Top Tips to Stay Safe on the Roads
Driving at different times of the year can be challenging. Summer and long weekends bring increased levels of traffic on the roads, bad weather in winter can cause issues for drivers and that’s not even mentioning the delays and stress that road works can bring.
Here are our top road safety tips to keep you and your family safe when you hit the road.
Safety starts with your car
Ensuring your safety on the roads should start with your car. For long trips, ensure your car has had a recent service, otherwise make sure you regularly check things like:
- Tyres are in good condition and at the right pressure including your spare tyre,
- Fluid levels are topped up, including your brake fluid, coolant, oil and power steering fluid,
- Oil levels are topped up, especially on long trips in hot weather so that your engine is properly lubricated,
- All lights are working,
- Windscreen wipers are in good condition and the washer bottle is full too,
- Battery is clean, connections are secure and that you are carrying jumper leads,
Carrying a first aid kit in your car is also a good idea for any unexpected injuries or health issues.
Driving when tired can be deadly, and driving on only a few hours of sleep has a similar effect on your reactions to driving after more than two standard drinksStop every two hours, and make sure to take a proper break to revitalise.
Share the driving
If you’re travelling with more than one licensed driver, then it’s a good idea to take turns. This will give everyone a chance to rest and recharge, and help reduce tiredness while you are driving. Besides, it’s nice to enjoy the scenery too!
Prepare for the driving conditions
Driving at night, country driving or congested city driving all include different driving conditions that you need to be prepared for:
- Driving at night is best advised to avoid if possible. The possibility of road accidents increases, due to visibility issues, fatigue, wildlife and other drivers that may have been drinking alcohol. If you are travelling at night and your car breaks down, ensure that you put your hazard lights on so that you’re visible to oncoming traffic.
- Country driving usually means longer distance driving, higher speed limits, narrow roads, slow or long vehicles and wildlife. Stick to speed limits, take time to overtake, be alert and take regular breaks, share the driving and avoid driving at dusk and dawn when it is most likely the wildlife (specifically Kangaroos) will also be on the road,
- City driving may include more congestion, so plan in advance to leave plenty of time for arrival, ensure you stay patient, calm and polite on the roads, and for new city driving, do your research on any new driving conditions you may encounter.
Take extra precautions in bad weather
Watch out for unpredictable weather and plan accordingly. Northern Australia can experience cyclones and flooding, and southern Australia has unfortunately played victim to some large bush fires.
Keep abreast of the news and listen to local radio on your journey to keep up-to-date on any changes to the conditions ahead of you.
Driving in wet weather increases your chance of being in an accident, so make sure you double the space between you and the vehicle in front of you and slow down to avoid skidding. Drive to the conditions and use your headlights on low beam to help others on the road see your car.
Driver distraction is an increased area of concern on the roads. Avoid all behaviour that can distract you while driving, including mobile phone use, grooming, eating and drinking and being distracted by other passengers.
As children can be a big distraction, especially while driving on longer trips, ensure you keep them occupied. Bring along plenty of activities, games, books or even strap a tablet to the back of the seat to let them watch their favourite cartoons.
Check your insurance is up to date
Review your policy, and make sure you’re covered for the trip ahead – especially if you’re driving long distances. If you are planning to share the driving, make sure all drivers are covered by your insurance.
Department of Transport and Main Roads, Road Safety and Vehicle Maintenance for Long Trips, October 2018 – https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/holiday-travel/long-trips
QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads – Driving tired – https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Driver-guide/Driving-safely/Driving-tired
Transport for NSW, Bad Weather – https://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/drivers/badweather/index.html
Insurance and Membership Services Limited, ABN 59 057 159 743 AR Number 246235 trading as COTA Insurance arranges this insurance as agent for the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL No. 234708. We do not provide any advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision, please consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available from www.cota.com.au. If you purchase this insurance, we will receive a commission that is a percentage of the premium. paid for each policy ranging from 0.3% to 30%. Allianz also pays us a percentage of the profit which exceeds the agreed profit threshold for Home (excluding flood), Landlord (excluding flood), Motor and Caravan and Trailer policies arranged by us or renewed with Allianz in each calendar year, provided that the agreed premium threshold is met for these products. Additionally, we receive a marketing allowance from Allianz every 2 months, which is a percentage of the total premium earned on these policies in the previous 2 months. Ask us for more details before we provide you with services. As stated by the QLD Department of Transport and Main Roads in the article Driving Tired https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Driver-guide/Driving-safely/Driving-tired