TAKE COMMAND: 9 easy things to consider before going on a road trip
Summer is fast approaching, and with the warmer weather brings endless opportunities to take an Isuzu D-MAX or MU-X on a much-earned, adventure-filled road trip. There is no denying that Isuzu UTE Australia loves a good road trip—a notion fuelled by our regular I-Venture Club trips where we see all the great sights this country has to offer, alongside keen Isuzu drivers. Luckily for all of us, there are certainly plenty of coastlines, bushland and endless tarmac strips throughout this sunburnt country to put our Isuzus to the test.
We get it though, trips like these can be a daunting prospect—there is almost always a hefty list of things to do before hitting the road. To help take some pressure off your shoulders, we have prepared this simple list for you based on our experience, of some essential things to think about before going on a road trip.
1. PLANNING YOUR ROUTE
If you’re planning for a road trip, you must have some idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. To ensure your trip is free of hassle and stress, we recommend conducting a bit of research to guide you along your journey.
Identifying some key points of interest that exist between you and your destination will help you formulate a rough idea of the roads you would like to take—ensuring you take the best route to experience the fascinating sights along the way. Mapping this out will also help you to determine whether it is wise to pack some extra fuel for the journey, in case you end up heading well and truly off the beaten track. After all, if you’re going to the effort of driving instead of flying, why not make the most of it, and do it at your own pace?
So before you head off, make sure you actually know your way, because no matter what direction on the map you are heading, your trip may very well start to head south if you are not properly prepared.
2. SLEEPING IN STYLE
Doing it your own way brings us to our next point—accommodation. Whether you have a swag in the back, a canopy atop or are looking to indulge your hard-worked earnings into a 5-star retreat, booking a spot to stay in advance might be a good idea, especially if you are travelling during a peak season.
Once you know where you are sleeping, make sure you actually do manage to get some sleep. Road trips are long and can be dangerous if you are sleep deprived—be sure to make stops and rest along the way if need be, giving yourself plenty of time to set-up or check-in to get a full night of shut-eye for the safety of yourself and others.
3. MAINTAIN FOR THE TERRAIN
Maintenance. It can be a tedious one. But it’s also the one thing that can guarantee vehicle longevity. Long story short, if you have looked after your machine, she (or he) will be raring to look after you on your trip. Before heading on a long trip, make sure to check fluids (oil and coolant), lights, windshield wipers and washer fluid and even your seating position (including mirrors and steering wheel).
Ensuring all your maintenance is up to date will mean you are ready to tackle any terrain along the way—whether that be the warm tarmac, the slippery sand or a tumultuous rocky incline, your D-MAX or MU-X will be more than ready for that road trip of a lifetime.
4. DON’T TYRE OUT YOUR TREAD
After taking a look over these items inside the cabin and under the hood, your next best bet would be to pay close attention to the rubber on your tyres. One of the key aspects for accident prevention in Australia (and coincidentally one of the most neglected) is tyre condition. Whether that has to do with the tread left on it, the pressure within it or the type of tyre you currently have vs what you will need, checking your tyres is a must-do before hitting the road.
If you aren’t an expert when it comes to checking tyres, take a read of one of our previous articles to make sure you are in the know. If after reading this, you think your tyres (or anything else for that matter) have not had a thorough check-up for a little bit, make the most of Isuzu UTE’s comprehensive Service Plus Program and bring it up with your Isuzu UTE dealer at your next service—not only keeping your vehicle happy, but also your wallet!
5. SAFE AND SECURE
So you’re just about ready to head off, and you have finally figured out everything you are going to need to take to keep this show on the road. Literally. No matter your destination, the items you pack into the back of your D-MAX or MU-X are the tools that are going to help get you there, making it essential that your belongings are safe and secure—for your own peace of mind and the safety of other travellers following behind you.
One way to do this is to make sure everything you have in the back of your vehicle is going to stay there. This is a fairly easy concept for the MU-X, all you really have to do is make sure all doors are closed—unless of course you have your belongings atop the cabin. Same goes for the D-MAX. If they are up top, invest in quality tie-down straps that are going to stay tight.
For securing the contents of your ute load, Isuzu UTE offers a number of accessory options that may assist you. If you’re looking to put your belongings away under lock and key, you would consider a Hard Tonneau Cover, a Canopy or a Roller Tonneau Cover. Alternatively, you can always go for a Soft Tonneau cover, or at the very least, use your tie-downs to ensure they aren’t rolling around freely in the back.
You can now drive off into the sunset knowing everything you are going to need will stay there. However, it is good practice to periodically check on your payload, ensuring that nothing has come loose. Onward to adventure!
6. KNOW HOW TO TOW
If you are planning on making great use of the D-MAX’S 3.5-tonne towing or the MU-X’s 3-tonne towing this summer, it is important to remember that towing will change the way you usually drive, making it essential that you are fully prepared for what the haul may bring.
Previously we have provided some top tips for towing off-road and insight on How To Avoid Trailer Sway, so if you are looking for some extra tricks to stay in the know, check out this extra information. But to put it simply, don’t tackle obstacles too fast, ensure you are braking corners early, pack your load so the weight is distributed equally and remember, when it comes to towing, slow and steady will always win the race!
7. DRIVE TO THE CONDITIONS—NOT THE SPEED LIMIT
We’re sure we have all been there—to that moment where you catch a bit of slip on a wet road, suddenly see the 4”x 6” glossies of your life flash before your eyes before telling yourself “but I wasn’t even driving over the speed limit”. Which brings us to one of the most important pieces of advice we can give—drive to the conditions, not the speed limit!
There will be times where the conditions require you to adapt as a driver—if you are driving on the dirt, be aware that things can get a little sketchy even at the posted speed limit and if the tarmac is holding a bit of moisture after a night of heavy rainfall, take into account that the roads will be slippery, despite what the speed limit may be.
It is all up to you to decide on the right action to take based on your circumstances—just make sure you do consider the road conditions, and know the ways you may need to adapt your driving.
8. TAKE COMMAND
Now it is time to take command of your journey—Terrain Command, that is. All 4x4 D-MAX’s and MU-X’s are fitted with the ability to turn the Terrain Command dial and select the most appropriate drive mode you will need for certain terrains.
If you are in fact heading up the highway, ‘2H’ is going to be your best bet for those tarmac strips. If you are thinking you want to venture off the beaten track, and decide to take a dirt-track route, switch over to 4WD with ‘4H’—which can be done at any speed up to 100km/h. And for the adventurous type—if you are wanting to go ‘all out’ on this trip, and decide to tackle some deeper, softer sand, or some steep, rocky inclines, stop, get into neutral and turn over to ‘4L’. Now that you know which drive mode to engage for what surface, you are equipped to handle anything the trip could throw at you!
9. OPEN TO ADVENTURE
While it is important to consider the technicalities of going on a road trip, one overarching piece of advice we can give to you is, well, have fun! Plan where you would like to go, but also remember to never let a spontaneous discovery pass you by. Be flexible and open-minded to experience the amazing sights or off-road adventures that may unexpectedly arise along the way. After all, that is what going your own way is all about.
Taking command of your adventures has never been so simple in an Isuzu D-MAX or MU-X. With a 5-star ANCAP safety rating, the grunt of the 3.0L turbo diesel engine, superior fuel efficiency and countless other tools and features, there is no denying that you have the best companion to accompany you on your route—wherever that road may take you.
With these 9 easy tips, you are now more than ready to tackle any terrain and experience the myriad of beautiful sights this country has to offer—all there is left to do now is hit the road, and ‘Go Your Own Way’.