Safe travel tips for your next summer road trip

The current news in Australia is all about the wildfires as this devastating force makes its way through huge swathes of the country. The fires in Australia have destroyed natural areas, homes, and wildlife, and for the many who are looking to travel over the summer, it’s important to keep your health and safety at the forefront of any getaways. 

For the best Australia travel advice, look to your local council and government websites, as these will offer the most up to date news and information about the location of the fires and conditions nearby, and will announce travel alerts whenever necessary. 

Generally speaking, there are a number of steps and precautions you can take before travelling this summer. 

Download an app with fire updates 

The Fires Near Me app offers vital information on the Queensland and NSW fires, allowing you to check the status of fires near you, and near your holiday destination. With updated data every 10 minutes or so, this is a great way to stay informed. 

For fire updates in Victoria, download the VicEmergency app to keep an eye on the conditions so you can make plans accordingly. 

Keep your plans flexible

Don’t take risks simply because you have committed to the idea of a beach holiday in a certain spot this year. 

Whenever possible, make your plans flexible so that it’s easier to change your route, destination, and travel dates when needed. 

One of the best parts of taking a rental car on holiday is that you do have the freedom to be flexible, so make the most of being able to head wherever you like. 

Know your route 

As well as having maps on your phone, it’s best to also have physical copies as a backup. 

This can help to ensure you don’t accidentally take a wrong turn, and if you do encounter smoke or fires, you can see which exit options are available to you and take the best one. 

Stock up the car 

All road trips should begin with a well-stocked car, and this is even more true when there are wildfires nearby. 

Pack plenty of water, bring a woollen blanket for each person – these can be used to stave off radiant heat should you get too close. 

Prepare for smoke 

Even if you’re far from the fires, smoke can be heavy in the air. 

If you reach an area that is quite smoky, slow down, as there may be wildlife or even people on the roads that you won’t see until they are very close. To ensure you can be seen, switch on your headlights and hazard lights. 

Be sure to close all your windows and vents to minimise smoke inhalation, and if you can’t see clearly and don’t feel safe driving, either turn around or pull over to the side of the road. If you do pull over, make sure you are parked off the road and have your lights on so you do not become a hazard. 

If you get stuck, remember that the police number in Australia is 000, and be prepared to give them the best description of your location as possible. If in doubt, check all Australian travel warnings before setting out, and heed the Australian government travel advice for your region. 

Most of all, stay safe, and enjoy your holidays in Australia this summer! 

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