How to plan a perfect music festival roadie


Traveling to music festivals is a great experience but make sure you and your car are prepared before you get on the road.

It’s coming up to that time of year when the weather heats up and tickets get snapped up for the biggest Australian music festivals, dotted around our vast country. 

Events like Falls Festival, Splendor In The Grass and Bluesfest draw massive crowds to remote locations far from home, creating an atmosphere festival goers love, away from the hustle and bustle of work, parents and responsibilities. However, the experience is not just about the destination, it’s about the journey too, as the music festival roadie becomes as epic a story as the festival itself!

Here are a few tips to make sure you have the best summer ever:

1. Music – Make sure you’ve created a playlist that includes all the artists you plan on seeing at the festival, find those not-so-known tracks to develop a greater appreciation for the artists, that way when you do see them in person it will be extraordinary.

2. Pit stops – Stopping for breaks during your trip gives everyone a chance to stretch and eat and allows the driver maintain the energy levels required to concentrate behind the wheel. Use the Driver Reviver rest stops scattered all across New South Wales.

3. Water and food – This may seem obvious but simple snacks stored in the glove box will help bridge the gap between pit stop meals. Make sure you also have plenty of drinks to stay hydrated as the inside of a hot car can easily induce headaches during the extreme Australian summer. Just remember to stay in proper control of the vehicle while eating and drinking.

4. Roadside assistance – If you’re aged between 17 and 20, take advantage of NRMA’s free roadside assistance with Free2go (16 year old’s receive two free years). An additional perk of Free2go is that you don’t have to be the driver the vehicle to be covered. For those that are over 21, affordable Classic Care and Premium Care cover is also available. This way if you get a flat car battery, tyre or you run out of petrol an NRMA patrol will make sure you make it to the festival on time!

5. Car servicing – Prepare you car for probably the longest trip you’ll take it on all year. A 30 minute check at your local car service provider could prevent a breakdown on the way to the festival. If you’ve signed up to Free2go you’ll also receive Member discounts on car servicing and repairs.

6. Find cheap fuel - After festival tickets and camping admissions, festivals can really blow the budget so any savings on petrol can add up. Before you hit the road, download the my nrma app where you’ll find the cheapest petrol stations in New South Wales. This cheap fuel finder feature is free for anyone to download on android and iOS. You can also request and track your NRMA patrol from the mynrma app.

Have you got any road trip tips to share with your fellow festival goers?

Ask NRMA: Is it illegal to eat or drink while driving?

It’s not illegal to eat while you’re behind the wheel, however it is illegal not to have proper control of your vehicle. If eating while driving interferes with a driver’s control of the vehicle, the driver may be committing an offence depending on the circumstances.


TAKE A BREAK: Eating while driving is more dangerous than you think.

Although there is no specific rule that prohibits eating or drinking (non-alcoholic) while driving, the practice can distract drivers and ultimately result in prosecution.

Driver distraction is broadly covered under NSW Road Rule 297(1) which is a general road rule that states “a driver must not drive a vehicle unless the driver has proper control of the vehicle”.

These types of offences are assessed on a case by case basis, including whether an incident occurred and are subject to a $433 fine and three demerit points. In school zones, the penalty increases to $541 with 4 demerit points.

As well as the dangers of driving under the influence, NSW Road Rule 298 (1) states that a driver must not to consume alcohol while driving. This would apply regardless of whether the driver is under the limit.

Do you often see motorists eating or drinking behind the wheel? 

NRMA Members who need advice on all things motoring can call NRMA’s Motoring Advice line on 13 11 22 from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 5pm.

Related links:

Why we need to focus on distracted driving
 Is driving with headphones legal?
Eight key hazards and distractions inside the car to be aware of

Changes for L and P plate drivers

From 1 December, changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme for learner, P1 and P2 drivers will come into effect.


There are two rafts of changes, one commencing on 1 December this year and the other from November next year.

This year’s change

From 1 December 2016, P2 holders will no longer be permitted to use a mobile phone at all while driving or riding. P2 licence holders will have the same mobile phone restrictions as Learner and P1 licence holders. At present, P2 licence holders can use mobile phones for calls and audio only, provided the phone is securely mounted, or an automated audio device is being used.

It is important when driving to recognise that driving is ALWAYS the primary task at hand, not receiving or transmitting communication to others. This point is especially important for new drivers to realise.

There have been attempts at justifying the use of mobile technology while driving, including business efficiency, cost effectiveness of ETA texts and business related technology for customer service, but it unquestionably still remains a driving distraction and, as such, an increased risk to other road users. To this end, removing the P2 mobile phone usage, including via Bluetooth, is removing a likely driving distraction.

Next year’s changes

From November 2017, the following changes will come into force for Learner, P1 and P2 drivers:

  • Learners will be required to pass the Hazard Perception Test to progress to unsupervised driving (additional to the practical, on road driving test).
  • P1 licence holders will no longer need to pass the Hazard Perception Test before progressing to a P2 licence.
  • P2 licence holders will no longer need to pass the Driver Qualification Test before progressing to an unrestricted licence.
  • The time a driver must stay on their P2 licence will be extended by 6 months for each time they receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour.

