Travel Australia: Great Australian Drives – The Safe Driving Edition

As we continue with our exploration of Great Australian Drives, we take a “pit stop” in this article to address the all important issue of safe motoring.  This may especially be the case where you are not used to long distance driving and may have arranged car hire in Sydney. Follow our simple guide to ensure you are physically and mentally ready for the long drive ahead. Secondly, ensure that the car is road trip ready by following the simple checks that we have suggested. 1. Drive fresh and well rested to avoid an accident: Fatigue related road accidents remain high on the statistics list during holiday periods. Some simple do’s and don’ts that will ensure you and your family arrive safely include:
  • Get at least 7-8 hours sleep prior to a long drive, this is essential and there are no shortcuts to ensuring your biological batteries are fully charged
  • Take a break every 2 hours even if you feel fine. Take advantage of the numerous rest areas rest areas provided in all states across the country. Swap drivers as well if at all possible
  • Strive to drive when you are normally awake. Attempting all night drives adds greatly to the risk of an accident if you are ordinarily asleep during the same hours
  • Insist on avoiding alcohol altogether; even drinking to legal limits is likely to cause fatigue and loss of concentration very quickly
2. Ensure your vehicle is ready for the trip: Even if you regularly service your vehicle as required, perform the following checks prior to your departure
  • Oil, water and other essential fluids as per the car manual (usually performed using the dip sticks and associated markings).
  • Have the health of your battery checked by your local mechanic
  • Feel the wear marks on your tyres to ensure that they are safe to drive on. Also, check your car’s tool kit and spare wheel
  • Check the tyre pressure of all wheels when cool
If you have arranged car rental in Sydney, it is still advisable to perform the above checks. Additionally, if possible, pay extra to obtain a car with ABS brakes and Vehicle Stability Control. 3. Plan ahead and be safety conscious by preparing for the unlikely:
  • Carry a small supply of water and non perishable food in the event of a night time break down. Whether you have roadside assistance or not, have handy the number the NRMA and interstate equivalents.
  • Plan well in advance your most convenient route. Take a road map in addition to your GPS in case there is a failure in its operation.
  • Drive courteously and avoid on road confrontations. Maintain at least a 3-4 second gap when on the free way.
  • Ensure you are carrying at least one good spare as well as any consumables that may be required and are often difficult to source at short notice.
As the big road trip comes to fruition, plan ahead and work your way through the points we have above for smooth and safe travels.