Elvira Lazar, RACV’s senior policy adviser on safety, says drivers should plan rest stops and avoid fatigue on long journeys.
“It’s important to be well rested, and not to drive during times when you would normally be asleep,” Elvira says. “It’s also good to plan rest stops and take breaks every two hours on long trips.”
She says drivers should allow plenty of time to enjoy the trip and avoid rushing to their destination, and consider what time of day you’ll be driving. The most dangerous times on the road are dawn and dusk because of lower visibility and an increased likelihood of encountering wildlife.
If there are children along for the ride, pack a variety of road-trip games and activities to prevent driver distractions. While a road trip gives you the chance to listen to music, audio books and podcasts, avoid anything soporific and choose something lively to help you stay alert.
Pack your own hand wash and sanitiser, along with disinfectant wipes. Your car’s first aid kit might also include disposable face masks and gloves.
Keep an eye on the Victorian government’s daily COVID-19 update in case there are any regional outbreaks and for news on restrictions.
It’s a good idea to let a relative or someone trustworthy know where you’re going and when you expect to return. But don’t brag about the trip on social media while you’re away – burglars love the intel.
The anticipation of a fabulous meal in regional Victoria can be half the fun of a road trip. But Paul Gover warns against eating big meals during the trip.
“Whatever you do, don’t eat too much when you’re driving,” he says. “If you have a big meal, all of your blood flow goes to digesting the food rather than to your brain, so you’ll end up needing a nap, just like after Christmas lunch.
“On road trips, it’s always better to eat little and often. Save the big meal for when you’re staying the night.”
Most importantly, pack your portable cooler, and make sure you whack in some ice packs to keep your food haul cool. Or invest in a car refrigerator that plugs into your vehicle’s 12-volt outlet.
Factor in free time on a road trip, so you can pull over and stock up at farm gates, bakeries and wineries that are open along the way.