In the excitement of preparing for a road trip during the school holidays, safety can quickly be forgotten, warns motoring expert Repco. Aside from the essential mechanical roadworthy precautions before setting out on the open road, the journey can be a lot safer and more comfortable if the car is packed securely.
Firstly, always check your tyre pressure. An increase in the weight of your car will add pressure to your tyres and each tyre is different. Under or over pressurised tyres can cause problems with braking, fuel efficiency and the vehicle's handling. Make sure you check the inflation pressure and specified on the tyre placard.
If you have a lot of gear, don't pack the back seat so high that it blocks the rear view. This can be particularly dangerous as it hinders the driver's view of other traffic. If there is too much luggage to safely fit in the car, invest in roof racks and a luggage tray or a roof box to store the larger items. Repco stocks a wide range of Rola & Thule roof racks and boxes.
"Where possible, secure larger or potentially dangerous items with a rope or tie-down straps so that they aren't flung forward if the driver has to brake hard," said Brett Jennings, Category Manager - Travel & Touring, from Repco. "This is especially important because accidents like this can be easily avoided."
Avoid placing handbags or day-packs on the front seat. Reaching for something in a bag can cause nasty accidents, so always place bags behind the seat or in a storage compartment.
"By placing your bags in the back, the driver is forced to stop every time they need something," said Jennings. "The five minutes it takes to stop not only gives an unscheduled break, but could potentially save lives."
It's a good idea to pack everything you want easy access to separately, so you're not forced to dig around in your suitcases en route. "For example, jackets, sunscreen, first aid and snacks for the kids, should be in a separate day-bag that is easily identifiable should you need it."
If you're running out of room, consider taking out some non-important items, or to accommodate lots of extra baggage, invest in a trailer. Trailers free up lots of room in the car, but it's important that a towing mirror is installed so that the driver has a good, clear view of the trailer being towed.
There are many ways to avoid 'bumps in the road' whilst planning a road-trip. If you're hoping to take a break these school holidays, make time to pack you car properly to ensure that you and your family can travel and relax in comfort - and continue to enjoy family holidays together... safely!