16 December 2020
COVID-19 might stop us travelling overseas, or even domestically this holiday season, but it can’t stop us hitting the road for a great Aussie road trip.
At this time of year, many Australians hook up their caravans or sling their tents and eskies in their boots and head off on the roads. But more cars on the road means greater chances of being involved in an accident.
To help you navigate these obstacles, we’ve put together a checklist of useful tips to ensure you and your family stay on track for a safe and happy holiday.
Rest up and recharge
A good night’s rest is absolutely vital before you embark on a long drive. Try and get a full eight hours so you can be fresh and energised for the long-haul drive ahead. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids, take regular breaks and stay nourished with regular meals and nutritious snack along the way. Remember, the only real solution for fatigue is quality sleep.
Make sure your car is ready
It’s not going to be a happy holiday if your car breaks down halfway to your destination. So be sure to get it serviced before your big trip. Pump your tyres, fill your fuel tank, top up your engine oil and coolant, and check your brakes and lights.
Pack an emergency kit including a spare tyre, jack, tyre leaver, pump, tyre gauge and jumper cables. That way, if something does go wrong, you have the tools to fix it. And of course, having a first aid kit is also essential.
Check for bushfires
The holidays fall in the middle of our hottest and driest months. And with that comes the threat of bushfires. Bush and grass fires can leap over roads and even main highways. They generate enormous amounts of smoke and can often reduce visibility to almost zero, resulting in road closures. So, before you set off, get advice from your local fire authorities.
Drive for the conditions
Before heading out check the weather forecast. If a big storm is coming, then consider postponing your drive for another day. If you can’t, then drive to the conditions. Slow down and keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles.
This being Australia, you are probably going to be driving under some fierce sunlight for at least part of your journey, so it pays to invest in a pair of polarised sunnies.
Be mindful of other conditions. Remember, different states have different road rules and regulations, so stay alert!
Give yourself a break
Take regular breaks every couple of hours and, and if you can, swap drivers.
Stop frequently for food and drinks to re-energise and rehydrate. Use the numerous rest areas and Driver Reviver spots throughout Australia to give yourself a well-earned break.
If possible, try and avoid driving at night or travelling for longer than 8 hours in one go.
Look after your most precious cargo
Double check any children or pets are restrained correctly. And then check again. You can’t be too careful when it comes to your precious cargo. Adult passengers, including yourself should also be properly restrained via seatbelt.
Before you hit the road, choose the safest route. Most of the time, new highways and well-designed roads make the smoothest and safest drives.
If you can, try and use your car’s GPS system so you aren’t reaching for your phone.
If you do need to use the map on your phone, always make sure it’s secure in a phone mount towards the centre of the windscreen to avoid a distraction that could turn dangerous.
Many people enjoy a drink over the holidays. But if you’re planning to drive, then make sure you stay under the limit.
If you don’t, then it’s time for Plan B – a designated driver, taxi or Uber
A little caution goes a long way
You never know who you are going to see on our roads at this time of year. Holiday makers, last minute shoppers, caravaners, even good old St. Nick in his sleigh. So, it pays to drive super carefully and remain vigilant to all the other motorists around you.
Happy Holidays and stay safe!
This page provides general advice only. For up-to-date and specific advice relating to the risks in your area please speak to your local council or emergency services.
Car Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 AFSL 227681 trading as CGU Insurance. The advice on this page is general advice only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs (“your personal circumstances”). Before using this advice to decide whether to purchase the insurance policy, you should consider your personal circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available from cgu.com.au.