Neighbour Hood Support

Holiday Driving Tips

Holiday driving doesn't have to be stressful or dangerous. Plan, prepare and pack ahead of time.

Take a roadmap and the phone numbers of people you may need to call if delayed.

Make sure your vehicle is in roadworthy condition and up to the journey. Check or have a garage check your vehicle at least a week before in case repairs are needed. Many garages offer safety checks for tyre tread and pressure, lights, brakes, cooling systems and other components. You should also check that your spare tyre is properly inflated and your lift jack and car tools are there in case they are needed.

Check your torch batteries are bright and the contents of your first aid kit are complete.

It is a good idea to keep a spare key inside your wallet in case you get locked out.

Don't be in a hurry. Speeding and driver fatigue cause accidents. Allow plenty of time for your journey and for rest breaks and delays along the way. Be prepared to enjoy the journey, however long it takes. Your holiday fun will start earlier and you will arrive in a happier state of mind.

Unless you can leave early and have allowed extra time, avoid leaving on the last workday before a holiday when you know the roads will be congested.

Determine to be courteous and remain calm, even if provoked by other drivers' behaviour.

Maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front. Use your indicators.

Keep left unless passing and pull over to let others pass you.

If you need to pass a slower vehicle, wait for a passing lane or until you can see clear road ahead of you and enough space to overtake safely. Remember not to cut in too closely, especially in front of larger vehicles that take a longer time to brake and could end up hitting you from behind.

Don't let a speeding ticket mar your holiday. Buckle up with a seat belt and use approved child seats for restraining children. There is a $150 fine for each person not buckled up.

Do not allow distractions such as eating, drinking and passenger / telephone conversations to interfere with the primary task of driving.

You can avoid driver fatigue and stay alert by:

  • having a good sleep before your journey
  • driving at times of the day when you are normally awake
  • taking a rest break every two hours or less and stretching or exercising
  • drinking fluids regularly, especially while driving in summer conditions
  • taking a short nap if you feel tired
  • sharing the driving
  • keeping the air vents open or using your air conditioning in the fresh or outside air mode

When packing your vehicle, make sure everything is securely stowed. Even small objects can become dangerous missiles in the event of a sudden stop or a crash.

Never leave children unattended in a vehicle, even for a few moments.

Trailers and Caravans
Check the roadworthiness and operation of the trailer - tyre pressures, lights, brakes if fitted etc. Check the compatibility, fit and operation of the trailer coupling to tow ball and all other towing attachments. Obtain a new warrant of fitness if is expired or will expire while you are away.

If you are towing a trailer or caravan, stay within the towing and laden weight recommendations for your vehicle and trailer. Loads must be securely fastened.

Load heavy objects evenly over the axles and keep the weight slightly towards the front and over the tow bar. The trailer draw bar should be level or slightly nose down on the tow bar.

Vehicles take longer to stop when towing. Allow extra following distance for stopping when towing.

The maximum towing speed limit on the open road is 90 km/h. Keep left and pull over when it is safe to let other vehicles pass.

Read the Land Transport Safety Authority guidelines for towing.

Look out for children, bicycles and learner drivers
Children may have learnt to cross the road on their way to school but are likely to be inattentive and excited during the holidays.

Children are not able to predict vehicle speed or judge when to cross the road as well as adults can.

Some children may be learning to ride a new bicycle and have poor control of it or forget to look or signal their intention to turn.

The holidays are also a popular time for young people to learn to drive and extra consideration should be shown for their inexperience.

Keep your shopping hidden away from thieves

Lock your vehicle at all times. Would-be thieves are always looking for opportunities to steal.

Park in busy, well-lit areas.

Be aware of the potential for robbery in lonely isolated parking areas.

After shopping, always store packages out of sight.

Never put parcels on the back window "shelf", as they interfere with visibility and can become dangerous flying objects during an emergency stop.

Download this fact sheet as a PDF (181 kB)

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