Drive safely to your destination
For many novice drivers, the drive to leavers celebrations is the first solo road trip you will make.
The Road Safety Commission has some handy tips to ensure you make it to your destination, and home again, safely:
- Plan your journey. Make sure you have directions and a fully charged phone, in case of a breakdown or emergency. And let someone know your itinerary before you leave.
- Do a safety check on your vehicle. Make sure your lights and indicators are working. Check your fuel, oil, water and tyres before you hit the road. And pack a kit with some of the essentials including tools, replacement globes and fuses, jumper leads and a torch and batteries.
- Put up your P plates and carry your driver’s licence. Make sure your P-plates are clearly visible to other motorists. Carry your driver’s licence with you in case you need to present it to police.
- Buckle up. It should be second nature to put on your seatbelt when you get in the car. Make sure your mates are buckled up too. As the driver, you can be fined at least $550 and lose 4 demerit points for an unrestrained passenger. And don’t carry passengers in the back of a ute or an open tray.
- Take your time to get there. Your destination isn’t going anywhere, so take regular breaks to stretch your legs and avoid fatigue.
- Keep your mind on the job. Getting distracted doesn’t take much. A chatting passenger or a good song can divert your attention from driving safely. And turn your phone off in the car. If you’re caught using a mobile phone, it will cost you $400 and 3 demerit points.
- As an L or P plater, you’re not allowed to have any alcohol in your system. If you're going to drink anything at all, plan not to drive. Arrange a skipper or another form of alternative transport, but don’t accept a lift from anyone who has been drinking or taking drugs.
- Stick to the speed limit. The faster you drive, the harder you hit. And in the event of a crash, the greater the consequences will be. Slow down and enjoy the ride.
- Take care when overtaking. Passing other vehicles can be dangerous. And it’s illegal to overtake another vehicle on continuous white lines. WA’s main highways have regular overtaking lanes, so be patient and wait until it is safe to do so.
Information for Parents
One very practical thing parents can do prior to their teenager departing for leavers week is a maintenance check on the car they’ll be travelling in.
Even better, if you do it alongside your son or daughter, it is a chance to raise awareness about vehicle safety and a chance to have ‘that’ conversation about road safety.
Follow this simple checklist as a starting point:
- Brakes – Check brake fluid levels are correct and seek an automotive professional's help if your brakes feel spongy, need to be pumped, or pull your vehicle to one side when applied.
- Seatbelts – check that they are not frayed, worn and that they clip up securely. (At the same time, check that the seat mountings are sound and firmly anchored in place.)
- Coolant – Check that your coolant levels are correct, according to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications.
- Oil – Check that your engine oil levels are correct, according to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications.
- Lights – Check that your lights and indicators work, do not have cracked lenses and that your headlights are correctly aligned.
- Steering – Seek an automotive professional's help if your vehicle wanders, has excessive play in the steering or requires continual correction.
- Tyres – Ensure your tread depth is 1.5mm or more, check the tyre pressure is correct, and check for damage to the tyre skin.
- Windscreen washers – Check that your windscreen washing bottle levels are correct, according to the vehicle manufacturer's specifications.
It only takes about 30 minutes to give you a sense of comfort that the car is safe for the trip and in doing so, take a drive around the block so that you can check the steering and braking from a driver’s perspective.