10 Rules for Safe Long Distance Driving
Author: Bob Newman Date Posted:10 March 2014
Opting to take the long road
Long distance driving through the country is one of the best things about living in Australia, but you’ve gotta do it right to make the most out of it.
With over half a million kilometres of tarmac covering our sunburnt country, Australians are lucky to be able to answer to the calls of the road and go as we please. However, being on the road can be dangerous if you don’t prepare yourself properly. Here are Carasel’s top 10 rules for long distance driving.
- Before you leave the house, make sure that your car is ready for a long journey. This involves giving it a good once-or-twice-over to see whether the required maintenance has been done. Check the fluid levels, oil, the tread and pressure of the tires.
- Take a good look at the route you’ll be taking and the types of roads you’ll be driving on. Ensure that you only drive on roads that are suited to the type of vehicle you own – while most modern roads are sealed, if you’re heading deep into the bush you may find yourself ending up on a lot of gravel or dirt roads, which should be driven on with a four-wheel drive vehicle that’s built to handle those conditions.
- Pack carefully and securely. Just because it’s all inside the car doesn’t mean it’s secure – you don’t want your precious cargo shifting unpleasantly if you have to brake suddenly –a cargo barrier is a good investment in a car like a station wagon. Ensure that outside cargo is tightly tied and secure.
- Slow and steady wins the race, it’s better late than never, et cetera, et cetera. Just because there’s an official time of travel suggested by the AAA, doesn’t mean you have to follow it to the minute.
- Try to avoid doing long distances at night, especially if you’ve just spent all day driving too! You’ll already be worn out, and the road at night is much less forgiving and way more likely to put you into a trance-like state.
- Speaking of driving at night, look out for wildlife, especially around sunrise and sunset. Kangaroos, wombats, koalas, sheep, cattle and more are likely to roam the roads at these times.
- If you haven’t already, consider investing in roadside assistance from the an automobile club (such as the NRMA) for those just-in-case moments – you never know when they’ll strike and you’ll be thankful for the investment later.
- Take regular breaks. Those roadside rest areas are there for your convenience, so take advantage of them. Plus, it’s a good time for you (and your passengers, if you have them) to get out, stretch your legs and take a deep breath of fresh air to get the blood circulating around your body again. If you are travelling with someone, then a break time is a good time to swap drivers, too.
- Plan your fuel stops. While you may not need to worry about this as much when you’re in a heavily trafficked area where service stations are plentiful, you will definitely need to plan ahead when you get a little more rural. Running out of petrol in the middle of nowhere can be a very dangerous accident, so plan ahead to avoid any issues down the road.
- Be well stocked at all times. When it comes to long-distance driving, it’s much better for you to bring too much than too little. Prepare some healthy snacks and bring plenty of water, not only for the drive but in the event that you suffer a break down – you’ll be extra thankful for the forward thinking then. You may also want to pack some basic tools and spare parts in the case of a minor break down, where you may be able to fix it yourself.
Thinking of towing your caravan or taking your car on a long trip? You may want to learn how to “Change a Tyre in 8 Easy Steps”