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Route Planning Options for Safe Driving

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 18 Jun 2013 | comments*Discuss
Route Car Itinerary Planning A Route

Plan a route before you go on a long trip and you'll help both your time management and your safety. If you know where you're going and how to get there - even roughly - prior to taking to the road, your trip should go more smoothly. With so many different ways now of planning trips, it’s easy to be organized on the road and always know where you’re going.

Staying Safe and Route Planning

If you're planning a route for a long trip, there are a few things to keep in mind that will keep you safe on the road. Knowing how long you plan to travel can help you plot your rest points, meaning you don't go too long without a break. There are various road trip calculators online. These will give you a rough idea of how long a particular trip is going to take. Driving when tired is a common hazard of long trips, dozing off (micro sleeping ) for a split second can cost a driver and other road users their lives. Utilise the following tips to ensure safe driving through good route planning:

  • Never plan to drive for longer than you can sustain total awareness (this will differ person to person) - as a general rule take a break at least every 2 to 3 hours
  • Don't be afraid to come off schedule if you become weary and you have not driven for as long as your itinerary dictates. Remember you dictate the itinerary and not the other way around.
  • Always let a third party know where you are leaving from and where you're heading to. If possible include an approximate arrival time. This means if something unexpected occurs someone will be aware of your rough location.

Different Ways to Plan a Route

Planning the route of an unfamiliar journey is common sense, so it is amazing how many people fail to do just that. Even if you have satellite navigation in your vehicle, it never hurts to take a look at the trip plan on a regular map and get an idea of times, stoppage and other things along the way. There are a number of ways to plan your route to help you get to your destination safely.

  • Satellite Navigation - Sat nav systems are fairly cheap now and can be bought separately from the car or may come as part of the car system. Use them, but always have a back up as previously mentioned.
  • Mobile Phones - Many mobile phones now have satellite navigation built in and this can be handy as it’s not only a great way to plan a route safely, but also means you can use your phone if you have any problems.
  • Maps and Road Atlases - It can be a good idea to keep with you an up to date road atlas as these will feature rest stops and petrol stops as well as roads.
  • The internet - use an online route planning service and print it off or access it from your mobile device to keep an overview of where you're up to.

Check Your Fuel Gauge and Car Items

Part of route planning safety is knowing how much fuel you'll have and ensuring you don't run out. Plan your fuel stops into your journey. If you're driving across large rural terrain and your fuel goes below half full - fill up as soon as see a petrol station rather than waiting for the next one.

Here are a few things to keep in your car during a long trip: map/sat nav etc; blanket/towel; mobile phone; money including some coins; some energy food such as muesli bars and plenty of water.

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