5 tips for road trip success

side view mirror of car driving through a forest

Alice PIper

Posted November 16, 2021

The ‘must do’ safety checks before you head on a road trip this summer. 

Picture this: You’ve planned out your travel route, packed your bags, loaded the car and are off on that long-awaited road trip – and boy, doesn’t it feel good to hit the road? 

With Victorians keen to visit amazing local destinations in increasing numbers, the summer of 2021/2022 is shaping up to be one of the busiest on our roads yet - which makes car safety even more important as driving skills may have deteriorated over lockdown.

RACV Training Manager for Auto Services, Peter Smith says you can never be too careful when it comes to vehicle safety, especially before embarking on a road trip after months of lockdown.  

“Incidents and breakdowns on the road happen more often than you think. Last summer, RACV patrols attended over 200,000 emergency roadside callouts.”

“Of course, having a Comprehensive Car Insurance policy and Emergency Roadside Assistance in place is critical before heading off, but also ensuring your car is in safe working order can give you additional confidence and comfort on the road,” he adds. 

So, before you take off on your road trip this summer, ensure your car is safe by doing these crucial five safety checks.  

Road trip safety check list

Service your car and check your tyres

Across summer 2020/21, 60 per cent of all RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance callouts were related to battery or tyre and wheel issues, underlining why a car service is a vital part of your summer road trip safety check list. 

“Due to minimal driving in the last 18 months, motorists probably haven’t been maintaining their cars in the way they should,” says Smith. 

“Undertaking a car service is essential before getting back on the road because if your car is not in safe working order, the consequences from an accident can be more severe,” he adds. 

In addition to batteries, tyres and wheels, a reputable mechanic will also check things like headlights, oil, brake fluid and water levels, and your air conditioner, and make sure everything is as it should be. 

Find an RACV Accredited Service Centre near you and book your vehicle in for a service before heading off on your road trip.

Clean your car - inside and outside

As important as it is to have a safe vehicle exterior, a neat and organised interior can prevent driver distractions and help keep your focus on the most important thing – driving safely.  

“If you’re heading away on a long trip, take the time to properly organise your car,” says Smith. 

“Things like storage boxes for the boot to house loose items, a secure place for your pet, as well as bags for kids' toys, can stop loose objects from flying around the car which pose a risk to the driver and passengers” he adds.  

Smith also advises to check your vehicle for any spiders or insects that may have taken up residence in your car after prolonged periods of being parked under a tree, or in the garage. 

Road trip safety tips check list

Before you head off on your road trip, complete this safety check list.


Invest in Emergency Roadside Assistance

Often, it’s the little things, like needing to change a tyre or jump starting a car that can prove to be a nuisance on a road trip, particularly if you’ve never done these jobs before. 
Prior to departing, investing in RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance can provide peace of mind with everything from flat batteries and lockouts to tyre troubles and empty tanks, with unlimited callouts, 24 hours a day, every single day of the year. 
“Sometimes, despite all the proper safety checks and safe driving techniques, break downs happen,” he says. 
“RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance provides drivers with extra peace of mind, knowing you’re never too far from help should you need it – even on regional roads,” adds Smith. 

Charge your communication devices

Before heading away, make sure devices like mobile phones, laptops, tablets and back up batteries are on fully charged, and ensure all charging cables are packed together in an easily accessible location.  

“A fully charged device is a vital safety tool if you get lost or your car breaks down,” says Smith. 

“You’ll need your mobile phone to call RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance, use the maps application to see your location and check whether there are any major towns with service centres nearby,” he adds. 

One bit of advice Smith has if you’re really in trouble on the road and your phone battery is low, is to record a new voicemail: “If you are about to run out of phone battery with no way to charge it, an effective thing to do is to record a new voice mail message with details on your location. So, if someone needs to contact you, they’ll know where you are.” 

Plan your trip

The key to a fun, memorable, safe, and successful road trip is having your route planned out and knowing where the major towns are along the way for supplies.  

“Knowing where to find the nearest petrol and grocery stop is a vital part of being safe on the road this summer,” says Smith. 

“You never want to get stuck without petrol, food or other key supplies.” 

So ahead of your well-deserved break with loved ones, check off this list to not only keep you safe on the road, but keep a smile on your face as you clock up the kilometres. 

RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance gives you peace of mind on your journey.
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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.