Be prepared and take the hassle out of holidays

A driving holiday can be a great way to get away and explore regional Victoria.

The spring school holidays is a chance for many Victorian families to hit the open road and take a driving holiday.

Before you head off, VACC Chief Executive Officer, Geoff Gwilym as some timely safety advice.

“We are approaching school holiday time and for many families that may mean the first road trip in a long while.

“Driving is an economical and fun way to create a memorable holiday but, whether you’re going off-road or glamping, things won’t always turn out how you plan them.

“When it comes to road safety, the two most important things you can influence are the condition of your vehicle and your ability to drive it with care and concentration.

“So, here are some tips to get you there safely.

• You should regularly conduct both internal and external visual checks of your vehicle: check whether your seatbelts, lights (including indicators and brake lights) are functioning correctly, and if there is any dangerous body or windscreen damage. Inspect all tyres for wear and ensure they’re inflated to the recommended pressure – that goes for trailers and caravans, too.

• Before heading off, check you have a roadworthy spare tyre and wheel on board, and you know how to change it.

• Never change a tyre on the side of the road if there’s traffic close to your vehicle. Call a breakdown service instead.

• If towing a caravan, trailer or boat, connect it properly, checking all lights work, and you have correctly positioned the driving mirrors.

• It is also important to make sure you know how to safely manoeuvre your vehicle and the load behind. If your skills need brushing up, be sure to practice before you leave home.

• Fill up your tank and carry spare fuel in a safe container if you visit remote areas.

• Keep a first aid kit in your vehicle and a portable phone charger. Take cash, a torch and spare batteries, blankets and water. Carrying jumper leads is also essential.

• Importantly, tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

• There will be lots of people on the roads during the holidays. Be patient, be courteous, and take regular rest breaks.

“Maintaining your vehicle in optimum condition is a partnership involving you and your local repairer. Keeping your vehicle serviced and maintained by a trusted automotive technician is crucial. A thorough professional inspection using up-to-date specialist equipment can detect dangerous deficiencies, like worn brake pads and leaking brake lines, degraded suspension components, and misaligned wheels.

Importantly, never stop learning.

“Road safety is not everyone else’s responsibility. It is yours. So, make sure you and your vehicle are fit for the road, and that way, we can all have a fun and safe holiday.“