Top tips for a safe (and happy) road trip

Top tips for a safe and happy road tripWith Easter just around the corner, many of us make the most of the extra-long weekend and head away for a quick break.

Of course you’ve booked the accommodation and packed your clothes, but have you forgotten the most important thing of all?

Staying safe on the roads.
Be prepared

Road trips can be fun, but not if you end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. That’s why it pays to be prepared before you hit the road. To ensure your safety you should:

  • Get your car serviced beforehand
  • Ensure you have a spare tyre and that it is not flat
  • Pack a first-aid kit and torch for emergencies
  • Ensure you are well rested before driving
  • Tell someone where you are going, and when you are due to arrive back home.

 

When you’re on the road

If you’ve ever travelled over the Easter period, you know the roads are extra busy. While everyone is keen to get to their destination, it’s no time to forget basic road safety. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of an accident.

  1. Leave enough room
    Maintain a two-second gap between you and the vehicle ahead, regardless of the speed you are driving. If it is raining or foggy, double this gap to four seconds.You should be able to clearly see the bottom of the rear tyres of the vehicle in front of you when you stop in traffic.
  1. Keep left
    Stay on the left hand side of the road unless you are overtaking. Generally, the right hand lane is for overtaking or turning right.
  1. Indicate early
    Indicate 30 metres before turning or changing lanes, to let other drivers know your intentions.
  1. Stop when required and obey signs
    Stop at all stop lights and signs, ensuring your car remains behind the thick stop line. Obey all road signs, including speed limits. Even going a little over the limit increases your risk of a collision or accident.
  1. Take care when overtaking
    When overtaking, ensure you have plenty of room to overtake. Don’t cut off other drivers when moving back to the left. Instead, go well past the overtaken vehicle before moving to the left. Never overtake on blind corners, or on double lines.
  1. Drive smoothly
    Avoid sudden braking, accelerating and lane changes. These things increase the risk of having accidents and make the trip quite unpleasant for your passengers.
  1. Be alert
    Everyone makes mistakes sometimes (e.g. forgetting to indicate, or failing to give way). Expect the unexpected and constantly monitor traffic flow, as well as what other drivers around you are doing.
  2. Respect others
    Be patient and courteous on the road. You are not the only one using it. Be aware of pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and heavy vehicles while driving.
  3. Stay off your phone
    Avoid using your phone unless you can do so without touching any part of it. Doing so while driving is illegal. Instead, ensure your phone is secured in a commercially designed holder fixed to the vehicle.
  1. Do not drive under the influence
    Never drive a car while intoxicated or under the influence of hard drugs. Remember, some medications can make you drowsy so avoid taking them, or get someone else to drive if you need to take them.

 

Travelling with kids

Family road trips can be an opportunity for some quality time together — or they can turn in to the trip from hell. Here are some ideas to help the trip go smoothly.

  • Take regular breaks and allow plenty of time for toilet stops.
  • Remember, small children often need to go to the toilet ‘immediately’, so ensure you keep asking if they need to go, particularly when you are in the vicinity of public toilets.
  • Restrain children and pets appropriately.
  • Pack healthy snacks and plenty of water for the trip.
  • Prepare a few games you can play together as a family.
  • Drawing, writing or reading in the car can cause car sickness, so avoid those activities if your children are prone.
  • If your children do suffer from car sickness, administer travel medicine BEFORE you leave. Speak to your pharmacist for the most appropriate medication.
  • Have a bucket handy — just in case!
  • Set up some DVD players so children can watch DVDS, particularly on a long trip.
  • If your children are becoming restless or bored, pull over and let the kids stretch their legs. Throwing a Frisbee and getting them to burn off some energy is a great idea.
  • Stay calm and avoid yelling at kids while driving. If things have gone pear-shaped, pull over and calmly talk to them or just take a break for 10 minutes.

Take extra care on the road this Easter. Your primary concern should be to get to your destination safely. Happy travels!

 

 

 

 

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Endometriosis — what you need to know

illustration of woman and yellow ribbon for EndometriosisDuring March, you may see many women wearing yellow. March into Yellow is a movement aimed at raising awareness of and starting a conversation about a condition that affects between five to ten per cent of menstruating women around Australia — endometriosis.

 

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis (pronounced en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is disorder where tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. This endometrial tissue grows within the pelvic region, often affecting the ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining the pelvis.

This tissue acts just like the tissue within the uterus — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because there is no way for this tissue to leave the body, it becomes trapped, often causing pain. Sometimes surrounding tissue can become irritated and may develop scar tissue and adhesions, which bind organs together.

Endometriosis can be extremely painful and may cause infertility. Unfortunately, the exact cause is unknown.

 

What are the symptoms

The symptoms of endometriosis can vary, depending upon where endometrial tissue is located. Typical symptoms may include:

  • Painful periods
  • Pelvic and abdominal pain, not related to menstruation
  • Heavy periods, clotting, long periods, irregular periods or premenstrual spotting
  • Ovulation pain
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain during urination
  • Pain in the lower back, thigh or leg
  • Bowel problems including painful bowel motions, diarrhoea, constipation or bleeding from the bowel
  • Trouble getting pregnant.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, speak to your doctor. You may not have endometriosis, but it is worth investigating, particularly if the quality of your life is suffering.

 

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

Unfortunately, an accurate diagnosis of endometriosis can take some time, with the average length of time between onset of symptoms and diagnosis being seven years. This is because some women may feel that their symptoms are a normal part of their menstrual cycle. Sometimes doctors may initially attribute symptoms to other conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, fibroids, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, cystitis or stomach ulcers.

Diagnosis is made via a laparoscopy — a surgical procedure involving inserting a long, thin telescope (laparoscope) into the abdomen through a cut near the navel. Gas is pumped into the abdomen to separate the organs, enabling the surgeon to look for signs of endometriosis.

Endometriosis is classified in stages from stage one (mild) to stage four (severe), according to its location and depth.

 

How is it treated?

There are many options for treatment, all of which are based on the severity of symptoms, location of the displaced endometrial tissue, the woman’s age and the outcome the woman wishes for (e.g. improved fertility, pain relief)

There are three main ways to treat endometriosis:

  1. Medications, including hormonal and non-hormonal treatments
  2. Surgical treatment to remove endometrial lesions and adhesions
  3. Complementary treatments including physiotherapy, acupuncture, herbal remedies, nutrition, homeopathy and clinical psychology to assist with pain relief.

 

What can you do?

There are several things you can do to help raise the awareness of endometriosis.

You can wear yellow durimarch into yellowng March to start a conversation, or head on over to March Into Yellow  to change your profile picture to yellow for the month.

You can share information about endometriosis via your social media platforms.

You can take up the March into Yellow Challenge and ask friends and families to sponsor you, to help raise funds for awareness, education and research.

 

For further information about endometriosis, visit Endometriosis Australia

To get involved visit March into Yellow.