ROAD SAFETY AND TRAVEL

 

Road Safety and Travel

 

 

 

 

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As we anticipate that this guide may be used by people driving around Australia we offer the following tips for travellers who may be taking a motorhome or caravan on their travels.

Road conditions

Depending on where you travel in Australia and what season it is, roads and conditions will vary considerably.

If you rarely get off the main roads then you would think that you would have few problems but you need to be constantly aware that road camber, pot holes, wash outs, road works, flooding, rock slides and wandering animals will ensure you always need to have your wits about you.

Once you get off the main roads you are subject to all sorts of extra problems like corrugations, bulldust, mud, the list goes on and on.

The main thing to remember when road conditions change is to reduce speed. Apart from fatigue and various drugs (including alcohol), it is speed that kills most people. No one ever had a serious crash from going too slowly.

You can never afford to relax when driving, you need to concentrate every second of every journey. If you can't concentrate then get off the road and rest.

If you are driving slowly for any reason and traffic begins to bank up behind you, then be courteous and pull over when it is safe to do so and let other traffic pass safely.

Before you go

Mechanical checks

Check all lights and indicators are working on the tow vehicle and trailer.
Check window wipers and washers for correct operation. Check washer water is full.
Check tyre wear, pressure and wheel nuts. Also check the spare.
Check oil and coolant levels and take spare. Also power steering fluid if used.
Check battery fluid levels and battery state with a hydrometer.
Check that you have an operational air pump and jack.
Check under the vehicle for any signs of fluid leaks.
A vehicle service before you go is a very good idea.

Other external checks

Ensure all external compartment doors are closed and locked.
Ensure all jerry cans are stowed correctly and tops are tight.
If you have a generator, service and test it BEFORE you go. Take spare oil and spark plugs.
If towing check trailer lights, brakes, tyres etc. Check tow hitch and chains.
Empty, clean and re-fill any water tanks.
TV aerial or satellite dish is down and stored away.

Remove any wheel chocks.

Check any roll out awnings are properly secured.
Check power cords are detached and stored.
Check water hose is detached and stowed.
Check and aerial wire is detached and stowed.

Inside the vehicle

Check all cupboards are properly closed.
Check the fridge door lock is on.
Stow any loose items.
Close all top vents and lock windows.
Check gas is turned off.
If you have a gas fridge switch it over to 12 volt or inverter power.
If you have a pressure activated water pump with an ON/OFF power switch turn it off and then release the pressure in the lines by opening a tap.
Make sure all pilot lights are out.

Miscellaneous tips

When driving in wet conditions keep below the speed limit and increase your following distance.
If heading west into the sun try to be off the road by 4pm to avoid driving directly into the setting suns light. (Similarly don't start too early and drive east into the rising sun. Have that extra cuppa with breakfast instead.)
Take plenty of rest breaks and try not to drive more than 8 hours a day.
When leaving a campsite pull away a few feet and check around where your vehicle was sitting for any items that may have found their way underneath.
When taking off on the start of a new trip it is a good idea to stop at the first rest area you find and have a good look around the vehicle to see that all is well.
If you have to drive at night keep your speed down to 80 kph to help in avoiding wildlife and to reduce any damage to your vehicle.
Make sure you are carrying your driver's licence, plus vehicle registration and insurance papers.

 

 

 

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