to fall asleep at the wheel when the roads are lengthy and open. Have a second driver and take turns behind the wheel every two to three hours.
Keep your seat back upright with elbows crooked at a near 90-degree bend, and knees bent. Not only will sitting upright give you a better view of the road, bent knees and crooked elbows also mean you have enough reach in your legs to depress the breaks and steer the wheel faster than if they were outstretched.
By Young Parents, 7 April 2016