25 March 2024 · Driving Hints & Tips

Ready, Set, Road: Essential Pre-Road Trip Safety Tips

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The best long weekends are safe ones.

Who doesn’t love a long weekend?

Forget the airport ques, flight delays and misplaced luggage – all the ideal long weekend getaways are right here in Oz, and all reachable by car. Whether you plan to cruise along the coast, or head up north to visit the grandparents, the long weekend is the perfect opportunity for a road trip.

But with the increased number of vehicles on the road, the probability of an avoidable accident occurring also increases.  

Being prepared and taking preventative measures can be what determines how successful (and safe) your road trip is this Easter long weekend. From a quick vehicle inspection, to carefully planning your route, let’s revisit some essential pre-trip road safety prep before your journey.

Your Vehicle Checkup

A pre-trip vehicle inspection is the best way to catch and address any potential mechanical issues that could disrupt your trip, or even compromise you or your passenger’s safety. Drivers should examine the state of their vehicles fluids (that includes engine oil and coolant), as well as the functionality of parts such as brakes, headlights, indicators, and wiper blades that are key to ensuring optimal visibility, swift responsiveness, and a peace of mind during your journey.

If you’re moving between states with different climates, tyre pressure and tread depth can influence your vehicle’s performance and handling. Drivers should therefore pay close attention to the state of their tyres – ensuring they are well inflated and don’t show any signs of damage (be sure to check that spare tyre too!)

Confirm any load carried on the roof of the vehicle is tightly secured, to prevent them falling or shifting while driving. When utilising sturdy straps to firmly anchor your cargo, consider elements like weight distribution to maintain balance and stability across your vehicle.

If you're considering taking your Hino truck on the road, make sure its service schedule is up to date, and any outstanding issues are addressed before you leave. Book your truck in for a Hino Genuine Service from one of our authorised Hino Service Centres to assure your truck is well maintained and safe.

Mapping Your Journey

Anticipate road trip hiccups before they spoil the fun by planning your route before you leave. Whether you’re equipped with the modern GPS, or going more traditional with a printed map, it’s a good idea to research your route as mid-journey changes are likely to create confusion and anxiety.

Consider the duration of your travel, as well as any potential stops you may make along the way such as petrol top ups, accommodation, or points of interest to enhance your travel experience. Fatigue related accidents are a frequent concern in Australia, accounting for around 20% of road deaths in NSW.  As the RTA promotes, ‘stop, revive and survive’. Drivers should therefore plan to visit rest stops every 2 hours and not drive for more than 8–10 hours per day.

Research the road conditions along your route, taking note of any construction or detours that may impact your journey. Anticipating any diversions or potential traffic congestion will allow you to plan alternate routes or even adjust your departure time. 

Finally, remember to give yourself plenty of time to cruise to your destination comfortably, and avoid driving at dawn and dusk, when animals are most active. 

Forecasting Your Travel

Having a quick check of the weather forecast will help you to anticipate potentially hazardous conditions that may affect safe navigation, such as fog, heavy rain, glare or darkness. Being aware of these conditions will allow you to adjust your plans if necessary and avoid areas prone to severe weather. Check your weather apps or visit government websites for active incidents and guidance.

Also factor in the weather conditions for destination – for instance, some national parks or other popular sites have seasonal availability or may close due to weather circumstances.  Having a backup plan ensures that you have options for finding shelter or seeking an alternative destination.

Now you’re road ready! By keeping these safety tips in mind, you're not only protecting yourself and your loved ones, but also ensuring a smoother and more pleasant travel experience.

Stay safe, stay prepared, and enjoy Australia’s open roads!