Whether you’re heading away for an off-road camping adventure, driving interstate to visit family, or just cruising down some idyllic country roads, unfamiliar routes and increased traffic load can both add to your risk of an accident. Not to mention errant kangaroos which, according to CANSTAR award winner NRMA Insurance, account for more than 80% of all animal-related collisions on NSW roads.
Each year CANSTAR research and rate the car insurance policies available for drivers, and NRMA Insurance is winner of CANSTAR’s 2016 Outstanding Value Car Insurance for Queensland.
Holiday Driving Safety Tips from NRMA
When it comes to preparing for driving holidays, NRMA Insurance advises that (along with your luggage) there are some must-have items to pack, including:
- Maps or a GPS
- Your mobile phone (or a Satellite phone if you’re really going off road)
- Water and food (especially if you’re going to be in the outback)
- Travel documents, including car insurance details and passport (if driving overseas)
- First aid kit
- Spare tyre and tyre jack
- Spare fuel if off-roading
- Music and other forms of entertainment for passengers
- Power pack to keep electrical items charged between motel or campsite power points
Having your car serviced in the weeks leading up to your departure is also a great idea. Remember to book it in early – the month before school holidays is a peak car-servicing time.
And another must-do task in the lead up is checking your car insurance policy to ensure that it is both up-to-date and has all the inclusions you need for driving holidays. CANSTAR’s Car Insurance Star Ratings report is a great place to do a bit of insurance homework.
Tips for long-distance driving
Some things are particularly important for the sake of safety when your driving holidays involve long-distance driving.
If you’re driving a rental car, make sure you’ve worked out how to work the windscreen wipers, headlights, side mirrors, air-con, and radio before you roll out of the rental company carpark.
Eat and drink before driving. Keep in mind that caffeine shouldn’t be your only go-to for keeping alert on the road. Caffeinated beverages can keep you awake, but it can’t keep you alert, and those dangerous moments when you’re driving without being aware of what you’re doing are a major safety hazard. And if at any point you’re going to be eating or drinking while driving, think hard about what you choose to snack on!
Avoid the temptation to rely on cruise control the whole way. Having to keep concentrate on maintaining your speed manually will help you to stay alert, not just awake.
Don’t forget to check the weather forecast each day for a few places along your driving route, as well as the weather forecast for your destination.
Be realistic about how far you can drive in a day. Remember that it’s as much about the journey as the destination!
Pull over and take a rest break every few hours, whether you’re tired or not. Stretch your legs so that you know your feet will be awake enough to brake in a crisis.
Make sure you know about any variations between the road rules in your home state and the places you’ll be driving through. Here’s 6 road rules you should know about that are common across Australia.
And we know you’ve all heard it before, but it has to be said again: Never drink and drive, folks. It’s just not worth the tragic and highly likely consequences. You don’t need to be drunk to be affected by alcohol or drugs.
To prevent your car being a break-in victim, store everything valuable in the boot or locked away out of sight somewhere else.