With the festive season in full swing, many people are beginning to make plans to travel. As the celebrations draw closer, there are more people on the roads, highways are more congested, and drivers may be easily distracted by kids, seasonal stress, or general jubilation.
While we usually like to cover keeping safe at work over the silly season, this article will explore holiday road safety in Australia and provide you with tips to help keep safe while on the roads this Christmas.
When the holiday season comes around, many people start looking forward to a break from their regular routines. However, this means that more people will be travelling on the roads, which increases the risk of accidents. It’s important to know what you can do to protect yourself and others during holidays.
The lockdowns and restrictions in 2020 and 2021 had many people stuck at home for the Christmas period- or at least not willing to travel and be stranded due to an outbreak or sudden lockdown.
That means that 2022 is looking like it’ll be a busier than usual time on the roads as people head interstate or even somewhere within their own state for a break over the holidays.
Historically, this has always been a dangerous time of year for people to travel on the roads, due to increased traffic and heightened emotions.
According to statistics, 114 people were killed in collisions on the roads in Australia in December 2019.
In our endeavour to keep you safe this Christmas, below are some tips for you to keep in mind while travelling this holiday season.
1. Get Your Car Travel Ready
Your car should be checked and serviced regularly anyway, but this time of year is the perfect time to ensure your car is in optimum condition to travel the extra kilometres.
Book in with your mechanic early to make sure you:
- Have the oil changed
- Check tyres and tyre pressure to avoid flats and blowouts
- Rotate tyres
- Have the brakes checked
- Repair and replace anything that could be a risk
- Check spark plugs and top off coolants, water etc
2. Plan Your Trip
While it might seem like a nice idea to just go whichever way the road takes you, realistically, you need to know what’s ahead so you can prepare accordingly.
If you’re going to be travelling on the highways, you’ll be able to plan for refuelling, and food and drink stops.
But if you’re going to be travelling in a more remote area, you may need to carry extra fuel and food to get you through a long stretch.
If you’re travelling with children, get any car seats double-checked for correct installation, and provide entertainment and snacks to keep them from distracting you.
If you have pets with you, you need to ensure they’re secured and also have plenty of food and water throughout the trip.
If you’re travelling long-distance, you may also need to consider booking in at motels or Airbnb’s to sleep and rest.
This brings us to our next point…
3. Make Plenty of Stops to Rest
Driving tired can kill.
There’s no beating around the bush here- falling asleep behind the wheel is dangerous for you and those on the roads around you.
Make sure you’re well rested before you set out, take plenty of breaks, and share driving duties if you can.
If you’re going to be driving far enough, book in at a motel or somewhere safe to allow you to rest.
You should also consider limiting driving at night and make sure you have a good amount of fresh air coming in to help keep you alert.
4. Watch Out for Wildlife
Once you leave the city or suburbia, you’re going to start seeing some wildlife along the roads.
While it can be a thrill to spot ‘roos bounding along the side of the road or across the road, it can be a danger.
Running into wildlife can not only kill or injure the animal, but it can cause serious damage to your car, and injure you and your family.
5. Keep Weather Conditions in Mind
While we are lucky enough to usually have beautiful weather over the Christmas holidays here in Australia, we do sometimes have to deal with extreme weather conditions.
Flooding, wild storms, bushfires, and soaring temperatures can happen at any time, so it’s important to make sure you know what you might be driving through during your time away.
If the area you’re heading through is prone to flooding, make sure you have another route planned in case of blocked roads.
Bushfires can happen almost anywhere thanks to so much of our beautiful country being surrounded by bush, so you need to make sure you know what’s happening along your route so you can plan accordingly.
The heat of the Australian sun is often brutal, so make sure you keep sun safe, even in the car. You should also ensure everyone stays hydrated throughout the drive.
Above all, enjoy yourself! The holidays are a wonderful opportunity to switch off for a while, so take time to spend quality moments with your family and keep safe during these holidays.