Advice on Planning the Road Trip

Road Safety and Planning the Road Trip 

Before leaving...

  • Work or virtually any activity increases the likelihood of fatigue.
  • Start any trip by getting enough sleep the night before - at least six hours is recommended.
  • Emotional stress or illness can also cause fatigue.
  • Plan your route, refuelling, rests and overnight stops.
  • Check your car's roadworthiness. Headlights, indicators, stop lights, tail-lights, windscreen wiper blades, mirrors, brakes, steering, tyres, tyre pressures, exhaust system and possible oil or fuel leaks.
  • Check coolant, fluids and oil levels.
  • Check that the spare wheel is in good condition and properly inflated. Make sure that you have a serviceable jack and wheel brace.
  • Ensure any luggage or cargo is put in the boot or secured in the vehicle.
  • Never transport flammable liquid in the vehicle. Plan your refuelling stops.

While travelling...

  • Take a 15-minute break at least every 2 hours.
  • Prevent sun glare and eye fatigue by wearing good quality sunglasses.
  • Avoid eating heavy foods.
  • Do not consume any alcohol during your trip.
  • An overheated or very cold vehicle can compound the fatigue effects.
  • If you can, have another person ride with you, so you will have someone to talk to and who can share the driving.
  • Make sure that you rest when you are not driving.
  • Avoid driving during your body's downtime (1 am – 5 am).
  • Boredom can also cause fatigue. Music / radio / conversation is helpful.
  • Always use your seat belts.
  • Keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you.
  • Drive according to the road conditions.
  • Reduce speed when it is raining or the road is wet.
  • Adhere to speed limits.
  • Use low beam headlights (never drive with parking lights) between sunset and sunrise as well as in overcast or misty weather conditions.
  • Look out for these signs when you are driving:
  • you keep yawning
  • your reactions slow down
  • you feel stiff your eyes feel heavy
  • you find you are daydreaming
  • you wander over the centre line or on to the edge of the road
  • If you notice any of these danger signs, stop for a rest. If needed, a quick nap - even 20 minutes will help. During your break, get some exercise - it helps you become more alert quickly.

Rest stop precautions...

  • Stop at a roadside rest area. If no such facility is available, make sure that you are as far off the highway as possible.
  • If it is after dark, find a lighted area to park.
  • Give yourself a little outside air, but make sure that windows are closed enough to prevent entry from the outside.
  • Lock all doors.
  • Turn on your parking lights and turn off other electrical equipment.
  • After you rest, get out of the vehicle and walk for a few minutes to be sure you are completely awake before you begin to drive again.

When parked...

  • Keep your car locked when unattended.
  • Don't leave valuables inside the car where they can be seen by passers-by. Lock such items in the boot.
  • Be especially careful when loading or unloading the boot that keys are not locked inside the car.

Also view:

Road Safety Tips 24/7

Defensive Driving and Making Roads Safer

Rest stop precautions...