As we head into the warmer months, everyone is talking about road trips and family holidays. But before you set off on your next journey, it’s important to be prepared.
To ensure your next road trip is accident-free (except for the odd missed turn) take care to drive extra safely if you head off on one of these highways.
1. Stuart Highway
Also known as Explorer’s Way, Stuart Highway in the Northern Territory takes you from Port Augusta all the way up to Darwin. It offers sweeping views of the vast Australian outback, cutting straight through the Red Centre over a distance of 2,834 kilometres.
As it covers such a huge distance, you might find yourself driving at night. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure your high beams are working. Take lots of water and remember there are stops along the way if you need to take a break and rest.
Another hazard to be aware of is wildlife. Slow down and watch out for kangaroos!
2. Bruce Highway
Planning a trip up north? The Bruce Highway in Queensland will help you get there. Stretching from Brisbane to Cairns, the Highway is the gateway into the Sunshine State and heaps of tourist destinations.
It’s also the state’s main traffic carrier and a hotspot for accidents. If you’re driving north, be mindful that you’ll be sharing the road with big long-haul trucks - sometimes with three or more trailers. Don’t rush to overtake and be careful not to shine your lights in rear mirrors.
Another point to keep in mind is the weather. Bruce Highway is prone to flooding so check the forecast before you leave!
3. Pacific Highway
For holiday goers in New South Wales, the Pacific Highway is the best route to Coffs Harbour, Newcastle and the Gold Coast. It will take you to great little coastal towns as well as amazing surf breaks.
But, like the Bruce Highway, you need to watch out for the heavy vehicles. Although most sections of the highway are four lanes, the single lane stretches have caused accidents in the past - especially with the mix of trucks.
Keep to the speed limit, make sure your car is in good nick and take a playlist of your favourite songs to keep you wide awake and alert for any changes in the traffic.
4. Great Western Highway
For family camping trips and day excursions, it’s hard to beat the Blue Mountains, conveniently located just two hours outside of Sydney.
To get there, you will need to take the Great Western Highway in NSW, a 210 km highway linking Sydney to Bathurst. It’s a scenic route but it has also been the site of a few nasty accidents, particularly between Lapstone and Katoomba.
In colder months, you also need keep an eye out for black ice. Maintain a safe distance to help with navigating the danger spots and slippery conditions.
5. East Tamar Highway
The great Tasmanian wilderness is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. But while a road trip down south is unlikely to disappoint, a few hazards might pop up on the roads.
Take special care on the East Tamar Highway. Sharp bends and occasional wild weather can make for dangerous driving conditions – not to mention the odd sunbaking seal!
Final safety tips to go
Buckle up. The number of people killed because they weren’t wearing a seatbelt increased by almost 50 per cent in 2014.
Choose a safe driving time. The highest number of road accidents occur on Friday evenings with single-vehicle crashes more likely to occur on the weekend.
Experienced drivers are not immune to crashes. In 2014, the highest number of road casualties was in the 40 to 64 age bracket. Injuries to road users over 40 also increased by 16 per cent from the previous year.