Christmas holidays are a time of joy and happiness, of families coming together to share some quality time and relax. Or at least that's how it's meant to be. But when you're stuck in traffic stretching out to eternity and the guy in the car in front of you is swearing and waving his fist at the driver in the car in the other lane it's all too easy to forget all that.
The traffic during the festive season can really put a dampener on the fun and frivolity and the car is one place you just don't want to be on your Christmas holidays. So how do you minimise the time spent behind the wheel and maximise those happy times spent with family and friends? Here are some tips for the festive season:
We were immediately seized by the urgency of the situation – millions of children were expecting their presents! With no time to spare we sprang into action.
Morning traffic hits its peak later during holidays according to the NRMA, so make sure you leave early to get to your destination. Vehicle breakdowns can also block roads and delay traffic. Statistics show that the peak period for breakdowns on Christmas day is between 10am and 2pm, so try to avoid travelling between those times.
Your in-car GPS can take a lot of the stress out of getting to your destination – if you use it. Live traffic updates can help you avoid the worst of the traffic congestion and choose a quicker route.
Use public transport instead
If it's conveniently close why not consider leaving the car behind completely and using public transport instead on Christmas Day? Sure, public transport in capital cities is less frequent during Christmas, but it doesn't stop altogether. If you're close to a train station with a destination also close to a station it may be the quickest and most hassle-free way to get there. Just check those timetables online.
Stick to the timelines
When you're picking people up make sure they know the timeline and why that timeline's important. By emphasising that "dinner starts at 6.00, OK!" you're more likely to get some commitment from them to get their act together.
Figure out what you need for the journey and organise it. That means getting the kids' toys together, organising food, downloading maps and other information you need (maps are particularly important if you're heading for remote areas as you can’t rely on an internet connection). Planning rest breaks ahead of time will also minimise time in the car. A bit of careful forward planning will help reduce stoppages and mistakes along the way.
Make a list
When it comes to loading and unloading the car you just can't beat making a list and meticulously ticking off each item. Just make sure you park the car in the closest spot when doing all that work. Life's meant to be easy at Christmas, after all.