17 December 2021
Be savvy and safe for you summer road trip
There’s nothing quite like an Aussie summer road trip. Ensure you are prepared for your next adventure and plan ahead with our checklist.
The road stretching out in front of you, a welcome breeze coming through the window and your car crew singing along to a tune on the soundsystem - This is holidaying, road trip style.
A summer roadtrip can bring you adventure, laughter and fun surprises. With the best country on earth (we might be biased) to explore, we’ve created a list of must-haves and don’t-forgets to make your road trip safe and memorable. Buckle up!
Easy things first. Before you hit the road, double check your car’s fluids (don’t forget to refill the water for your wipers), lights, brake pads, wheels, tyres and tyre changing tools to make sure they’re road ready.
If you haven’t had a tune up lately, now’s probably a good time for a once over. You want to catch any hiccups before you drive into the great unknown. A car in good condition sets the standard for a good road trip.
Some find solo driving peaceful, contemplative, even meditative; but road trips with youngsters, that’s a completely different story.
If you’ve got little ones make sure you think long and hard about your trip and logistics. In terms of time on the road, less is more. Where will you stop for toilet or leg-stretching breaks? The Road Tripper app is a great tool for planning out your journey and finding interesting stops to break up the journey. It’s always good to plan stops because bad moods from the back seat can distract the driver.
Devices are great, snacks are great, and pillows are crucial. If all else fails, resort to easy road games. “I spy” is a classic but there are lots of great options including “The quiet game”, where the first one to speak loses; particularly helpful when you need a few sneaky minutes of peace and quiet. If you can ensure everyone on board is having a blast, it will make for an easy and more memorable trip.
Summer road trips are amazing, but they’re also really hot. Depending on where you’re going and how many passengers you have, consider tinting your car windows too. Tinting reduces the temperature inside and protects your skin and your dashboard from the sun’s harmful rays. You’ll have to be aware of the level of tinting that the law allows. Here’s a list of tinting laws depending on which state you live in.
Look after your passengers’ hydration with these slick water bottles that keep your beverage hot or cold, depending on your taste. It’s better on the environment to use refillable drink bottles and will save your money in the long run.
And of course, whether your windows are tinted or not, it’s a good idea to slap on some sunscreen. Getting sunburned while driving is something often overlooked. Driving with the sun constantly on one side can also result in one arm or one side of your face getting burned while the other side stays shaded.
As recent history has demonstrated, bushfires are a very real summer danger. Make sure when you make plans to head out you know where you’re going and if there are any bushfires or even chances of fire in that area. Winds can change direction quickly and fire can jump roads and travel rapidly, and so you should always be alert. Along with checking the news, consider downloading the Fires Near Me app if you’re in NSW, TAS Fires app if you’re in Tasmania, Alert SA when you’re driving through South Australia and QLD Fires if you’re in Queensland.
Not to alarm, but bad weather can be another potential driving hazard. Know the climate of the region you’re headed towards and the conditions that are expected, but always be prepared for the weather you can’t expect by downloading the official weather app of Australia, BOM. It will help to make sure you’re aware of rain, hail, storm, floods or anything in between. Also if your road trip included outdoor activities, make sure you’ve packed waterproof gear like raincoats, rain boots and umbrellas.
Be it bad traffic or getting lost, being stuck in a strange location can be stressful. We’ve come a very long way since the days of paper maps (what’s that?), but even the best GPS signals can get lost in a storm or a bad service patch in the outback. Not to mention phone batteries can go flat if you’re not careful.
Make sure before you start out on a long journey you have a good idea of where your destination is, and a portable charger for your phone battery can’t hurt. If you’re worried about poor reception Maps Me is a great app that works anywhere, regardless of your reception. Just download the maps of the route you’ll be taking when you have data or wifi, and you’re on your way.
So you’ve gone through our list and your motor is running and engine revving! But, there’s one more thing you need to ensure you have a safe summer road trip. You won’t be surprised to hear us ask: is your insurance up to date? Have you got all the right boxes ticked? You can always adjust your insurance to suit your needs. And if safer driving includes upgrading your policy to get roadside assistance, more towing kilometers, or windscreen cover in case you’re faced with damage on a dirt road, now’s the time to think about adding extras or adjusting your policies. Have a look here for more details.
Before you head off on your summer road trip, ensure you are protected with car insurance. NRMA car insurance is available across Australia, including SA and WA.