If you’re planning to hop in the car for a fun-filled long weekend, we’ve got some helpful tips to help you and your family stay safe.
The Easter long weekend is a popular time for road travel, with many of us planning trips to coincide with the school holidays or family catchups. It’s busy time on our freeways and regional roads so to help you stay safe over the break, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Do your vehicle safety checklist
Nobody wants to spend precious holiday time on the side of the road waiting for assistance, so run through your vehicle checklist before you go to rule out any avoidable issues. Make sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, check your spare, fill up your washer fluid and ensure your oil and coolant are topped up. If your car is due for a service, book it in before you go so you can feel reassured that your brakes and lights are all functioning properly.
Check your insurance is up to date to make sure you’re covered if anything should happen. NRMA Car Insurance offers a range of options to protect you and your vehicle in case of accident, storm damage, theft and more. Call to check your policy or get a quote.
Prepare an emergency kit
Aside from a spare tyre, you should also have a few other essentials in the boot, just in case. A tyre lever, jack, pump, jumper cables and a foam repair kit can all come in handy. A basic first aid kit (containing plasters, gauze, antiseptic, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes and safety scissors) is also a good idea.
Snacks and essentials
If you’ve ever travelled with kids, you know that it only takes half an hour before the first murmurs of ‘I’m hungry’ begin. You don’t want to be pulling over on freeways to find snacks in the back of the car so pack some healthy snacks to have on the go like fruit, carrot sticks and popcorn to keep the tummy rumbles at bay. Make sure everyone has a refillable water bottle you can top up when you stop for fuel or to stretch your legs. Make sure you always have a packet of wet wipes in the glovebox. You’ll be amazed by how useful they can be – especially after the Easter bunny stops by!
Check the conditions
A day or two before you plan to head off, check the weather forecast and the news for any warnings for rain, flood or strong winds, especially if you’re towing a caravan or trailer. Also check there are no bushfire warnings for the regions you’re travelling to, as driving during a bushfire is dangerous and could be life-threatening.
Plan your route
If you haven’t already, now’s the time to map out the trip to your destination and choose the safest route, taking into consideration any traffic or construction that might delay travel time. Most commonly, new highways and well-designed roads are your safest bet. Try to use your car’s GPS system or Google Maps to avoid touching your phone, which is not only dangerous but illegal.
If you are using a map or following directions on your phone, always make sure it’s secure in a phone mount towards the centre of the windscreen, to the left of the driver’s wheel. If this isn’t possible, the next best place to mount it is in the far right, bottom corner of the windscreen.
Keep in mind that double demerits apply all long weekend, so check your route’s speed limits and obey road rules.
Pack the car the night before
If you can, try to pack the car with non-essential items the night before, so you’re not stressing in the morning. Pack your car securely ensuring items don’t block your vision and luggage can’t shift or become a projectile if you need to brake or swerve to avoid a collision. It’s also wise not to pack your car in broad daylight and full view of your street, making it obvious you won’t be at home.
Rest up before you go
Burning the midnight oil isn’t a great idea the night before a long drive. Instead, try to get a full night’s sleep so you wake refreshed and energised for your trip. Make sure you have your glasses if you wear them to drive, and your sunglasses in case of glare or reflection off the road.
Buckle up for safety
It’s no secret that seatbelts save lives. Before before you go, check your child restraints to ensure they are correctly anchored, and all harnesses are working properly. The same applies to your pets. Make sure their travel restraint or crate will keep them secure, for their safety and your peace of mind.
Take a break
Every two hours take a break to stretch your legs and take a break in concentration. If possible, it’s good practice to swap drivers to give your eyes some time out from the road. Stop for food and toilet breaks at rest areas and Driver Reviver spots throughout your trip and try to avoid driving at night. If your trip exceeds eight hours of travel, it’s recommended you break it up and stop overnight.
Happy Easter from all of us at NRMA Insurance. If you’re out on the roads, please drive safely, obey the speed limit and take care of yourself and your loved ones. If you need to contact NRMA Insurance, go online 24/7 or call us on 132 132 for help.