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Driving long distance. Expert tips to keep you safe
Singapore may have a surprising 3,400 kms of road, but it’s not the Australian outback. On the Little Red Dot, a road trip is never going to last from sunrise to sunset. And there are no kangaroos to worry about.
When you live in our busy city, the idea of an open road - with countryside stretching to the far horizon - may be just what you are looking for.
The open road certainly inspired one US couple, they completed the longest road trip everrrr in September 2016. They drove more than 29,500 miles through 39 US states, breaking the world record held by four friends who had driven 22,407 miles through India. Intrepid!
You may not want to break long distance driving records, but driving outside of Singapore puts you in a different league. Here’s our expert tips for staying fresh, and safe, behind the wheel.
Get the best from your road trip
- Protect your trip. Before you leave, make sure you have your International Driving Permit and Budget Direct Insurance documents with you.
- Car hire checks. Ask the hire company talks you through any features you are unsure of. Your car's fluid levels, brakes and tires should all have been checked but best to cast your eye over these before driving off. Know where the spare tire is, check it is fully inflated and that you have jump leads and extra wiper fluid. Know what to do if the vehicle breaks down.
Important safety tips for driving in snow here
- Plan ahead. Part of the excitement of a road trip is being able to spontaneously change plans. If you’re travelling with kids, or at peak travel times, you may want to book accommodation at sensible distances along the route. Do your homework and make sure you have popular ferries or activities booked ahead. You don’t want to rock up and find everything is full #notanadventure!
- In car entertainment. Load up your phone or ipad with entertainment options, children get bored with scenery and will need some diversions. Make sure your rental car and your technology are compatible. Rent or buy a local sat-nav, or get familiar with the one in your hire car. A good map and guidebook are invaluable for spotting good detours.
- Take head pillows and blankets for your passengers or children to nap. The driver should take regular breaks. Never drive when tired.
- Emergency kit. Carry a flashlight, protective clothing, water and food. Keep your phone charged and pack a medical kit.
- Watch your petrol or diesel gauge. You may want to pre-load an app or bookmark websites that show you where to get the best deal on fuel.
- Start your day early. You will be less tired, the road will be quieter and you’ll have time to check out places before they get busy.
- Pack light. A road trip is the definition of moving around. You don’t want to be struggling with overloaded suitcases in and out of hotels and B&Bs.
- Keep the car clean. You’ll be spending lots of time in the vehicle and it’s no fun sitting in yesterday’s mess!
Top ten international road trips – where would you go?
These are the ultimate international road trips recommended by National Geographic.
- Amalfi Coast, Italy
- Backroads of Provence, France
- Central Greece
- Champagne, France
- Cornwall, England
- The Flower Route, Netherlands
- Pirate Route, Jamaica
- New Zealand’s North Island
- Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland