Take a break from the road this Easter

SES volunteer at a Driver Reviver stopEaster is egg hunts and church services for some of us, and a four-day break for many more of us in Victoria. It has all the makings of the perfect weekend getaway, and many of us will be getting in the car to do just that.

The Towards Zero partners and the SES will be on the roads too. VicRoads, Victoria Police and TAC will be out and about to help you enjoy the Easter break in different ways.

Victoria Police will again be spending the holiday keeping us safe by having a greater presence on the roads, with a priority on motorcycle activity. While VicRoads is setting up shop at the Bendigo Easter Festival sharing tips on how we can 'Travel Happy' and make our trips more enjoyable. At their marquee, they'll be giving away merchandise and chatting about current road projects and safety initiatives.

For those packing up the car for a road trip, TAC is working with the SES to perk up six of the busiest Driver Reviver stops. To encourage people to take a break, on offer at the pit stops will be free barista coffee and hot chocolate, a photo booth, handball and scratch card competitions and small touches for you to refresh like nice hand wash and rose water spray in the bathrooms. There will also be sausage sizzles raising money for the local SES units.

The six locations with activities and goodies are along some of Victoria's busiest roads and include Rochester, Maryborough, Drouin, Balmattum (Hume Hwy), Bacchus Marsh and Marong. If they're not on your way, there are over 40 other Driver Reviver stops throughout Victoria over Easter for you to take a break and recharge.

Find out more about the SES Driver Reviver stops here.

A map of the SES pit stops over Easter 2016Drowsy driving

If you're driving somewhere this weekend, be mindful that you may be tired after the working week and factor in driving breaks. Drowsiness is a symptom of fatigue which contributes to 16-20% of all crashes.  It affects our reaction time and concentration, and there is the very real risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

Sleep-inducing chemicals build up in our brains and eventually tip over, causing us to fall asleep. We have no control over when and where this can happen, and the feeling of fatigue can take over quickly.

Find out more about the science of sleep here.

Tips for Easter driving

Plan your trip and aim to get enough quality sleep before driving – regardless of whether the trip is a long or short one. A healthy adult needs on average between 7-9 hours of sleep to function properly.

If you're already on the road, and you feel drowsy, the best option is to pull over safely and have a 15-minute power nap.

Watch out for signs of fatigue when driving, such as:

  • Trouble remembering the last few kilometres driven; missing exits or traffic signs
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, hitting a shoulder rumble strip or difficulty maintaining a consistent, correct speed
  • Seeking stimulation to remain awake, like winding down the window or turning up the radio
  • Feeling sleepy
  • Frequent blinking, heavy eyelids or slow blinking
  • Eyes closing or going out of focus
  • Yawning, feeling restless & rubbing your eyes
  • Trouble keeping your head up or head nodding is a sign of severe drowsiness
  • The tendency to doze off when not active for a while; for example, when waiting in your car at the lights