Survive the drive in the second week of the school holidays

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Travelling during school holidays can be stressful – holidaymakers often don’t know local roads, kids often argue and whinge in the back seat, and you might think that putting up with traffic just isn’t worth it.

You’ve survived week one, but you still have week two ahead of you……

Dr Bridie Scott-Parker, Senior Research Fellow and Leader of the Adolescent Risk Research Unit at the University of the Sunshine Coast, has some tips to save your sanity on the roads these school holidays.

“The best tip I can offer is for you to plan your trip before you get in the car.”

  • If you get stressed out in heavy traffic, plan to drive when there is less traffic on the road. If your feeling stressed while you drive, pull over and have some deep breaths and try and calm yourself before you get back on the road.
  • If your car probably isn’t up to a long trip in the country, think about hiring a car that is more suitable. Make sure you are familiar with all the features of that car, and the safety features in particular, before you set off on your trip.
  • Who are your passengers? Delegate tasks, such as managing GPS, handing snacks to kids in the backseat etc.
  • What roads will you be travelling on? It is simple physics – the faster you travel, the longer it takes you to stop, so aim for a 4-second gap between you and the car in front. Are you familiar with this route? If not, google maps has some great imagery.
  • Who are you sharing the roads with? If you aren’t comfortable sharing with road trains, think about other travel options on roads frequently used by road trains.
  • Will you be driving during darkness? Humans evolved to sleep during the night to avoid predators, and headlights only brighten so much of our environment when we are in the car.

To make real improvements in road safety, we can’t drive as we used to – driving for 6 hours straight no longer earns you a badge of honour. Letting kids only have two wee breaks in a 19-hour trip – something I experienced as a child – might have been how we drove 30 or 40 years ago, but today we have so much more knowledge about what puts road users at risk. Getting from A to B safely, not just for yourself but for everyone with whom you share the road, should earn you a badge of honour, and these tips will help you make steps in that direction.

 
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