Driving on long journeys
With summer just around the bend, holidays and day trips are beginning to fill up the calendars of kiwis across the country, and with that comes busier roads and often, longer travel.
If you’re heading away, make sure you’re well prepared for the long road ahead by following our guide for safe driving on long journeys.
Ensure your car’s up to scratch
Keeping your car regularly serviced and checking the basics before you hit the road can help save you a lot of drama.
Checking your water, oil and tyre pressure can help you avoid the most common causes of breakdowns. Even ensuring your windscreen wiper water levels are high enough can make a difference to the safety of your journey – after all, you never know when you might have to take a dusty road and clean off your windscreen on the go!
Plan your route
Knowing the most direct and main routes to your destination doesn’t just save you time, but can make your journey safer by helping you avoid wrong turns onto dangerous backroads. Apps like Google Maps and iPhone maps can help you work out where you need to go, and as they work off your phone’s GPS location, if you set your course before you take off, they can be referred back to throughout your journey. Just remember, if you’re using your phone you need to pull over first.
Plan your stops
Knowing where you’re going and via which towns also presents an awesome opportunity to pick some cool spots to stop along the way.
Not only a great way to see more of the country, taking regular stops also helps you avoid driver fatigue.
On that, driver fatigue is a serious risk of long travel, and even the most experienced drivers can find themselves feeling weary at the wheel. To avoid it, take regular breaks, stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep the night before a big journey and if you can, share the driving duties with friends or family to ensure you’re not overdoing it.
Drive to the conditions
New Zealand weather is known for its extremes. Even in summer your journey across the country could take you from blaring hot spots, to areas of intense downpours all in one day, so it’s important you drive to the conditions and reduce your speed if you need to.
Oldies will remember McDonald’s and the NZ Police’s Make it Click ad. And while you may have never seen it and the ad looks fairly ancient now, the message is as relevant (and catchy) today as it was back then – if you’re taking off in a car you and all your passengers must wear a seatbelt, because while no one wants to think about the worst case scenario, if a crash does happen, a seatbelt can be the difference between life and death.
For more tips on driving to the conditions, check out this article.