What NOT to do on a road trip

A road safety reminder for your self-drive holiday.

When you spend hours travelling on the road it’s easy to forget about road safety.

The discomfort of sitting down for long periods of time can cause drivers and passengers to become complacent about their safety and lead them to break the law.

To ensure you are safe on your next self-drive holiday avoid these behaviours during your next road trip. 

Not wearing a seatbelt

You should always wear a seatbelt no matter how far you are travelling. Even at low speed crashes, failing to wear a seatbelt can result in serious injury or death. The penalty in Queensland for not wearing a seatbelt is a $400 fine and three demerit points for both drivers and passengers aged 16 years or older. The driver is responsible for ensuring that all passengers are wearing a seatbelt correctly.

Putting your feet up on the dashboard

It might be comfortable at the time but putting your feet up on the dashboard of your car while travelling can cause serious injury or death in the event of a crash. Upon impact, the frontal airbags are deployed from inside the dashboard which can push the passenger’s legs directly into their face causing multiple injuries.

Letting passengers recline their chair

Some of the benefits of sharing a road trip with someone is the company and the ability to take turns behind the wheel. However, letting your passenger recline their chair too far to take a nap could cost you. While there is no specific offence for letting passengers recline their chair for a nap the penalty could be a $400 fine if the person does not have their seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened.

Playing loud music

Blasting the latest hits from your stereo might keep you entertained during a long road trip, but it can also block out vital surrounding sounds such as another vehicle’s horn or sirens from an emergency vehicle.

Dirty number plates

Cars can get dirty, especially when driving in the outback or off-road, so it’s important for drivers to ensure their number plates are both clearly legible and visible. Failing to clean or correctly position number plates can result in a hefty $427 fine.

Skipping rest stops

Fatigue is one of the top five factors contributing to road crashes in Queensland. A road trip should be about taking the scenic route, stopping for a meat pie at a local bakery, pulling over to take a photo of a sunset or simply enjoying the company of your passengers. Too often drivers become fatigued behind the wheel when attempting to get from point A to B in a hurry. RACQ recommends planning your trip using our interactive trip planner to include rest stops – at least one 15-minute break for every two hours of driving.  It is also recommended that drivers avoid driving for more than 8-10 hours in a day, and that they do not drive at times when they would normally be asleep.


RACQ with the Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) have launched a distracted driver campaign to provide genuine solutions to motorists who feel the need to use their mobile phone while driving. The campaign encourages drivers to ‘Before you drive – Set your phone, then leave it alone’ by using the Do Not Disturb While Driving setting on their mobile phone. Find out more.