How to Stay Safe on the Roads This Season
Posted by: Lydia on 7/12/2020
Travelling the vast and winding roads of Australia during the summer season can be incredible. The Great Southern Land has an outstanding array of routes from coast to coast that offer amazing experiences, which travellers from all walks of life can enjoy. For the great majority of road trippers who head out for an adventure, they’ll return home safely with the only worry being how soon they can get free to travel again!
That said, it's also important to keep in mind that a road trip can present some challenges — especially considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It's always a good idea to have a plan in place before you head out, so let’s look now at some essential and contemporary safety tips.
Wear Appropriate Footwear
Every Aussie understands that the summertime usually means more casual clothes. The heavy coats of the colder months are often replaced by T-shirts and shorts on a summer weekend. This is fantastic, but it can come with its own issues when it comes to driving. It may be tempting to amble from home to the beach in your flip flops, but if you need to brake suddenly in an emergency, your footwear may fail you.
That’s why it’s always necessary to have appropriate footwear available when you drive. You don’t need to get out your best pair of dress shoes to do this — a simple pair of slips on (aka espadrilles) or lace-up tennis shoes will do the job. In an emergency, they could be the difference between you braking in time or smashing into the bumper bar in front of you.
Enquire Before You Drive
It’s always been prudent to plan your trip and ensure that anywhere you’re travelling is open for business, especially in remote areas. It’s all the more important in 2020, as many tourism epicentres have been hit hard by coronavirus.
In August, there were only 3,030 visitor arrivals from overseas to Australia — which is down a whopping 99.6% compared to the same period of 2019. This shows just how bad the impact on tourism has been. Many businesses have shut down, and many areas are much less crowded than they otherwise would be.
With this in mind, don’t presume that anywhere you want to go is operational — call ahead to check that they have the goods or services available in advance. For example, you may need some coolant and plan to pick it up at a town a little off the highway. Nothing could spoil a trip faster than getting there, finding it’s shut, and suddenly finding yourself in a remote location with a car that's low on coolant.
Be Mindful of Coronavirus Restrictions
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with coronavirus, and that means some places around the nation currently have tougher restrictions than others as they’re dealing with different challenges. This is important to keep in mind if you travel from state to state as there may still be specific rules and regulations that differ from place to place.
For example, Victoria recently had a law in place that mandated mask-wearing in vehicles if the passengers were not all from the same household. We may find that similar regulations are implemented again in the future, so it's important to be aware of any restrictions that may apply to you and your trip.
Always Socially Distance and Wear Masks When Necessary
Regardless of what part of Australia you live in, essentially everyone is subject to some social distancing rules at the moment. Although many places have decisively driven down their coronavirus cases — so much so that some have effectively ‘eliminated’ it from their local community — the reality is that it may come back at any time, and the source may be unknown.
This is why it’s still important to maintain social distancing practices to keep you safe when out of the car, even if you’ve only been travelling through areas where there are no known cases.
Furthermore, while wearing masks isn’t mandatory across the nation, it’s certainly not prohibited. So while social distancing should be maintained between you and strangers regardless, if you feel that wearing a mask provides extra peace of mind, then go for it. Once upon a time wearing masks for health reasons in Australia was quite rare — compared to some other nations around the world where it’s long been more routine — but today, it’s become so commonplace that no one will bat an eye.
Get a Car and Tyre Check Done
You won’t get far on a road trip if your car and tyres aren’t up to scratch. Ensuring that they’re in good working order is critical to your own safety, as well as that of your passengers and others around you. This is always the most important step when it comes to getting a safety plan sorted for an upcoming trip.
This is also something that should be relatively straightforward to do, as you can do some basic at-home inspections in addition to booking in for a mechanic’s service and formal tyre inspection.
Once you have a safety plan in place, you can focus on enjoying all that Australia’s roadways have to offer — the destinations they lead to, and the incredible journeys they provide along the way. Such trips can deliver an unforgettable experience and leave you looking forward to retracing the route in future. So be safe, and be sure to have a ton of fun while travelling this summer season!
What other tips do you have for staying safe on the roads this season? Let us know in the comments below.