Prepare your vehicle for long trips
Simple vehicle maintenance such as ensuring tyres were properly pumped up and checking for tools and the condition of the spare tyre could help prevent and manage blowouts, RAC executive manager member advocacy David Moir said.
“If it’s a car they have normally been tootling around town in and not getting up much speed, and then it’s with a full load, perhaps travelling at 110kmh and the tyres not pumped up properly, they can have a blowout, which can be really dangerous, ” he said.
“Make sure you have got a spare tyre and it’s pumped up and you have the jack and the tools.”
It was best to head off early in the day when the driver was fresh and there was good light, Mr Moir said.
It was often one of their first big trips solo as a driver and both the driver and the car had to be in the best condition for that.
During the trip, drivers should not get distracted by talking or texting on their mobile phone.
“They are going to have at least one if not three or four mobile phones in the car and they are all going to be phoning and texting each other,” Mr Moir said. “It’s important that the driver doesn’t get sucked into all that.”
•Car maintenance: Have the car checked by a qualified mechanic regularly.
•Before your trip: Check petrol, oil, water levels, electrics (lights and indicators) and tyres.
•Discuss plans: Leave contact details in case of an emergency.
•Seat belts: The driver and passengers risk a $500 fine if not all are buckled.
•Keep left: Unless overtaking and if so, ensure the road is clear.
•Speeding: Drive within the speed limits at all times but slow further if the driver is unfamiliar with or unsure of the road.
•Maintain the gap: Allow at least a two-second gap between your car and the one in front, or more in bad weather. If another car overtakes you, allow them room to pull in.
•Do not use a mobile phone: Never use a hand-held mobile while driving. Use a hands-free if you must take a call.
•Never drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Instead, use public transport or nominate a non-drinker to drive. Police now do random roadside drug and alcohol testing.
•Night driving: Slow down and watch for wildlife crossing the road.
•Fatigue: Get a good night’s sleep before driving and don’t drive if tired or stressed. Take regular breaks and watch for symptoms of fatigue which may include sore or tired eyes, discomfort, boredom or highway hypnosis.
Source: Royal Automobile Club of WA
© The West Australian
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