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Volvo's top 10 safe driving trips for Easter long weekend

FOR many Australians Easter means packing the family into the car and heading off on a road trip to visit relatives or a favourite holiday destination.

But with more cars, caravans, trailers and boats travelling on the nation's highways, Easter is also of the busiest periods to be on the road. During the 2014 Easter long weekend 14 people died in car accidents across Australia.

"Accident statistics show that drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a crash during Easter because they are fatigued or in a hurry to get to their destination," Volvo Car Australia Technical Manager, David Pickett said.

Volvo Car Australia has released its top 10 safe driving tips to ensure that you and your family have a safe and enjoyable Easter on the road.

1. Check your tyre pressure when your tyres are cold, as under inflation of tyres can cause excessive tyre wear and tear. Correctly inflated tyres will also improve your fuel economy. Often overlooked is the spare tyre. It is also important to check that your spare tyre is installed and inflated to the correct pressure.

2. A loose object weighing 20kg in a 50 km/h frontal collision can carry the impact of an item weighing 1000kg, so your load must be secured correctly. It's a good idea to put any loose objects in the boot of the car or behind a cargo net. Position heavy items against the rear seat backrest. Volvo provides integrated mounting points to tie down heavy loads in all vehicles. In Volvo wagons and SUV's, use the supplied load net to separate the load from the passenger compartment.

3. Windscreens are an often overlooked component of safe driving. Check your wiper blades condition, noise, streaks or lines indicate a need for replacing Keep the screen clean - dirt, tree sap can deteriorate wiper blades. When you hand wash the car wash the wiper blades also. Fill your washer fluid & use a windscreen washer additive to help clean the screen and use when washing. Make sure the inside of your windows are clean especially for night or driving into the sun.

4. Ensure your lights are working for any night time driving you may do over the long weekend. It's also a good time to clean the lenses for maximum visibility.

5. If towing a trailer, boat or caravan, check the tow hitch and electrics, and brakes.

6. Stop every two hours for a 15 minute break. You can find rest stops on your route at Volvo's Driver Alert System can detect a fatiguing driver and will prompt the driver to rest. It is also good to share the driving whenever possible.

7. Never drink alcohol - even small quantities - before or during long trips

8. Minimise in-car distractions such as mobile phones - if you need to make or answer a call, pull over somewhere safe to do so. Volvo's Intelligent Driver Information System helps the driver prioritise the information in the car depending on the current driving situation. If necessary, IDIS steps in and delays incoming phone calls and other information until the driving situation is calmer.

9. Be aware of speed limits on unknown roads. Remember, double demerit points apply all Easter weekend.

10. Remember that everyone is in the same position as you. Don't get frustrated if you are stuck behind a caravan. Be patient and wait until you reach dual lanes or only overtake when it is 100% safe to do so.

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