Summer holidays call for more time with the family, which might even include making a long trip interstate. But the open road outside the city limits can be challenging – especially for long periods of time. So, to help you stay safe on the road this summer, here’s a few things to keep in mind before taking off.
Check it is safe to travel
Travelling during a bushfire is dangerous and could be life threatening. If you're travelling during the bush fire season, you could be affected by a fire. Bush and grass fires often cross roads and highways. Smoke can reduce visibility and roads may also be closed without warning. Before setting off be sure to check advise from your local fire authorites, and if you see a bushfire in the distance pull over to the side of the road, assess the situation and call triple zero 000.
Get a good night’s rest
First things first. Rejuvenate your body and mind by getting a good night’s rest. This means having a full eight hours of sleep so that you’re refreshed in the morning and in optimal shape for a long haul drive.
Prepare your vehicle
The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the highway halfway to your destination. To avoid any travel hiccups, ensure your vehicle is ready for the long trip. Get your car serviced prior to travelling and make sure your types are pumped with the correct air pressure, you have enough fuel to last the trip, your engine oil and coolant are optimal levels, all breaks and lights are working properly, and the car battery’s connection is secure.
Have an emergency kit handy
It’s always a good idea to have a spare tyre in your boot, a jack, tyre leaver, pump, tyre gauge, jumper cables, and any other tools that will come in handy in case of a break down or flat tyre. Having a basic first aid kit is a definite must. This can be a big help to you and your passengers if something unfortunate were to happen.
Pack essential supplies
Never take off on a trip without packing food and drink supplies. You’ll need to stay hydrated and nourished throughout the trip to ensure your energy levels stay up. Water is a must and some essential snacks like fruit, carrot and celery sticks, crackers, popcorn and biscuits make the perfect pick me up for growling bellies. Toilet paper, tissues and wet wipes can also come in handy for those toilet stops in the middle of nowhere. And to make sure all your electronics are fully functioning, don’t forget the in-car chargers.
Store luggage safely
It’s far less stressful if you pack the car the night before your trip because it means one less thing to do before you leave. Ensure your luggage isn’t blocking your view and bags aren’t sliding about. This will prevent any of the items in your bags from being damaged or spilling out.
Restrain children and pets correctly
You’d do anything to help keep your loved ones safe. This involves making sure you triple check that children or pets are restrained correctly – it could mean the difference between safety and risk.
Choose the best travel route
Before you get behind the wheel, map out your trip and choose the safest travel route, taking into consideration any traffic that might delay travel time. Most commonly, new highways and well-designed roads are your safest bet. Try to use your car’s GPS system to avoid any distractions of having to reach for your phone. And if your car doesn’t have GPS capabilities and you need to use the map on your phone, always make sure it’s safety secure in a phone mount towards the centre of the windscreen, to the left of the driver’s wheel. If this isn’t possible, the next best place to mount it is in the far right, bottom corner of the windscreen.
Take regular breaks
If you’re travelling for more than two hours take regular breaks to stretch your legs and reset your mind. Ideally, it’s good practice to swap drivers to give your eyes some time out from the road. Stop for food and toilet breaks at rest areas and Driver Reviver spots throughout your trip and try to avoid driving at night and exceeding more than eight hours of travel.
Check weather conditions
Before you put your foot to the peddle, check weather conditions on the days you’ll be travelling. If there are any storms on the horizon try to delay your road trip for a clearer day. But if you do get stuck in bad conditions, adjust your driving to remain safe by slowing down, turning on your headlights and leaving enough room between you and other drivers. If sunshine is the prediction, don’t forget to wear your sunglasses to prevent nasty glare from the sun. Polarised sunglasses are best at blocking out the sun’s rays because they have a special filter that blocks out intense reflected light, providing superior glare protection.