Preparing for a safe trip

Dangerous distraction: Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal in NSW resulting in fines up to $439 and the loss of 4 demerit points. Photo: Shutterstock.
Dangerous distraction: Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal in NSW resulting in fines up to $439 and the loss of 4 demerit points. Photo: Shutterstock.

We are constantly reminded about driving safely on our roads and that message is further reinforced during the holidays - especially over a long weekend period when double demerit points kick in. The conditions faced over this time and the actions taken by drivers continually shows increased possibilities of danger including long trips, more vehicles on the road, unusual driving times, increased distractions and unfamiliar conditions. By taking a few simple precautions before and during your journey, you can make sure your trip is both fun and safe.

Urban Myth: There is no such thing as speeding safely. Slow down and enjoy the ride, especially in the wet or on unfamiliar roads. Photo: Shutterstock.

Urban Myth: There is no such thing as speeding safely. Slow down and enjoy the ride, especially in the wet or on unfamiliar roads. Photo: Shutterstock.

  • Before You Hit The Road

While you should have your vehicle regularly serviced, a quick self-service will make sure you are ready to hit the road. Simple checks that you should carry out include checking your oil, coolant and wiper fluids.

Tyres, including your spare, should have the right pressure, good tread and not have any cracks or bumps. Check that all lights including headlights, blinkers, brake and reverse lights are working and replace any blown bulbs.

It’s always important to have something fun to do on any road trip so make sure you have plenty of things for everyone to enjoy. You can always put together a small activity bag with colouring in books, pencils and other games.

Make sure any iPad’s or tablets are charged before leaving and throw in car chargers for these devices or any mobile phones.

If all of your luggage won’t fit in the boot, then ensure it is stowed securely in the vehicle and cannot come loose and injure people during an emergency. Finally a small first aid kit is always a good idea to keep in the car and don’t forget a bag for those who struggle with motion sickness.

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  • While You’re On The Road

The most important thing is seat belts on at all times. The NSW Roads and Maritime Services have found that seat belts reduce the risk of injury in an accident by 45 per cent and can improve your chances of surviving a serious crash by up to 50 per cent. While children may have their belts on at the start of a trip it is important to keep checking that they have kept them on.

Once you’re on the road, take your time and enjoy the actual trip as part of your holiday. Rushing and speeding increases the chances of you being involved in an accident, and there are other things to consider.

You can use up to 25 per cent less fuel travelling at 90km/h than you will be at 110km/h, and of course a speeding fine certainly won’t put you in the mood for holiday celebrations. 

Lastly it is also imperative not to drive while you are tired and the statistics back this up. Driving while tired accounts for one in six crashes that result in serious injury or death and you are four times more likely to have an accident if you're driving between 10pm and 6am.

Share the driving if possible and take a 15 minute break every two hours to rest your eyes. Don't ignore the early warning signs of fatigue including yawning, poor concentration, tired eyes and drowsiness, slow reactions, boredom and over steering.

Remember drive safely and enjoy your holidays.