A guest post for GoGet from finder.com.au – by Insurance Expert Richard Laycock

Road trips are a great way to see a new part of the city or countryside, and a great way to spend time with family and friends. They usually mean you’re off to explore somewhere fun, and to have an awesome time! But as well as having fun, having a safe road trip is super important.

One way to make a road trip safer is using a rental car. Now we admit, the range of rental cars can be overwhelming. Start by considering how many people are going and what kind of trip it is. From there the only question is what does your dream road trip vehicle looking like?

Next, you need to think about staying safe on the roads. From knowing where you’re going to checking your car’s road ready, the checklist can feel longer than it really is. Here are some tips for a safe road trip, to ensure your next lifelong memories are good ones!

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A couple in the front seat of a car enjoying a safe road trip while the sun shines through the windscreen

Check that the car is roadworthy

This is be a big one, and you can’t skip it. There are many factors to check, but a great bonus of hiring a car from a rental company is the pressure of this is not on you. They’ll check the car before you hire it and will guarantee it’s been fully serviced by a qualified mechanic. They’ll also have 24-hour roadside assistance if you get into any trouble.

If you’re not using a rental car, make sure you have your car serviced before your trip.

Share the driving time

Having to drive for the full road trip can be really dangerous, as well as being physically and mentally exhausting. Research shows almost all Australian households have a car, which makes our roads more congested and more dangerous. By having an second or third driver, you’ll be able to rest every two hours and stay safe on the roads.

Know where you’re going

Unless you’re a spontaneous person who likes to drive where the wind takes you (props to you if you are), you’ll probably want to have an idea of where you’re going. There are numerous maps and GPS devices available that let you to type in an address and give you directions on the go. Putting a passenger in charge of this is ideal, as you won’t have any extra distractions to worry about when driving.

A couple consulting a map to ensure a safe road trip

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Pack enough to tackle anything

Things can happen on road trips – good or bad. You could break down or get stuck in traffic for hours, so having emergency supplies is a road trip must. Remembering to pack everything – from snacks and water, to blankets and a first aid kit. It’s important to be prepared so you won’t get stuck in a bad situation.

Distractions are not your friend

Staying focused while driving is vitally important, especially when you’re driving someone else’s car. Distractions may come from eating while you’re driving, paying too much attention to a GPS, or even having loud music on.

Mobile phones are a huge distraction for drivers and are illegal to use while you’re behind the wheel. So, don’t use your mobile phone! It’s super dangerous and you could lose your licence for it.

Get your passengers to help, and if you feel overwhelmed don’t be afraid to say so. Staying alert is a top priority, so stay away from distractions that may be unsafe when driving.

A man driving and audio looking at his phone while he's driving - not a great way to ensure a safe road trip

Know how your insurance works

Most rental car companies will have you covered by their insurance when you hire a car. However, there are extra costs you could be liable for if you’re involved in an accident. These may increase based on your age or if you chose to lower your liability costs at the time of booking.

Also remember to ask about the insurance associated with multiple drivers at the time of hire. Sometimes only one person is covered under the rental insurance by default. Knowing this information beforehand could save you from a nasty surprise if you end up in an accident.

Most importantly, have a fun and safe road trip!

Road trips are a chance to see the world and explore somewhere new. They can be exhilarating, memorable and filled with fun and adventure! By taking these few simple steps, all your road trips will be safe road trips for years to come.

Richard Laycock insurance expert for finder.com.au

Richard Laycock is an insurance expert at finder.com.au.