How to avoid a disaster on a Queensland road trip this autumn

Safety tips for your car, passengers and tyres in Brisbane

Tyres in Brisbane’s changing weather conditions can cause problems if they’re not well maintained. Now that autumn is here, one of Queenslanders’ favourite pastimes is an Easter road trip. Perhaps down to the Gold Coast for some rest and relaxation, or into the outback for a family adventure.

Before you head off, prepare your tyres, car, and yourself. Keep your passengers safe and your car on the road with these tips:

Check your vehicle

Vehicle maintenance should be a routine. But before a trip, give your vehicle an extra vigorous once-over:

  • Start with the tyres. Brisbane’s roads can be fickle in the autumn. Make sure your tyres have the correct tread depth. Check the tyre pressure, and ensure every tyre is correctly inflated.
  • Next, check your fluids – brake and clutch, oil, transmission, coolant, and water.
  • Check your lights – front and rear. Replace bulbs where needed. Pack spare bulbs for the trip.
  • Check your windscreen wipers and washer fluid. Pack a spare bottle of fluid.
  • Get your head under the bonnet and check your fan belt, coolant hoses, and battery.

Check your emergency supplies

Whether you’re driving down the coast or into the bush, be prepared for any emergency. Here are the essentials you can’t afford to be without:

  • A first aid kit
  • Water – if you break down in the outback, you’ll need around 4 litres of water per person, per day.
  • Food – pack some high-energy emergency rations
  • Maps and a compass – Sat Navs have a habit of failing when you most need them
  • Blankets – it gets cold at night

Don’t forget other essentials for your vehicle: a toolkit; fire extinguisher; two ropes; two spare wheels.

Oh, and, just in case, take a shovel and toilet paper.

Check your vehicle recovery strap

If you get bogged down in the bush, you’ll rely on your recovery strap to get you out of trouble and back on your journey. Since 2003, there have been at least two deaths in Queensland because of unsafe use of motor vehicle recovery straps (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission).

Check the Product Safety Australia website for details about the type of straps you need for your vehicle, and how to use them safely. Or come into our West Brisbane tyre shop, have your tyres thoroughly checked and we’ll help you with your snatch straps.

What if you run into trouble on the road?

If you’ve checked your tyres, hopefully, you won’t have a tyre blow-out. But if you do, here’s what to do:

  • Don’t panic
  • Hold the steering wheel in two hands and compensate for the pull
  • Take your foot off the accelerator
  • Don’t brake immediately
  • When the vehicle is under control, brake gently
  • Pull over in a safe place and stop

Drive safe in floods

Although the worst of the rain should be over, there’s always a chance of flooding. It may take a few days for floodwater to rise. A flash flood could take minutes. Here’s what you should do to stay safe in flooding:

  • Never drive on roads which are closed.
  • If the floodwater has started to recede, stay off the road until it has been reopened. It could be damaged, and until it’s dry that damage won’t be known fully.
  • Even when a road is reopened, drive slowly and carefully – a road that is drying out can be slippery and damage developing slowly.
  • Floods cause landslides, so stay wary when driving after flooding. A landslide could happen hours or days after a flood.

Road trip or not, don’t neglect your tyres

Brisbane’s roads can be unpredictable in the autumn. Your tyres may have suffered during the heat of the summer. The rubber could have been impaired. Tread may be worn. As summer drifts into autumn, it’s time to get your tyres checked and rotate them. Rotating your tyres can increase their lifespan.

Bring your vehicle in our West Brisbane tyre shop. We’ll check the tread, and make sure there is no dangerous damage to the sidewalls. We can check the wheel alignment and balance, too. This will make sure that your tyres wear evenly and give you a safer and more comfortable driving experience.

If you want tyre advice, contact us (by Skype, telephone, or on our contact form) to get expert advice at our Brisbane tyre shop.

Keeping your family and fleet safely on the road,

Kevin Wood

About the Author

Kevin has been at the forefront of the tyre industry for over 20 years. Kevin's speciality is in industrial and commercial tyres including the management and upkeep of fleets. Kevin has worked with vehicles his whole career from painting, mechanical, suspension and panel beating he has also spent time in the Australia Army as a driver. He has driven all size of vehicles throughout his career so understands the demands placed on drivers.