It’s beginning to look a lot like road trip season – with new research from Mitsubishi Motors Australia (MMAL) revealing one in five Aussies are planning on travelling more than 1000km across the holiday season.
As a country of avid drivers, it’s no surprise that for nearly half of all Aussies (45 per cent) the preferred mode of travel is driving, with Aussies taking on average between two and three road trips per year, and three in four planning a road trip in 2022.
To celebrate the season and prepare Aussies for travel, Mitsubishi is revealing road trip tips and tricks, to prepare families and vehicles for the season ahead.
“Road trips are a favourite Aussie pastime, but it’s important to be prepared,” MMAL’s National Technical Support & Service Manager Neil Dunn said.
“There are some easy tips and tricks to prepare yourself, your family, and your vehicle for a road trip and ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.”
Mitsubishi’s top 10 festive road trip tips:
All I want for Christmas is less traffic
Beat the rush and make an early start to avoid the highway traffic jam. Mitsubishi research indicates the busiest time on the roads this Christmas is likely to be between the 18 and 24 December, with half (48 per cent) of Aussies planning on setting off for the Christmas holiday season between these dates and only one in ten planning to set off earlier than December 18.
Wrapping up insurance
It’s important to protect the family from unexpected encounters with kangaroos on outback roads, or torrential downpours in the middle of rainforests, not to mention accidents and break-ins. As with every vehicle, make sure you have the insurance you need before travelling and purchase roadside assistance for additional support.
Be efficient with boot packing
Much to the distress of parents Australia-wide, packing a boot is traditionally known as one of the most complicated and frustrating aspects of holidaying. To help, make sure to fit like-sized items together, with larger and heavier items in first and smaller items in the space between. Although it’s tempting to pile everything in the boot, for safety when driving, always ensure the rear screen is not obscured.
Deck the car with vitals
Much like ensuring there are enough drinks and snacks for the kids, it is important to check the vehicle’s vitals are topped up before setting off. This includes windscreen washer fluid, brake fluid, coolant and engine oil. Check these under the hood to ensure they’re all at the correct level.
Don’t fall flat mid-journey
Checking the tyre pressure and tread, to ensure it’s correct for the terrain the vehicle will be driving in, is important for every road trip. A long journey across the country is not an ideal time to realise the tyres need replacing, or look flat.
Check the brakes
Instead of ignoring that mysterious squeaking noise, get the brakes checked and replaced if needed before a long road trip. Brakes should be responsive and bring the vehicle to a stop smoothly and swiftly (without the ear-piercing screeches).
Forget Christmas lights, fix the car lights
Being able to see wildlife on (or next to) the road and ensuring trucks and other vehicles can see working lights is always imperative when driving, but especially on open country roads.
Scope out the nearest petrol stations
With 31 per cent of Aussies prioritising interstate travel, that can include long, rural roads with sporadic fuel availability. There’s nothing worse than seeing the fuel warning light come on and knowing the next fuel station is around 100km away. To save the anxiety around fuel, plan your breaks and ensure the car is filled up at each of those stops.
Prepare for emergencies
While last-minute adventures are popular with Aussies, preparation is key. Ensure the family and car are covered by packing an emergency kit including first-aid, blankets, a torch, vomit bag, and spare water. For the vehicle, check your spare tyre, tools and pack a pair of gloves.
Enjoy the ride
Whether it is a road trip to the coast, or across the country, the journey is just as rewarding as reaching the destination. In fact, 60 per cent of Australians said the scenery and the stop offs (47 per cent) along the way are key to a good road trip, so plan your breaks in advance. These coincide with in-car experience (35 per cent), conversations with family and friends (33 per cent), family bonding (27 per cent) and car snacks (22 per cent).
The findings also revealed Aussies ideal road trip locations, with one third of Aussies saying it has to be a beach or coastal location, followed by outback adventure (17 per cent), rainforest adventure (11 per cent), big city adventure (10 per cent), the bush (9 per cent), and the snow (6 per cent).