Club trips often require members to travel extended distances by car. The following guidelines have been compiled to promote safety for drivers and passengers, and are relevant to the use of personal and university owned vehicles as used on club activities and trips.
Club members who hold a current drivers licence are aware of, and abide by, road laws. The following serves to supplement these laws and aims to ensure that all aspects of a trip are run as safely as possible.
It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that their vehicle is in good condition. UnRoadworthy vehicles should not be involved in club activities.
The owner’s knowledge of their vehicle should be used to convey relevant information to other members who drive the vehicle.
Trips often involve a number of vehicles departing from, and arriving at, a set location. Directions are to be discussed prior to departure. Discussions should also involve fuel availability, food, toilet, rest, and change of driver stops.
It is not the role of the driver, but rather the other passengers to manage this communication.
A number of club members are on their Probationary Licence. The club encourages all members to develop their driving skills and believes that club trips provide a good environment in which to promote safe driving techniques to junior members. However, inexperience must never jeopardise the safety of the trip. Leader discretion is required to determine the appropriateness of inexperienced drivers.
Split the Journey
Sharing the driving amongst the members on a trip will serve to reduce driver fatigue and is encouraged. Regular breaks for food and amenities are a good opportunity to achieve this. Selecting a safe section of road to stop and swap is most important. An awareness of the dangers of particular road scenarios should be noted. Where possible, roadside rest areas and car parks should be used to change drivers. Consideration should be given to the replacement driver’s lack of familiarity with a vehicle.
Drivers should be aware of any restrictions on their licence, particularly as it relates to manual vehicles, as well as speed limitations and regulations if holding an interstate licence.
A number of overseas students in the club are permitted to drive in their country of origin but their licence may not allow them to drive in Australia. Ensure compliance and understanding of Australian laws before allowing overseas students to drive a vehicle. Licenses issued overseas must be translated into English, and drivers under the age of 22 are not permitted to drive commercially hired vehicles. More details are available from the International Programmes Office at La Trobe.
Be aware of your vehicles insurance policy, and if not insured you must inform any subsequent drivers. If necessary notify the insurer that additional people will be driving your vehicle. The club strongly recommends that all cars are insured to cover third party damage as a minimum
Road and weather conditions should be considered. Respect for wildlife is also important. Particularly, an awareness of animal movement at dusk is necessary. Vehicle speed should be gauged accordingly.
Towing and Carrying Loads
Drivers should be aware of the limitations on their licence in relation to towing trailers. Experience is needed to tow a trailer when on a club trip. Roof racks must be of solid design and securely fitted to the vehicle. Their load capacity is to be observed and all loads are to be appropriately fastened. Ropes and Cam Straps are to be visually inspected and discarded when beginning to show signs of wear. Throughout the journey it pays to inspect the security of the load. Drivers should be aware of the effect of a load on their vehicles stopping distance and handling, and drive accordingly.
Passengers should be aware of the mental and physical state of their driver. Refraining from distracting the driver is in everyone’s interests. Passengers are useful as navigators and can undertake other roles to support the efforts of the driver. Passengers have the right to express their concern with a driver’s behaviour, suggest rest stops, suggest a change of driver, as well as serve as additional pairs of eyes and ears to alert the driver of dangers.
As with activity specific training, the club views driver training as an important consideration in the planning and running of a safe trip. The club may contribute towards the cost of training members as part of the club training program
Recommendations for extended trips
Change or rest drivers every 2 hours, and more frequently if heightened concentration is required, or fatigue is suspected. Be aware of driver fatigue, particularly at the end of a trip when all participants are tired. An action to counter this is to reduce the physical and mental burden towards the end of a trip on the designated drivers.
It may be helpful to remember the oft-cited statistic that the majority of mountaineering accidents occur not on the ascent, but on the descent from a mountain. With this in mind, a safely run trip must give consideration to the task of driving everyone home safely.
Driving in a range of environments is a skill that the club wishes to instil in its members. With consideration of the above guidelines, leader discretion will determine the suitability of vehicle, driver, and load for the trip undertaken.
** Calculation of transport costs**
Car-sharing and petrol money guidelines
1. The driver works out how much petrol has been used on the trip and converts this into dollars.
2. The driver then multiplies this number by 1.5 to take into account car maintenance and annual costs (eg. insurance, registration, servicing etc)
3. The driver divides the total dollars by the number of people in the car. This is the amount of money each person should pay the driver (in effect the driver also pays himself).
Example: Three people (two passengers and the driver) share one car and the total petrol cost for the trip comes to $90.
$90 x 1.5 = $135. This is total amount owed the driver.
135 divided by 3 = $45. This is the amount that each person should pay the driver