Are we there yet? – Tips for those summer holiday journeys

Are we there yet? – Tips for those summer holiday journeys

  1. Plan Your Journey

    Avoid stress whilst you’re on the road and plan ahead. It is well worth planning a route to take across the country, planning roughly how much you can spend each day and planning activities that you can stop and do along the way.

  2. Check Your Car’s Fluids

    To keep your car in tip top condition and avoid the risks of breakdowns, you should make sure the following fluids are kept topped up: including engine oil, windscreen washer fluid, engine coolant and of course, fuel.

  3. Check Your Tyres

    Take a few moments to check the tread and pressure of your car tyres. This may save you from breaking down or worse, a crash. Check that you have a road worthy spare wheel in your car in case of an emergency and maybe a can of tyre foam?

  4. Prepare Car Games

    Preparing a range of car games that the children can play may delay or at best, prevent the dreaded question asked by every child on a car journey, ‘Are we there yet?’. Grrrrrrrr!

  5.  An Emergency Kit

    Mo matter how old or new your car is, it could break down. An emergency kit should consist of a breakdown triangle, a blanket, a torch, high visibility jackets (legal requirement in France), a mobile phone, a map, and most importantly breakdown cover details. If you break down put on the hazard warning lights, get out of the car on the passenger side and move away from the vehicle.

  6. Pack The Car Well

    If you pack the car in a rush you have a tendency to miss things, and to forget where everything is in the car. Take your time, put things in the glove box that you will need on the journey. Make sure you can easily reach things like CD’s, tissues, snacks, map etc. Everything else should be packed in the order you will need them.

  7. Stop For A Picnic

    Who says that your holiday has to start when you reach your destination? Why not start it on your journey and stop for a picnic along the way? Take a few snacks, sandwiches, crisps, drinks and fruit and find a nice spot to stop and have a picnic.

  8. Plan A Scenic Route?

    Rather than just traveling along the boring motorways, why not plan a scenic route for your journey? Advantages of taking a scenic route to your destination include, avoiding long holiday tailbacks, stopping to stretch your legs more often, and discovering quaint little villages and beautiful scenery along the way

  9. Take Anti Sickness Remedies

    There is nothing worse than having poorly children in the back of the car. As well as over the counter anti sickness tablets you can use acupressure bracelets which have a small plastic button on the inside which put gentle pressure on acupuncture points. One final remedy would be to try ginger snap biscuits, as ginger can be a natural remedy to nausea.

  10. Have you got your Free Motor Legal membership & accident survival checklist?

    If the worst happens and you have a bump that was not your fault, calling our 24/7 claims line on 0800 144 44 88 could have you back on the road without needing to claim from your own insurance policy and avoid paying your excess.

5 things you now get for free that you always used to pay for

5 things you now get for free that you always used to pay for

Although it seems like prices on goods and services only ever go up (have you checked what is happening with car insurance? – (the greedy sods) if you look around, there are some things you can now get for free, largely due to what we call “disruptors” in the market place.

These are the firms who see another way of doing things and the consumer goes on to benefit by the price either dropping or the product/ service becoming completely free as they “disrupt” the marketplace.  This is exactly what have done to the motor legal protection / legal expenses insurance marketplace, providing  motorists with a free alternative to paying for motor legal protection.

1- Motor Legal Protection – yes our favourite. For decades motorists have paid an extra £30 to their insurers or brokers for a 12 month motor legal protection/ legal expenses insurance policy. Since 2012 Free Motor Legal has been offering all motorists in England, Scotland & Wales a free alternative. Not only that but the free membership lasts for life, so no 12 month offer for new customers only. A full lifetime free membership, saving motorists millions every year. Join free today at

2 – Your Credit Score – Until recently you always had to pay to get your credit score or pay a subscription. Now firms like offer this for free and the big credit reference agencies like Experian have followed.




