Blog post Easter 2018: Holiday travel tips and general advice.
Easter is much like a second Christmas break for many of us: religious associations aside, it’s the line-up of Good Friday and Easter Monday bookending the weekend, along with the Victorian school holidays starting, that sends a lot of people out of town for a decent four-or-more day break. Unfortunately, just like the Victorian Xmas work and school break, Easter is one of the worst times on our roads for accidents, demerit point penalties, licence losses, and for peak-time holiday destination road-traffic gridlock. With many of us planning to get away for the Easter long weekend, it’s an important time to think of watching for pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users who may be distracted about road safety. And of course there are times, especially highlighted over holiday seasons, when leaving the car and taking a taxi home really is the most sensible option: Be aware of how long it takes for alcohol to leave your body (and never drive under the influence of alcohol, medication or drugs). Holiday-driving conditions are very different to the standard commute to work. For this reason, they deserve extra attention and thought.
The key to avoiding these pitfalls and staying safe on the road is all in the preparation. Prepare for a safe long Easter weekend and the start of Victorian school first-term holidays by reviewing some helpful tips below for safe holiday and vacation destination driving,
Plan your time, plan your route: Plan your route and communicate these plans with family or friends; the Easter pre-holiday Thursday exodus can be chaotic, with the usual gridlock of home-going workers doubled up with families and friends trying to sneak off for the long weekend. You can often be better off to leave later on the Thursday, after the peak-hour flow, or maybe first thing Good Friday morning, than adding to the gridlock and getting the angry mist of road rage in Easter Thursday peak-hour rush. Part of the added adventure can be taking the scenic route, or taking roads that get you away from the highways, and the busy traffic. Provided you aren’t in the peak-hour times, going via the old roads can be far more enjoyable, and you can indulge in some great turns, good food and stunning views in the rest areas: plus along the way remembering to keep a safe driving distance: always leave a 3-5 second gap between you and the car in front. This will give you more time to stop and is especially important on busy or wet roads.
Traffic Apps : OF COURSE, THESE SHOULD BE IN THE HANDS OF YOUR PASSENGER – EVEN IN A CRADLE, USING APPS LIKE THESE CAN BE TOO DISTRACTING FOR A DRIVER WHILE THE VEHICLE IS IN MOTION. Check out and download some live traffic apps, or update your car’s navigation system, and review your route before you go. Live updating navigation like Google Maps can track your route and find alternate ways around road blocks and traffic on demand, while downloadable apps provide congestion information overlaid on live time maps, letting you know if your gridlocked road frees up around the next corner, or whether you should take the next exit and find another way around. These apps usually can offer live camera feeds, speed camera locations and major roadworks as well.
Driver reviver, rest areas and stopovers: you should stop and stretch for at least 10 or 20 minutes every two hours; so when you plan your route, plan your rest stop. Each holiday season, up to an estimated 200 Driver Reviver Sites can be found on major roadways across Australia. Run by volunteers and sponsored by tea and biscuit companies, the Driver Reviver sites aim to reduce fatigue by serving up free tea, coffee and a bicky at the roadside rest stop. Plan breaks for your passengers too, as they can become distracting when they are bored or restless. At the first sign of tiredness, agitation, road rage or yawning, stop and change drivers, leaving at least a 20-minute break: if possible, have a second or third driver to share the driving: and schedule breaks for each driver assisting you in the journey. Rest areas have improved immensely over the past decade, and there are some particularly pretty stops with clean facilities that can be found along major routes. And of course, there are fabulous cafes and hidden oasis’s and gems in most towns, so be sure to get off the highway and get your traditional scones, damper and jams from the country cafe or big burger with the lot at the truck stops.
Driving at night or towing a load: Both driving at night and towing a load can be quite stressful and tiring for any driver, even if you don’t realise it. You need a bigger braking gap in both instances, and constant checking in mirrors or peering into the darkness can speed up fatigue and eye tiredness. Be sure to take more breaks, even take a powernap opportunity at a roadside rest area when safe to do so, and factor this into the timing and planning of your trip.
Check your vehicle to make sure it’s safe, plus in roadworthy condition with good safe suspension, brakes and tyres; and mechanically sound for the trip ahead: it is worth ensuring your vehicle’s servicing regime is up to date with your accredited VACC authorised mechanic. There is nothing worse than a breakdown on holiday, particularly over Easter when many local businesses close for the break (or those still open along your holiday tourist routes have a captive audience to charge top dollar to get you back on the road again to your hometown). Be sure to have your car serviced early with an accredited VACC mechanic if it’s coming up due, and at the very least, check your car’s fluids and tyres; including your spare! (Do you know how to change your spare tyre?) Is your RACV roadside assistance and insurance paid up and current? Do you know and have a copy of your membership numbers in your wallet or car’s glove-box?
Don’t be a statistic: Over the past decade, there has been an average of 25 fatalities on our roads during the Easter period; with police naming alcohol, driver behaviour, not wearing seatbelts and inattention as contributing factors in nearly each death.
Your Pets and Animals: If you aren’t taking your beloved furry or fluffy /pet family with you, be sure that someone you trust is aware that they are home and can access and care for them. Even if you are just tripping away from home overnight and leaving food out, you must let someone you trust know about your holiday plans. If you are involved in an accident or mishap, your animals can be looked after and attended to in your absence.
Please, drive safely – and enjoy your Easter holiday break 2018: from Tim, and the team at DABAS!
We hope you have found this blog page helpful in your Easter holiday planning.
At DABAS we know that buying a car can be one of the biggest purchases in your life. We look forward to having a chat when the need arises to assess your personal car safety requirements and buying needs available to suit you; your holiday travels plus lifestyle . . . and you’re budget.