Advice on Planning the Road Trip
Road Safety and Planning the Road Trip
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.