How to get road trip-ready
With sunny days here, you might be thinking it’s time to spin the wheels and head off to the nearest beach.
If you’re one of the many thousands of Kiwis who loves a good summertime road trip, here’s some tips on how to make it a successful one.
Give your car the once over
You might have filled the gas tank, and have your warrant of fitness and registration all in order – but is your car ready for a smooth ride?
Make sure your tyres are in good condition and have the right amount of air in them. Tyres can deflate just with driving around town – so save yourself the risk of a flat, or just reduce the drag and save on petrol, by getting them to the right PSI. Don’t forget about the spare tyre too – before it’s buried under your luggage in the back.
Check you also have water in the wiper tank to clear off the dust and bugs and check your oil too. Lastly, it’s a good idea to check all your lights, including indicators, are working.
Check your insurance
It’s not about just making sure that the premiums are up to date – you need to understand your insurance policy and what is and isn’t covered. For example, you may not be covered if you leave it unlocked in a public place. Check any named drivers as well; if you have a teenager in the family that is licenced to drive, you’ll need to let your insurer know if you intend letting them practice on the road trip. Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy at all times. Insurance and Financial Services Ombudsman Karen Stevens says “Claims can be declined because the car is unsafe or un-roadworthy – even if it had a warrant”.
Know how you’re getting there
While tools such as Google Maps are great for giving directions, they might not be as up to date with the traffic or road conditions. Check that the route you plan on taking is still open; there have been several landslips in New Zealand lately that have cut off popular highways.
Also, some times are busier than others; do some research on busy times on the road, and plan your trip to avoid peak times and queues.
Keep the gas tank full
Nothing causes more stress to a driver than the orange fuel light. Avoid the guessing game of will we make it or not, and budget for filling up each time you start to get low. Having your car full – or half full if you encounter lengthy detours due to an unexpected event – will give you a much more relaxing start to your holiday.
Plan for stops and delays
While you might be planning to get to your destination as quick as possible to make the most of your time away, New Zealand roads might not make this possible and safety is paramount. Major roadworks on many state highways, coupled with passing lanes being restricted, you could be faced with stress-inducing delays.
Allow plenty of time on your journey to stop and enjoy the scenery – after all, it’s part of the fun of the road trip.
What’s your Plan B
Roadside assistance, whether through AA or your insurance company, has helped hundreds of motorists get back on their way again – even if they are off the beaten track. Check you have roadside assist in your insurance – or perhaps get an AA membership – to give you peace of mind that if you get a flat tyre, or worse. You have back-up to help you get back on your way again.
Like to discuss your options?
If you are looking for a car loan to buy your next road trip ride, and would like to learn more about your options, please get in touch.