You’ve packed the car with plenty of snacks and soft drinks in preparation for the long drive ahead. But as well as your appetite there are a few more important things you should take care of before you head off.
Before you go
Before heading out onto the highway, it is a good idea to prepare both yourself and your car. To help you do this, Geared gives you a few handy tips.
- Oil check
Make sure your oil is topped up or even better, change your oil and other lubricants (transmission fluid etc).
- Keep your cool
Check your coolant. Again, it’s even better if you drain it and fill it up with fresh stuff.
- Deal with pressure
Check your tyre pressure. For highway travelling it’s a good idea that you inflate your tyres to around 4 psi above the recommended maximum (especially if your car is fully loaded).
- Cover yourself
It’s a good time to think about getting covered for roadside assistance. The cost of a membership is nothing compared with the towing and repair costs (particularly in out-of-the-way-spots).
- Map it out
You should plan your trip before you leave, this includes the number and location of Driver Reviver sites, rest areas and petrol stations there are along the way. You can also find out if there are any traffic incidents on the Live traffic website.
- Stay alert
Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. Travel at a reasonable time of the day, when you wouldn’t normally be asleep. If you leave early in the morning or late at night you’re much more likely to doze off or have a microsleep.
On the road
When you’re out on the road the most important thing to remember is your safety and the safety of others. So take these safety tips on board.
- Take a break
Pull over and take a break if you notice any signs of driver fatigue, including yawning, poor concentration, tired eyes and restlessness. Did you know that during a 4 second microsleep a car travelling at 100 km/h will travel 111 metres while completely out of the driver’s control. Seriously scary. So if you start to see any of these warning signs make sure you pull over as soon as it’s safe to.
Driver Reviver sites operate during holiday periods. Check out the Geared Driver Reviver page for more information.
If there are no Driver Reviver sites listed along the roads you are travelling on you can use petrol stations or rest areas to take a break.
To help you out, the Centre for Road Safety has information on driver fatigue including rest area locations, travel times and tips for avoiding fatigue.
- Sharing is caring
Mix up the drive by swapping drivers after taking a break. Make sure the people sharing the drive hold either a P1, P2 or full licence and not a Learner licence.
Make sure you don’t let friends or your phone distract you from driving. Your best bet is to turn your phone off while you drive. Stay alert and try not to let things divert your attention away from driving.
- Most importantly stick to the speed limit and have a safe trip.