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7 safety tips for long distance driving

31/08/2020 by Lania Mason in Safety

Without a doubt, the best way to see Australia in all its glory is to jump in the car and hit the road. There is a kind of freedom that comes with being out on the open road, and although the goal is to get to your destination as quickly and safety as possible, it’s the journey that can be the most rewarding.

A lengthy journey requires planning, concentration, and patience to make the drive safe for everyone – even our animal friends you may encounter!

We’ve compiled a few tips to help you prepare for a long drive before you get behind the wheel.

1. Plan ahead

You want to ensure that your drive is relaxing and enjoyable, so take some time to plan your route and the roads you are going to take. You should know where you will be able to stop for fuel, food, ablutions, and safe resting places.

If you’re really wanting to explore, there are some incredible towns in Australia which are worth the stop if you’ll be passing through. Information centres are also your best friend and can point you to some hidden gems in our country.

2. Take frequent breaks

It can be tempting to drive for hours without any breaks to quickly reach your destination, but you won’t be doing yourself or others any favours if you push it on the roads. Long distance trips are known to cause fatigue for the driver, which is why it is important to take regular breaks.

When driving for long periods of time, drivers are most at risk of having a microsleep – a short period of unconsciousness which is the first stage of sleep or light sleep. Warning signs of fatigue include yawning, sore or heavy eyes, and slowed reaction times.

When you begin to recognise these signs, pull over safely and re-energise. You should stop for at least 15 minutes every two hours.

TIP: Many vehicles include a safety feature where the driver is alerted to rest after driving for a certain amount of time. If your vehicle doesn’t have such a feature, set a timer on your watch or phone and make sure to take your breaks when you’re alerted to do so.

3. Share the drive

Fatigue-related crashed are more likely to occur when the driver is alone, so if you’re able to share the drive with someone else, then do so.

Make sure all drivers are well rested before you take off and plan a schedule for when you need to make stops to switch drivers.

If you’ll be sharing the drive, all drivers need to be covered under your insurance policy.

4. Don’t rely solely on cruise control

Although cruise control can make a long trip more bearable, lack of driver involvement can lead to laziness and a loss of concentration. If you plan on using cruise control, make sure to manually take control of the vehicle frequently.

5. Eat light and stay hydrated

Depending on the route to your destination, you could find that food stops are limited. Be sure to pack enough snacks and drinks to last the travel time.

If you are in luck of a roadhouse, say no to the grease! Heavy meals can leave you feeling bloated and lethargic. Instead, opt for healthy snacks and water to keep you energised and hydrated.

6. Watch out for wildlife

Australia is home to many including animals like our beloved Kangaroo. Our hopping friends can weight up to 90 kilograms and grow to over 6 feet tall. You can imagine the damage an encounter with a roo can cause if you’re travelling in a car.

Animals are generally more active at dusk and dawn so you should avoid travelling during this time. But remember, wildlife is also active during daylight hours so you need to be alert at all times and adjust your driving when you’re in areas where Kangaroos are known to live. If you come across a roo near or on the road, be sure to slow down and sound your horn. The loud noise can help move them from the road.

7. Obey the road rules

Following the rules sounds simple enough but the crash statistics on our roads speak for themselves. You want to get to your destination safely and driving requires your full attention. Buckle up, put all distractions way, and pay attention to the rules of the road. Lastly, be considerate and courteous to fellow drivers.

If you’re looking to plan your next road trip adventure, why not consider doing this in a brand-new car? With a Fleetcare Novated Lease, we can package the cost of the vehicle and running costs into a simple payment saving you thousands and smoothing your budget. For more information, call our team on 134 333.

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