We all love to escape the daily grind when the opportunity arises, and what better way than a quick getaway with family, friends or loved ones during the Easter long weekend! To ensure everyone has an enjoyable trip, it’s important to make safety your top priority when travelling. Here are our top tips for driving during the Easter break so you can arrive at your destination safely.
To make sure you stay safe on the roads, ensure you prepare your vehicle, yourself, your passengers, and your plan.
Make sure your car is serviced and stocked with a car jack, spare tyre, first aid kit, plenty of water, blanket and torch. You never know what emergencies may arise at any time.
- Look after yourself by getting enough sleep, eating a light meal, and staying hydrated. Plan your stops to avoid fatigue. Take regular breaks and consider sharing the driving responsibly with another adult.
- Check, check and double check - Check your child restraints if applicable, check tow bars and any vehicle trailers and loads. Check for tyre conditions, secure all attachments, check all electrical connections, brakes, and mirrors.
- Don’t drink alcohol if you plan to drive, even if you’re driving the next day alcohol can still be present in your system and affect your driving abilities for significant amounts of time after your last drink.
- Plan your best route for rest stops, food and fuel.
Stay up to date
You can check the Road Traffic Authority websites in your relevant state to ensure you are up to date with traffic conditions, road closures, incidents, crashes, special events, and any disruptions to the road network. You can see live or updated traffic conditions with a quick online search.
See your relevant state here:
Drink driving results in deaths
Naturally, you might be tempted to have a few drinks during the holiday period. However, drink driving remains a major cause of crashes and fatalities across all Australian states. In NSW alone, 1 in 5 accidents result in a loss of life, whilst in WA 22% of crashes attended by police involved a driver or rider with a level over 0.05.
Alcohol affects co-ordination, judgement, decision-making and reaction times, amongst other things. Once consumed, only time can reverse the effects. It’s important that no matter how much driving experience you have, you do not drink and drive.
Random Breath Testing is one way that police are acting to limit the number of fatalities on the roads. Their effect is seen in a drop in road fatalities involving alcohol by 21 per cent since the instillation of RBT’s in 1982. Speed cameras on the roads
Speed cameras are set up at locations that meet certain criteria taking into account accident rates and travelling speeds. Long stretches of road, downhill slopes, eager drivers, dangerous curves and blind intersections can all spell recipes for speed disasters. There are both fixed and mobile speed cameras which have been introduced across Australia to help prevent accidents and fatalities caused by speed.
View current speed camera locations for your state:
Looking after yourself
Driver fatigue is a very important issue on our roads. Some tips to keep you safe from fatigue include:
- Not leaving too early in the morning or driving too late into the night to prevent your body thinking it should be asleep
- Rest for 15 minutes every 2 hours, don’t be tempted to keep driving
- Make the most of free coffee stops along the way!
- Watch out for signs of fatigue including yawning, tired eyes, slow reactions, restlessness, inability to concentrate, sweaty hands, drowsiness and oversteering
Behind the wheel
Road rules are in place to keep all drivers safe on the roads, here are some key pointers to remember to keep you an your family safe:
- Keep a minimum three-second distance between your car and the car in front. Double this during fog, rain, or dark and hazardous conditions.
- Brake early and accelerate gradually to ensure a smooth drive. This will also translate to less wear on your vehicle and reduced fuel consumption. In particular, remember to slow down early if you are towing a trailer or caravan.
- Keep left unless you are overtaking. The right lane should be reserved for overtaking, turning right or for necessary roadwork scenarios.
- Indicate early when changing lanes and performing a turn. The recommended distance prior to turning is 30 meters in advance.
- Be alert and take notice of possible changes in traffic conditions ahead.
- If overtaking, ensure you have enough room, avoid cutting off other drivers or driving into oncoming traffic. If unsure, don’t overtake.
- If driving at night, allow plenty of distance between cars and stay alert. Don’t forget to use high beams and turn them down when cars come from the opposite direction.
- Stay relaxed and enjoy your drive, don’t let others driving impact your own safety and decision making. If you are a victim of road rage, stay calm and focus on your safety. And if you are a recipient of courtesy, don’t forget to wave thank you!
Taking a driving holiday can be a fun time with loved ones but remember to put road safety first. By following these few safety tips, you’ll make sure you and your family arrive safely at your destination.