Whether you’re exploring a new destination or visiting your regular getaway, you need to prepare before hitting the road. Here are some tips for staying safe on your road trip.

Give me the main points

  • Being prepared for an emergency is just the beginning of your trip.
  • Get your car ready before you get going
  • It’s time to leave, so make sure you don’t forget anything.
  • Fun things to do during the drive.

These tips can reduce the risk of a roadside mishap and take the stress out of your holiday drive.

1. In case of an emergency

Consider roadside assistance

They’ll come wherever you’re broken down in Australia. Plus you may also receive discounts on accommodation, car hire and much more.

Indeed, this may be the best annual subscription you’ll buy.

Bring along a first aid kit

Bandages, disposable gloves, towels and other basic medical supplies can help if someone is injured or becomes ill.

Remember a car sickness remedy

Some people use their phones in the car and are fine, while others turn a shade of green when doing nothing at all. Medicine Wise has some handy tips on preventing motion sickness.

2. Before you go

Maintain your car

Make sure you check your oil, top-up the water for your windscreen wipers and take a look at your spare tyre. This article on Cost saving tips for running your car outlines the benefits of regular car maintenance.

Bring along your GPS/atlas

Whether it’s a new GPS on your dashboard or a street directory, a map can be handy when heading somewhere new. And these days most mobile phones have maps too. But the only problem is if you lose mobile service, you’ll also lose the map (so this is when the old street directory comes in handy). Another alternative is to download offline maps onto your phone which you can use even if you lose coverage.

Make the car child-friendly

Children need entertaining so bringing along a selection of toys, colouring books and movies is a great idea. On any trip, managing children from the front seat can be challenging, so consider using an over the door organiser to place behind the front car seats. The organiser can be filled with crayons, DVDs, books etc. which children can easily access.

3. The day of your road trip

Wear comfy clothes

Be sensible not fashionable. Now’s the time to take out your old trackies or those hippie pants. Nothing’s worse than driving for hours uncomfortably.

Store food properly

Most people like to feast during a road trip. So make sure foods with fresh ingredients are stored at the right temperature. For instance, place fresh sandwiches and cut fruit and vegetables into an esky with ice. This minimises spoilage and possible food poisoning.

4. While on the road

Share the driving

Take regular rest breaks if possible and use this opportunity to swap drivers. You’ll both stay refreshed and alert.

Keep it fun with games

Whether you have kids or not, keep yourself awake with entertainment. Play word games, 'I Spy' and read books. Also, don’t forget to bust out your favourite tunes so you can sing along. Old standards from Johnny Farnham are perfect road trip fare.

Other useful tips

With all the holiday excitement it’s easy to forget things. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Remember to bring your driver’s licence.
  2. If you’re taking prescription medicine, read the warning label. Some medicines are unsuitable when driving due to drowsiness.
  3. Remember a pillow and blanket just in case you want to nap during your rest break.
  4. And in case you have a bingle, don’t forget a pen and paper to get the other driver's details and use your smartphone to take photos.

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