Extending the time a driver must stay on their P2 licence by 6 months each time they receive a suspension for unsafe driving behaviour emphasises the importance of getting the safety message through to those who continue to drive in a dangerous way. If a driver wishes to progress through this stage of their licensing in the minimum time, then they need to drive as safely as they can.

If you are currently learning to drive, check out NRMA Safer Driving School who will help you become a confident and safe driver.

What do you make of these changes?

Here are a couple of other resources from the government:

New Drivers – New Licence Conditions
- Restrictions for L and P Platers
 Mobile Phones – Know The Rules

11 Things to Bring When Travelling With Young Kids

Father-of-three and editor of Australian Caravan+RV magazine shares his essential packing list. 


PREPARE YOURSELF: Travelling with kids, especially on long drives, can be a daunting thing for new, and even ‘experienced’ parents. It doesn’t need to be an ordeal if you prepare, though.

1. Patience – This is the number one thing you’ll need on long drives with young kids. They’re not built for long periods restrained to furniture. Like anything, kids need to learn to travel well – you need to spend time training them to be good at it. In the beginning, your kids will complain, get grumpy, hit each other and complain some more. Just remember who the adult is, and you’ll get through it. They might, too.

2. Toys – A steady supply of your kids’ favourite toys are essential, especially if they’re younger. A word of note – kids will drop toys and they’ll fall on the floor and under a seat and no one will be able to reach them. Life’s hard, it’s a lesson they should learn young. Avoid taking balls or any small toys that can roll under the seat and under the brake or accelerator.

3. Food and drink – It’s really hard to say ‘Are we there yet?’ or cry about that dropped toy with a milk arrowroot shoved in your gob. Plenty of people say it should just be healthy snacks, but if long drives are only an occasional activity, then a few treats will keep you all happy for far longer.

4. A rubbish and crumb management plan – Kids are messy eaters. Of any and all food you give them, a significant amount will end up under their booster seats, stuck to their pants and spilt on the floor. Like you’re painting a house, use drop sheets or towels to collect the mess and you can just shake it out at critical mass.

5. Baby wipes – I’m actually not sure if these are more or less important than patience. You’ll need both in excess on any long trip.

6. Your singing voice – Whether you have a good signing voice or not, you’ll need to warm those vocal chords. Be it to sing the time-honoured nursery rhymes or belt out the latest Taylor Swift single, singing is a sure fire way to prevent your kids fighting and screaming for at least a few minutes.

7. Witty answers to the question, ‘Are we there yet?’ – These won’t help the kids travel better – kids generally don’t get sarcasm – but it will keep you sane(ish).

8. Paper and pencils – All kids love drawing, so this is an excellent way for them to pass time in the car. A word of warning – like food and toys, they’ll drop their favourite colour pencil and then tell you their artwork and life is ruined. Bring spares. And don’t let them at it too long if they’re likely to get carsick – that’s the sort of abstract artwork no-one wants to critique.

9. Books – Whatever your kids’ age, they’ll love either being read, or reading stories themselves. Be that audio books e-books or actual paper ones, time spent in story is time well spent.

10. Boredom – You actually don’t need to bring boredom, it’ll come along invited or not. Boredom is actually a great thing for kids (and adults). It gives kids an opportunity to develop problem solving skills (like ‘How do I stop being bored?’) and is really important to emotional development.

11. Tablets, smart phones and gaming devices – I’ve purposely put these last – they should be a last resort. Tablets and smart devices inhibit creativity and imagination, and that’s not what road trips are about. Put limits on how long they can be used for (set the timer, if you need to) and set a good example if you’re the passenger (and driver!) – don’t look at yours the whole trip.

Do you have any tips to share when travelling with kids? 

For more travel tips, tools and destination ideas check out Australian Caravan+RV magazine, the Aussie caravan and travel bible that’s just like the trusty friend who knows all the best campsites, has all the right tools – and always brings the drinks.

NSW School Zones back in operation from Monday

STAY ALERT: School Zones play a critical role in making sure  kids have a safe and happy start to the school holidays.

STAY ALERT: School Zones play a critical role in making sure kids have a safe and happy commute to and from school.

School zones are back in operation from Monday 10 October until Tuesday 20 December. Remember to slow down and stick to the 40km/h school zone speed limit.

Most school zones operate from 8:00am to 9.30am and from 2.30pm to 4pm on gazetted school days in NSW and from 8am to 4pm in the ACT.

Gazetted school days 2016
Term 4 (Eastern and Western Divisions NSW) Monday 10 October to Tuesday 20 December (inclusive)

The 40km/h school speed zones operate across NSW and ACT at all school sites on gazetted school days (including school development days). Motorists should drive no faster than 40km/h through school zones.

School zones operate and are enforced on pupil free days because pupil free days can vary from school to school. Consistent operation of school zones aims to reduce driver confusion, which improves the safety of school children.

There are a small number of non-standard school zone times in NSW and ACT. They are identified by red/orange school zone signs to show non-standard times. Signs at these schools show the times that apply. Do you find it difficult to keep up with school zone operating times?

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.