It’s the start of the year and now is a good time to get in the habit of exercising safe driving habits. Parents of learner drivers have the responsibility of making sure that their child drives safely, but on a particularly long drive, this may not always be easy.
Here are some tips for staying safe on the roads during the peak travel season.
Optimise your driving times
Traffic is not ideal on a road trip (nor is it safe). Lots of surrounding cars can cause stress to the driver and although that can be good for experience, nobody wants to sit in traffic on their way to or from a holiday.
Traffic can also cause a high amount of driver irritation, which isn’t the best mindset to have while behind the wheel. To combat this, try to drive during off-peak periods.
Early in the morning (before 9am) and later in the evening is a good place to start.
It’s important for learner drivers to get as much experience as possible on the road, but don’t push it too far.
It’s easy feel fatigued behind the wheel when you drive for too long, so whether you’re an L-plater or not, you should alternate drivers or take a break from the road every two hours.
Be sun smart
This isn’t directly related to safe driving but it does affect your health. The sun’s rays are strong and can easily penetrate the window of your car, especially if you’re driving in the middle of the day when the UV rays are the strongest.
With arms in full view, you don’t want to get burnt.
Make sure you put sunscreen on before you get in the car or wear long sleeves, even if it’s a light piece of clothing. Sunglasses are also important.
Glare from the sun can be quite dangerous while driving, so bear this in mind before you leave home.
Internal distractions are one of the biggest causes of accidents on the road. Whether it’s your phone ringing, changing the radio station or even eating takeaway while you drive, research shows that 70% of Australian drivers admit to doing something potentially reckless behind the wheel.
This shows that not only could you be distracted by something in your own car, but other drivers might also not be paying attention.
Make sure you’re alert, keep your eyes on the road and stay away from others who might be driving recklessly themselves.
If something goes wrong on your trip and your car breaks down or runs out of petrol or another non-ideal situation arises, then it’s important to have all the necessities with you.
This includes snacks, water, warm blankets, a torch, jumper cables and maybe even a first-aid kit.
If you’re only planning to drive for a couple of hours then you probably won’t need to worry about this, but if you’re heading out on a longer journey, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Check your insurance policy
If you’re planning to alternate drivers on your trip, make sure you’re both covered under your car insurance policy.
In many cases, if an unlisted driver crashes your car or gets into an accident, your insurer won’t pay out your claim or you’ll have to pay an exorbitant excess.
This could mean that your road trip becomes far more expensive than you originally anticipated. Make sure any additional drivers are listed on your policy, even if only for the duration of your journey.
This may increase the cost of your premiums, so make sure to compare policies online to get the best value.
So there you have it. Six safety tips for your road trip these holidays.
Whether you’re heading to the coast or to the centre of Australia, make sure to stay alert and have a great time.