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Plan a safe road trip

A little bit of planning before you hit the road will help make your road trip safe, fun and stress free. This includes staying COVID Safe.

Being COVID Safe is a responsibility we all share

Only travel when it is when it’s safe for you to take your next road trip. Practice safe behaviour wherever you go. Check nsw.gov.au/covid-19 for health and wellbeing advice, case locations, symptoms, testing clinics and what you can and can't do under the rules.

Stop, revive, survive

Driving tired is the second biggest killer on NSW roads after speeding. Early warning signs of being tired may include:

  • yawning
  • poor concentration
  • sore or tired eyes
  • restlessness
  • drowsiness
  • slow reactions
  • boredom

Don't wait for a microsleep – by then it's too late. Pull over and stop when it’s safe to do so. 

During peak holiday periods, like Christmas, Easter and long weekends, about 80 Driver Reviver sites operate throughout NSW.

Even though Driver Reviver sites do not operate during the off-peak periods, there are still roadside rest areas all over NSW where you can stop and take a break.

Find rest areas and Driver Reviver locations.

Get a mechanical check before you leave

Before you head off on your road trip, it’s a good idea to get a qualified mechanic to give your car a once over. So book a car service and get your tyre, battery, timing belt, fluid, air conditioning system and oil checked. 

Pack a first aid kit

Always be prepared to treat minor road trauma and other emergency situations you may encounter on your journey.

St John Ambulance has delivered first aid services to the Australian community since 1883. Made specially for road trips, their Motoring First Aid Kit contains a quick guide to emergency first aid, complete with step-by-step instructions on how to treat injuries.

Always carry extra food, water, medicine and other essentials in case of a delay or break down. 

Prepare to help any injured wildlife

You might also want to consider preparing for any injured wildlife you may encounter on your road trip by:

  • saving a rescue group's contact details, like WIRES in your phone
  • having towels or pillowcases in your car, in case you need to transport an injured animal to a vet
  • storing gloves in your car, which you can wear when you move an animal
  • keeping a can of spray paint, to help easily identify deceased animals.

Learn more about helping animals on the road

Monitor road conditions, closures and restrictions

Live Traffic NSW provides live updates and traveller information for NSW roads. This information includes current hazards and major events such as floods, roadworks, and traffic incidents.

Factor in additional travel time during peak times

With more cars on the road during school holiday, it’s a good idea to factor in additional travel time.

Speeding is still the biggest killer on our roads, so slow down. Enjoy your drive and don’t blow your licence. Double demerits apply during most holidays and long weekends.

Prepare your car for a snow trip

If you’re planning to drive in alpine conditions, consider if you need to fit snow chains to your car. 

Pack an appropriate emergency kit for snow trips that includes:

  • a torch
  • blanket
  • tow rope
  • spade
  • wheel chocks
  • plastic scraper (for scraping ice off the windscreen)
  • a first aid kit.

Adjust your speed and driving for the conditions. And when braking, do it gently and early, and accelerate slowly. 

Read more tips for driving in snow

Know ferry crossings capacities and limits in advance

There are a number of ferry crossings in NSW that carry vehicles, including at Berowra Waters, Mortlake, Sackville, Webbs Creek, Wisemans Ferry, Lawrence, Ulmarra, Speewa and Wymah. 

Check locations and availability of ferry services in advance.

Be outback savvy

Trips into the outback often involve long and isolated stretches of road, with patchy internet at best. So don’t rely on your smart phone for navigation and pack an old school paper map.

Other useful items to pack include:

  • a satellite phone, which you can hire
  • tools to dig yourself out of any mud or sand
  • at least 4 days of spare water.

And if your vehicle does get stuck in any mud or sand, please stay put, You'll be easier to see from the sky and you have a much better chance of being rescued.

Read the Royal Flying Doctor Service's outback survival guide

Consider travel insurance

While it’s probably the last thing on your mind, buying travel insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind. Domestic travel insurance typically covers you for things like rental car insurance excess, as well as lost and stolen luggage or personal belongings.