The scent of spiced buns has taunted us since Christmas ended and the shopping aisles filled with Easter treats, and now the extra long weekend is finally upon us. Will you be going away with friends and family?
Australians have a love affair with the Easter family holiday but unfortunately, with all that extra traffic on our roads and long drive times the risk of having an accident can increase. Research shows that driver fatigue is more likely to be a contributing factor in some crashes which have involved long trips, long periods of non-stop driving, and overnight travel.
We want you to stay safe over the break, so here are some tips to help you stay alert, well rested, and in control of your vehicle.
But first, what are the signs of fatigue?
It’s not rocket science, folks, fatigue is easy to detect. These warning signs are screaming at you it’s time to take a break, because you’re on your way to Sleepdust City:
- sore or heavy eyes
- slower reaction times
- finding you’re daydreaming and not concentrating on your driving
- driving speed creeps up or down
- impaired driving performance such as poor gear changes
- stiffness and cramps
- loss of motivation
So, what can you do to better prepare for your time behind the wheel?
5 Tips to help you drive safely during the holidays
1. Service the car
This isn’t just about having enough oil. Assess the condition of your tyres (and confirm there’s a spare!), brakes and lights to ensure your car’s overall condition is sound and up for the task. It’s wise to get a basic service and tyre check from your local mechanic for added peace of mind.
2. Plan your route
When we hit the roads, we like to plan our trip times to avoid traffic. Because who likes starting or ending their holiday bumper-to-bumper on the highway? Not us! So leaving Thursday night after work will likely lead to long delays and congestion because everyone had the same idea.
Other ways you can plan your trip would be to plan your overnight stops before you leave, make enough time for rest stops, and don’t drive for longer than 6-8 hours.
3. Make use of the rest centres
Did someone say free coffee? Sure, it might not always be a barista blend, but these rest stations offer a good excuse to pull over, stretch the legs, and grab a fresh brew to perk up for the next leg. Try to pull over for a break every two hours.
4. Drive to conditions
Chill out, you’re on holiday which means you don’t need to rush. Unfortunately, congestion and delays can put you behind schedule which may encourage you to ‘make up for lost time’. Just be cool. Be patient. We all have somewhere we’d like to be.
5. Alternate drivers
Hopefully, you’re not on a days-long tour of Australia driving solo. It is Easter after all, so having a co-pilot for your trip ensures you can share the driving load. It’s sensible to switch drivers every few hours, and especially when you notice yourself starting to feel drowsy. Time for a powernap – pronto!
Holidays aren’t the most enjoyable time for driving because you’re sharing the road with the rest of Australia. What’s important is that you make it to your destination safely, so prepare for your trip, plan your rest breaks, and remain patient while behind the wheel. Enjoy the break!