How to have a safe and happy holiday road trip
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Give yourself the gift of time to stay safe on the roads these holidays.
Every driver at some point is going to have something unexpected happen on the road. When it does, every extra second available to react is crucial.
Keeping a safe distance from the car in front will mean there's more time to react if something happens.
With millions of New Zealanders about to head out on the roads over the summer break, we know that people will make errors sometimes. But we don’t want those to end up in crashes.
Make sure your car is road trip ready
■ Give yourself more following distance — as least two seconds in good conditions (and longer in poor conditions)
■ Drive at a safe speed for the conditions
■ Pay full attention. Put your phone into “do not disturb” mode ■ Stay fresh and alert. Take regular breaks, share driving and don’t drive tired
■ Look well ahead to anticipate what’s coming up, not just at the car in front
■ Expect trips to take longer to avoid frustration and rushing
“We all know this is the highest risk time on the roads so it makes sense to take some extra care,” says AA road safety spokesman Dylan Thomsen.
“Even if you are doing everything right, you want to give yourself time to react if someone else gets it wrong. A bit of extra time can make the difference between a near-miss with no long-term consequences or a crash that could change someone’s life.”
Make yourself available
Check lights and indicators are working, clean windscreens, check wiper blades are in good shape and check coolant and oil levels.
Four vital but often overlooked things to check are the tyres. Make sure they have adequate tread (at least 1.5mm is the legal minimum) and also that they are inflated to the right pressure – including the spare.
Be smart around congestion
It’s an inescapable fact that roads will be heavy with holiday traffic but there are ways that you can try to work around it.
■ Check traffic levels online before driving. If roads are jammed, consider a different route or time
■ Leave earlier or later if possible, rather than travelling in the peak of the day
■ Make time in the car comfortable. Come prepared with snacks, drinks and distractions for the kids
The AA wants everyone to stay safe and enjoy their #greatkiwiroadtrips.