Are you prepared for a summer road trip with the family?

RACQ’s Central Queensland Rescue Chief Executive Mark Shield urges families to protect themselves over the Christmas season as the Mackay-based service has already been tasked to 44 motor vehicle crashes so far this year.

RACQ Executive Manager Technical and Safety Policy Officer, Steve Spalding, says it was essential to ensure your car was in good condition and that the driver was well rested and prepared for the journey.

“Fatigue is a real danger on long road trips so the first step is to map out your journey in advance, planning regular rest stops – at least 15 minutes every two hours – and arrange to share the driving, if possible,” Mr Spalding says.

To ensure a safe road trip with your family, here are some essential checks before you head off:

• Ensure the vehicle’s lights, windscreen wipers and washers are functioning well and that the windscreen is not chipped or cracked
• Check that the coolant and oil are at the right levels
• Check that the tyres, including the spare, have adequate tread and are correctly inflated
• Pack the car carefully to ensure items are safely stowed, allowing good visibility out the rear window
• Check road conditions and modify your route accordingly
• Monitor the weather – if severe storm warnings are given consider delaying the drive or making an early stop-over
• Consider how to keep children occupied to minimise the risk of driver distraction.


“When you’re out on the road, watch for signs of fatigue and if you’re feeling drowsy, lacking concentration or making mistakes, pull over for a break.

“If you notice a problem – such as overheating – with the car, pull over in a safe spot and call for assistance…you don’t want to be on the road if you or your car is not up for the trip,” he says.

What’s your favourite part of a road trip?