Trip Planning

There’s a good reason so many classic movies and books include road trips as major themes – there’s nothing like loading the car with snacks and surfboards, and heading out to explore.

But as your school teacher probably told you 1000 times, failing to plan is planning to fail, and neglecting to plan a trip is setting yourself up for a whole lot of drama, that could at best ruin your trip, at worst put you and everyone else in the car in danger.
Here’s go to make a trip go more smoothly:

Work out the route you will take, and approximate time on the road so you can pick the best places to stop for a rest (every two hours for at least 15 to 20 minutes is recommended). Take into account delays for heavy traffic, especially if you will be travelling in peak hours or over a holiday weekend. If possible, arrange to share the driving, and make sure you good a full night’s sleep the night before. Avoid travelling at times when you would usually be sleeping.

Breaking down is a hassle at any time, but increases in frustration the further you are away from home. Check the basics before you leave including tyres, lights, windscreen wipers, petrol, oil and all other fluid levels.

Lay some ground rules with passengers – make it clear that all passengers will need to use their seatbelts and discuss how they can help reduce distractions like music, chatter and anything else that makes it harder for the driver to concentrate fully on the road.  See if any of them will be willing to share driving and decide on a schedule.

Pack the car carefully, making sure everything is secured. Loose items can become projectiles if you have to jam the brakes on suddenly.  Check our our article on packing safely for a road trip.

Switch your phone to Do Not Disturb While Driving and make sure it is well out of temptation’s way.  Avoid any alcohol, watch your speed, drive to the conditions, and take plenty of breaks.  Take a power nap if needed.

How to – take a powernap
The risks associated with driving while tired are well-documented. Ideally you wouldn’t even leave home unless you’d had a full night’s rest the night before, and wouldn’t be on the road at a time you’d usually be sleeping. But if you do feel drowsy while you’re driving, sleep experts recommend you pull over and park somewhere safe and take a 15-20-minute nap. It’s important to set an alarm as sleeping any longer could leave you feeling groggy when you wake. Have a brisk walk-around in some fresh air before getting back on the road.

Our partner, Bridgestone has put together a list of top tips for road trips.  Check it out here


Takeaway tips

  • Staying safe on a trip requires careful planning
  • Plan your route and make sure your car is ready for a long journey before you leave home
  • Avoid distractions; make sure your phone is on Do Not Disturb While Driving and discuss behaviour expectations with your passenger
  • Trip planning isn’t just for long trips – all of these tips will help keep you safe on any journey