Be prepared for your next trip away with the family and tick off the following safety checks, before you get on the road.
1. Go for a tune up
Top of the list: make sure that your vehicle is in good working order for a fuss-free trip away. Book your car in for a quick service or safety check so that tyres, battery, belts, fluid, air con and especially oil in hot climates are checked by a qualified mechanic.
TIP: Shara Hill, CSA at the Broadway store in Sydney says, “I suggest that customers go for a basic service before setting out on a road trip. This should take between two to three hours and is very comprehensive. You will be safe in the knowledge that important general safety checks are made. Your car will be checked from top to bottom for tyres, brakes, suspension. At Kmart Tyre & Auto Service, we even check and make fluid top ups and if your wipers are not working properly, we would recommend new blades to ensure your windscreen is kept clean and good visibility on the road.”
2. Get a good night's sleep
In anticipation of a holiday and getting all the last minute things done, it is easy and unwise to stay up late. Ensure you have caught up on sleep and rest before a big trip as many road accidents are caused by tiredness and drowsy drivers. As the RTA says, ‘stop, revive and survive’, when you are on the road. Fatigue-related crashes tend to occur in two distinct periods of the day: between midnight and 6am, and between 2pm and 4pm, according to research and many accidents happen within 50km of the destination so don’t let your guard down just because you’re nearly there.*
3. Gear up for safety
Check in your boot and make sure you have water, warm blankets, a torch, a spare tyre and tools, a first aid kit and remember to charge your mobile phone up prior to departure.
TIP: Shara Hill, CSA at the Broadway store in Sydney says, “Remember to take a battery charger and jack in case of flat battery or the need to change a tyre. I also recommend that you get your car serviced and oil changed every six months to avoid further damage and more expensive repairs later. ”
4. Join roadside assistance
Relax and know that you are covered with breakdown support. Check what coverage is available locally, as roadside cover can differ from state to state.
5. Check the back seats
If travelling with small children, it’s wise to check that child seats are secured, children are seat belted in and there’s shade protection from the hot sun. Check the back seats for small objects that could be choking hazards too.
6. Share the driving
It is better to be refreshed and swap with a partner or friend every few hours to break up the driving on long trips. It may be tempting to soldier on, but it’s safer to share the stints with a co-driver.
7. Keep energy levels up
Avoid fatty foods and relying on caffeine, instead pack lots of juice, water, sandwiches and healthy snacks to keep you going.
8. Plan your route
Satellite navigation devices can put paid to family disagreements over maps. Plan the best route the day before your tip and tune your radio into traffic alerts for congestion warnings and road closures.
9. Keep your lights on
Ask your mechanic check your brake lights, headlights, and turning signals for you. (Kmart Tyre & Auto Service do this as part of a basic service.)
10. Pump it up
Get in the habit of refilling your tank with petrol at the ¼ tank mark, just in case of long gaps between service stations and to avoid holiday queues. Refuel before you risk running out of gas.
* Source: Driver fatigue - an accident waiting to happen Nova Science in the News