Driving Tips

Apply these driving tips as they can make your drive more comfortable and safe.

  • Ensure all passengers wear appropriate seatbelts, and child restraints including pets.
  • Make sure all luggage is properly secured and won’t become projectiles in the case of sudden braking.
  • If towing a van or trailer:-
    • Pack heavy items at floor level with particular weighty items over the axle.
    • Place light items is elevated cupboards to avoid being top heavy.
  • Don’t rush and keep to the speed limit. Most road accidents occur because of speeding. Due to the extra length and weight, fast speeds are not recommended.
  • Be mindful of road and weather conditions and drive accordingly. Abide by road work signs and speed limits. High winds may mean loss of control and wind gusts may affect the stability of the caravan or trailer.
  • Drive with your headlights on during the day as this helps other drivers see you from a distance.
  • Avoid travelling early morning or later afternoons to avoid hitting wildlife that may cross the road.
  • Stop regularly to take a break and stretch your legs. Accidents occur when drivers are tired or fatigued.
  • Consider installing a UHF radio. This will allow you to communicate with other travellers and truck drivers in particular to inform them of your intention of overtaking or them over taking you. A sat phone may also be an option if you are travelling in remote areas.
  • Never drive too close behind other vehicles as it will take longer to stop.
  • If you are slower than the speed limit, pull over when possible and allow the cars behind to pass. Keep to the left when driving on dual lanes and overtaking lanes as this will allow the faster traffic to pass.
  • Allow for increased time and distance required when overtaking due to larger overall rig length and check the mirrors before pulling out.
  • When travelling downhill a lower gear must be used. This gives better control and reduces the load on your brakes. Excessive speeds or sudden braking while on a downhill stretch could create an unstable condition and result in uncontrollable caravan sway.
  • Never overtake a slower vehicle when going downhill.
  • When approaching a hill and provided it is safe to do so, increase your speed slightly so itis easier to go up the hill.
  • When moving off or passing another vehicle always move the accelerator smoothly. Any rapid or excessive movement will waste petrol.
  • Judging traffic flow is another useful technique. By observing the traffic some distance ahead, it is often possible to avoid unnecessary braking and delays.
  • Allow for a wider berth when turning due to increase in overall vehicle length if towing a van or trailer.
  • Be aware of height restrictions, especially if your van is higher than your vehicle.
  • Parking is seen as the most difficult exercise, but practice makes perfect. Try using a guide to avoid accidents. Tips for Reversing a Caravan click here

Wet Weather Driving

  • Give yourself more travel time. This will allow you to drive at a slower, safe pace and cope with the probability of heavy traffic.
  • Turn on your headlights, even in light rain as it helps you see, and be seen. Do not use high beam as they are likely to reflect back on you, reducing visibility.
  • Turn on your front and rear demisters to keep your windows clear.
  • Never drive in the rain with your cruise control on as is could cause you to hydroplane.
  • Slow down so you can keep control of your car.
  • Increase your stopping distance as it takes longer to stop in the wet. Allow enough space to stop without skidding.
  • If you can’t see the road or the car in front of you–or you are feeling too anxious–safely pull over and wait until the rain eases.

Outback Driving

  • Plan the route
  • Carry plenty of water (at least 5 litres of water per person per day)
  • Carry adequate food and fuel supplies.
  • Advise someone of your route, destination and expected arrival time.
  • If you have a breakdown do not leave the vehicle under any circumstances.
  • Wildlife can be a hazard to drivers, particularly around dawn and dusk.
  • Road trains can be over 50 meters long and 2.5 meters wide so extra care should be taken when overtaking. Allow for at least one kilometres of clear road ahead.
  • Dust on unsealed country roads can obscure vision. It is advisable to stop and wait for the dust to settle.
  • Towing a Caravan, Camper/Tent Trailer or a Fifth Wheeler requires skills and knowledge of not only the way your car handles when towing.

The staff at CCIA &MHIA have used their best endeavours to ensure that all the information provided is correct at the time of release andthat the information has been obtained from reliable sources. We are not responsible for any errors or omissions, or any outcomes as aresult of ause of this information. The information is provided for general guidance on industry issues only and should not be used as asubstitute for legal or other professional advice.