Charging devices, pre-loading movies, planning safe rest stops and counting NRMA Patrol Vehicles are among a new list of safety tips released by the NRMA ahead of the start of the NSW school holidays this weekend.
As families prepare to go on long journeys with children, parents are being encouraged to load up fully-charged smart devices with family-friendly movies (in case of poor internet service) and to make sure each child has their own headset so the only tunes the driver hears are the ones they choose to play through the radio.
Families are also encouraged to invest in an in-car multi-device charger for when devices run low.
If packing toys, try to make sure they’re not sharp (crayons or pencils) as these can become dangerous in the event of having to stop the car suddenly.
With the April school holidays forecast to be warmer than usual, the NRMA is also encouraging families to find safe rest stops where children can get out and play. If they are driving near coastal areas, families might like to make the most of the beaches as part of their stops.
NRMA is also encouraging families to play games to take the monotony out of the trip, these can include getting children to follow their route along a map, count windmills or even count NRMA Patrol Cars!
Refreshments are also important for a stress-free journey. Pack healthy snacks and plenty of water. Almost 40 per cent (36%) of crashes caused by distractions occurred as a result of distractions from within the vehicle.
As many as one in 10 fatalities in NSW have been attributed to driver distraction. NRMA Senior Policy Advisor Dimitra Vlahomitros said bored children in cars could become an annoying distraction for drivers.
“Kids aren’t used to road trips as part of their normal routine so they’re more likely to become bored, agitated or fight with their siblings,” Ms Vlahomitros said.
“Parents need to remember: reducing the risk of distraction means reducing the risk of a crash that could result in a devastating end to the holidays.”
Other road trip recommendations from the NRMA include:
– Sleep is the only effective guard against tiredness: so don’t cut your sleep short to reach a destination sooner
– Drive to the conditions of roads, not to the speed limit
– Make sure you stop in a safe place every two hours and get out of the car – Pack plastic bags and baby wipes for unexpected spills or accidents
– Pack a ball to encourage the whole family to actively enjoy rest stops
– Make sure your child restraints are fitted properly and if you’re not sure, have them professionally fitted or inspected
Ms Vlahomitros said sticking to these tips as well as applying a good amount of common sense can help make a family holiday a safe one.
“With the right preparation, long road trips can be enjoyable and safe for everyone,” she said.