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Safety essentials for the holiday road

26 November 2021

Safety essentials for the holiday road

Like other holidays, road trips need you to prepare your safety essentials. To help get you started, here’s 6 safety tips to consider before hitting the road.

With an adventure-filled holiday season around the corner, it’s an exciting time to be planning a road trip. But how can you best prepare for the long drive? 

Driving does come with hazards, but luckily there are lots of things we can all do to make every trip a safe one. Whether you’re driving up the coast with friends or inland to spend time with family, safety should always come first. Follow these steps so you can relax and enjoy your time on the road. 

Prepare your vehicle 

Before even thinking about hitting the open road, you need to check that your vehicle is ready for it. There are a few basic steps you can take to make sure your car is up to the challenge of a long road trip. First, check the engine oil, coolant and windscreen washer reservoir. Top them up if you need to. This will save you time at the service station along the way, which is a good plan if you’re travelling with “are we there yet?” kids in tow. 

Check your tyres thoroughly. Look them over for uneven or excessive wear, cuts or embedded nails that could cause a puncture. Adjust tyre pressure if you need to (check your vehicle handbook, which should always travel with you). If you’re unsure about what to do, ask a mechanic. Tyre health makes for a safer trip and properly inflated cars can improve your fuel efficiency.

Pack an emergency kit

There are some things that you should always have stored in your car in case of an emergency. Back-up windscreen wiper fluid, engine oil, paper towel for checking the oil and spare coolant don’t take up a lot of space and might help you out of a bind on a winding country road. A well-stocked first aid kit so you can look after yourself and your loved ones if there’s a minor accident is a must-have. A torch (insert fresh batteries), mobile phone and car charger and some paper maps in case your tech fails in remote locations are all good back-up measures. Include your roadside assist membership card in your emergency kit. Keep your card with your car’s maintenance manual, so you’re never without it. 

Australia can get very hot, even during the winter in some places. Everyone in the car should have a good-sized water bottle (the average adult needs upwards of two litres of fluid a day for optimum health), and pack some compact, calorie-rich snacks like nut bars in case you have a long delay in the middle of nowhere.

Research your route

Remote Australian roads can quickly become a muddy mess with even a small amount of rain, so make sure you are aware of any recent or forecast weather events that could get you into deep water. Printing or buying those back-up maps will offer alternative route options should you need them. 

Store your luggage safely

A loose suitcase in the back of a station wagon or SUV can become a missile if you have to brake heavily. Make sure you’re packed safely, inside and out of the car. Securely strap every item that’s outside your car on the roof or in a trailer. This makes you a good driving citizen, helping to keep yourself, your loved ones and others safe on the roads. If you have items strapped to the outside of your vehicle or towed in a trailer, make sure that you stop regularly to check if the tethers need tightening. Make sure you know how to use them properly: Read the instructions ahead of time, and practice before you pack. 

Restrain yourself 

Proper seatbelts, car seats and animal restraints are a good idea. While it is not compulsory to restrain animals inside cars, if an accident occurs, your beloved family pet could be seriously injured or injure someone else in the car. So a pet restraint is a safe and easy safety measure, and the chances are whoever’s in the back with the dog will thank you for it. 

Protect what’s most important to you 

Before embarking on the family road trip of a lifetime, or any journey, make sure your people and possessions are properly protected. It’s important to protect yourself and your car from accidents, theft, fire or flood with the right car insurance cover. NRMA offers a range of car insurance for all Australians in SA, WA, TAS, QLD, NSW, ACT and NT. 

By taking these simple steps ahead of your departure date, you can make sure that your time on the road is as safe and as much fun as you imagine it to be. 


Road trips