With Christmas rapidly approaching, many Australians are thinking of hitting the highway to spend the festive season with friends and family or head to their favourite holiday location.
While the Christmas and New Year period is a time of celebration, it’s also a period of high risk for motorists. Last year, 36 Australians and New Zealanders lost their lives due to road crashes at Christmas time.
Below are 5 holiday driving tips to help make sure you get to your destination safely:
1. Give your car a check-up
The lead up to Christmas can be so hectic, it’s easy to overlook tasks like checking your vehicle’s cooling system, lights, tyres and brakes.
However, it’s crucial to ensure your car’s in top condition before hitting the road. Book your vehicle in for a service to be sure it’s safe to drive.
2. Give yourself a break
Christmas can be stressful and stress can affect sleep. However, driver fatigue is a major killer on Australian roads.
At this time of year, many drivers attempt to avoid traffic by leaving for their holiday in the early hours of the morning, when they are usually sleeping. Also, during longer road trips, tired motorists can feel tempted to keep driving in order to make up time, rather than pulling over for a break.
It’s imperative that motorists are well rested before a long drive, to avoid putting themselves, passengers and other road users at risk.
Also, plan regular stops and make sure you take a 15 minute power nap the second you notice any signs of fatigue.
Having someone to share driving with also helps and is vital if you are planning on drinking or feel you will be especially tired after a Christmas party.
3. Don’t drink and drive
Seriously, not even a little bit. The reality is there is no such thing as safe drink driving, because even though you may feel normal after having a few, even a small amount of alcohol will affect you.
New drivers with alcohol in their system are also more likely to have an accident. If you are planning on drinking, don’t drive. Have a designated sober driver take you home or take a taxi. It’s simply not worth the risk.
4. Show restraint
In Australia, close to a quarter of people killed in car crashes are not wearing seat belts. Make sure everyone in your car is wearing a seatbelt or child restraint.
Drivers also need to ensure that pets, luggage or other objects are properly secured as unrestrained objects can quickly become projectiles and cause injury to other occupants.
5. Avoid distracted driving
It goes without saying that texting or talking on a mobile phone while driving is a big no-no. However, other forms of distractions while driving including adjusting the car radio, checking maps, attending to children and eating or drinking can be just as dangerous.
Make sure kids are well prepared with activities and everything they need before driving, pre-set your car radio and GPS system and when driving, keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Do you have anything to add to this list? SHARE with us in the comments below.