Top tips if you're planning a road trip

16 Sep 15

The great Aussie road trip is a venerable tradition that nearly every family will have experienced at some point. From the jigsaw puzzle of trying to load up the boot with everything but the kitchen sink, to rock-paper-scissoring your way out of the first shift behind the wheel, there's a certain air of anticipation about hitting the road on an adventure. 

But as any road warrior will know, the smoothest voyages tend to be the ones with a good amount of solid planning behind them. As romantic as it sounds, driving off into the sunset without a care can lose its charm when you're out in the middle of nowhere and you're out of food and petrol. 

So to help you ensure that your next road trip is a roaring success, stock up with these motoring essentials and read on for these top tips.  

1. Make sure your car can handle the trip 

"She'll be right" is a noble philosophy for many a situation, but it's not going to be sufficient for a lengthy period trip. 

If your vehicle's road-worthy certification is nearing its expiry date, get it sorted before you go - finding somewhere to get an inspection done is the last thing you need away from home. 

2. Choose your weapon 

Are you heading off road? Think twice about what car you'll be taking, because getting stranded in the outback is not something anyone wants. You may want to consider a car with a higher suspension to safely clear any unexpected rocks, or better yet, a four-wheel drive to provide more traction.

If you're planning on making the mighty road trip a regular event, think carefully about the type of car you're keeping in the garage. Reliability is key, so you'll want to check out the CarHistory report of a used car before you buy.

3. Plan your breaks

You may have heard this one before, but it's vital to do this in advance. Fatigue is a huge risk, especially for those driving long distances - the Transport Accident Commission estimates that it is a contributing factor to 20 per cent of crashes1

When we are tired, our reaction time and decision-making skills can be impaired. According to Sleep Disorders Australia, getting behind the wheel after being awake for 17 hours is the equivalent of driving with 0.05 per cent blood alcohol. Furthermore, the effect is doubled once you've spent 24 hours without sleep2.

Determine where you'll take your rest break before you go, so even if your mobile internet or GPS cuts out on the road, you'll know where to pull over and refuel yourself and the car. 

1Transport Accident Commission, Fatigue statistics. Accessed August, 2015. 

2Sleep Disorders Australia, Drowsy driving. Accessed August, 2015.