3- Music on the internet – . In the early days of the internet, you could listen to music for free (albeit illegally) on Napster. Then, you had to pay for music through iTunes,  or similar services. Now we’re back to free music through apps such as Spotify and Pandora.





4 – Sat Nav / GPS – Previously you had to go out and buy a separate sat nav unit to stick on the wondscreen of your car, usually spending upwards of £100 and then needing to update the maps etc.  If you have a smartphone (who doesn’t?), there’s really no reason to do so. There are plenty of free GPS apps that work perfectly fine. Google Maps for example.


5- Long Distance phone calls –  If you don’t have a phone plan that already gives you free long-distance calls, check out services such as Skype and Google Voice, which allow you to make calls for free.



Can you name some more?

Do you know your speed cameras?

Do you know your speed cameras?

Can you tell the difference and know how they work?

OK I have to profess a bit of personal interest in raising this post and bringing this subject to the attention of our members as I recently got nabbed for speeding by a mobile camera van. A fair cop, I was exceeding the speed limit and got caught. Although I would argue the van had been placed in an advantageous spot where it was not in view until it was too late and I was already in the sights of the salivating camera operator.

So what are the most common forms of speed camera in use on the UK roads?

  • Gatso – These are the “old guard” and have been around since the 90’s. They mainly face the direction you are travelling in and therefore take a picture of the rear of your vehicle if your speed triggers the device. They operate by using radar and therefore can be located by radar detecting equipment. The original ones used actual film, so had to be attended to by police officers and have the film removed and processed. Newer models (2nd pic) are digital so are able to promptly send the evidence to the police for processing.


  • Mobile Speed Cameras – these are becoming an increasing sight on our roads as they are not fixed to one location and allows the operators to position themselves at various locations in the area they police, rather than just being a fixed camera always at the same location where people get to know and so slow down accordingly before accelerating again. Most police forces do publish the locations where the mobile “safety camera” locations are. The position the camera van (as seen above) parks is usually tactical and often although it is visible from a distance, the operator is usually aiming at traffic just as you come into view, thus maximising the number of people who are caught exceeding the speed limit before they have time to adjust their speed.

  • HADECS 3 Cameras – These are seen as a bit more stealthy and are cropping up more and more as the favour for “smart motorways” increases with lots of overhead gantries and variable speed limits. With these cameras, they are often mounted at the side of gantries and are difficult to spot. They also adjust to any variation of speed limit, so if a temporary limit of say 50mph needs to be enforced, the camera settings change to reflect the temporary speed restriction in place. These too have no films present and any evidence gathered is sent electronically to a processing office.

  • SPECS Cameras – These cameras are a familiar site on motorways and A roads and are often placed at locations where there are reduced speed limits, such as where road works are taking place. The difference with SPECS cameras to other conventional traffic enforcement cameras is that they measure your average speed. So rather than slowing down for the camera and then accelerating away again, you have to make certain you do not arrive at the next set of cameras too soon, otherwise the machine does the maths and works out your average speed was too high and a ticket is likely to show up in the post.


  • Truvelo – are the second most popular fixed speed camera used on Britain’s road. The big difference between the Gatso and Truvelo safety camera, is the fact that Truvelo is a forward facing camera. Being forward facing means when triggered it takes a photo of the front of the vehicle including the driver, so unlike with the Gatso there is NO dispute who was driving. The more modern version Truvelo D Cam is shown in the 2nd pic above and these can either be mounted to take forwards or rearwards views, do not have any film and can also be used as red light cameras as well as monitoring up to 3 lanes of traffic at once.

Whatever the method of detection used, speed cameras or “safety cameras” remain a common site on our roads and their deployment can often seem to be a cash generator to fleece the motorist for a few quid. However,. the bottom line is that you need to keep to the speed limits, be vigilant, allow plenty of time for your journey so you are not in a rush and be aware of the speed limit of the road you are driving on.


Lee Jones

Free Motor Legal