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Holiday driving tips

Stay safe and enjoy the drive

When holidays come around it's good to think about the safety of you and your family.

So to ensure you get to your destinations safely here are a few tips:

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Drink driving - the facts

In NSW drink driving is a factor in about one in every five crashes where someone loses their life. Of the people who are killed, 88 per cent are men and 75 per cent are under the age of 40.

Alcohol affects your driving skills, moods and behaviour. Once it's been consumed the effects cannot be reversed. The only thing that will sober you up is time. Getting back to zero (sobering up), takes a long time. No amount of coffee, food, physical activity or sleep will speed up the process.

You don't have to be drunk to be affected by alcohol. You might feel normal but no one drives as well after drinking alcohol.

Novice drivers with any level of alcohol in their blood are at a much higher risk of crashing. This is why learner and provisional licence holders are restricted to a zero alcohol limit.

Since the introduction of RBT (random breath testing) in 1982, fatal crashes involving alcohol have dropped from 40 per cent of all fatalities to the current level of 19 per cent. In 2008 police conducted 3.4 million breath tests in NSW.

Driving in NSW

Before you head off on a drive it is a good idea to check out what is happening on the roads you plan to travel on. The RTA website provides live traffic reports which are up-dated regularly from the RTA's Traffic Management Centre (TMC). The TMC manages incidents, such as crashes, and other disruptions to the road network, such as special events.

The TMC have traffic cameras which provide images from key locations around the Sydney road network. New images are available every 60 seconds. he website also provides reports on roads in regional NSW.

See live traffic information on both Sydney and regional NSW roads.

Speed camera locations

Fixed speed cameras are installed at sites that meet specific criteria.

These criteria are based on crash and injury accident rates and travelling speeds. This ensures that cameras are installed on 'blacklengths' (lengths of road with a high accident rate) that have a demonstrated speeding problem. In addition to fixed speed cameras, mobile speed cameras have been introduced in New South wales.

View the current NSW speed camera locations

Driver fatigue 

When setting off on a long trip don't leave too early in the morning because your body clock believes you should still be asleep. Have a 15 minute rest every 2 hours. On a long trip, especially in holiday season, there are Driver Revivor stops which provide a cup of tea or coffee, so make sure you take advantage of them.

Keep an eye out for the signs of Driver Fatigue which are
Yawning Sweaty hands Tired eyes
Poor concentration Restlessness Drowsiness
Boredom Slow reactions Oversteering

Tow check

If towing a trailer or caravan inspect:

  • Tyre condition and tyre inflation - including spare.
  • Towbar & towing equipment is secure.
  • All electrical connections are secure and lights work correctly.
  • Trailer brakes work correctly.
  • Rear view mirrors are adjusted correctly.

More on towing 

Good driving techniques

Distance between your car & the car in front

It's a good idea to always keep a minium three seconds gap between you and the car in front. When it's raining and/or foggy double the distance to six seconds no matter what speed you're doing.

Smooth driving

Don't rush into things. Plan ahead when driving. Make early decisions on braking and accelerating. Change gears and brake smoothly to avoid skidding. This will provide a smoother drive for yourself and your passengers while also providing less wear and tear on the vehicle and helping you save on fuel costs.

Keep left unless overtaking

When driving on a dual lane road always keep to the left lane. Use the right hand lane for overtaking, turning right or when roadworks are being carried out and there is no other choice.

Indicate early

Always indicate when changing lanes, 30 metres wherever practical, to advise other motorists of what you are doing.

Expect the unexpected

Drive with your line of sight parallel to the road not looking down onto it. By doing this you see further into the distance so you can be better prepared if there is a problem ahead. It may even mean you can avoid a crash.


Ensure you have enough room to go past the vehicle you are overtaking and not cut them off. Pick you time carefully as overtaking can be quite dangerous and making the wrong decision may result in a serious crash.

Stopping before the intersection

Always slow down coming to an intersection especially if you are towing a van. Your braking distance will be greater than when you're not towing, so make sure you allow for this. You must stop on a stop sign/line.

Driving at night

Driving at night requires more skill & concentration than at daytime due to your restricted vision. Oncoming headlights can obscure your vision and pedestrians can be near impossible to see. Leave a bigger gap between you and the car in front to allow for your reduced vision and reaction time.

Road rage

Stay relaxed and try not to let other people's driving skills or decisions worry you. If another driver makes a mistake don't get angry just concentrate on your own driving skills, behaviour and safety.

If another driver is courteous towards you, then acknowledge the good deed with a wave.

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