Despite COVID-19 lockdowns, Free Cuppa for the Driver scheme still a success in Upper Hunter

WINNER: Upper Hunter road safety officer Alison Balding presents the owner of Kashas Coffee Lounge in Muswellbrook, Jenn McFarlane, with a $200 gift card.
WINNER: Upper Hunter road safety officer Alison Balding presents the owner of Kashas Coffee Lounge in Muswellbrook, Jenn McFarlane, with a $200 gift card.

THE multi-award winning Free Cuppa for the Driver scheme will return even bigger and better next year.

The initiative provides a free hot beverage to motorists, who have travelled more than 100 kilometres from the address on their driver's licence, to prevent fatigue-related crashes.

Although the program itself finished at the end of May, random prize draws for various competitions were conducted online last month.

Free Cuppa for the Driver offers a prize valued at $600 to a driver who claimed a "free cuppa" and completed a driver entry form, and prizes valued at $400 to participating businesses who filled out a survey on the scheme.

Congratulations to the winners in 2020:

* Kasha's Coffee Lounge in Muswellbrook and The Church Block Café in Bathurst, who both won participating business prizes

* Leonie Prime, who had a free cuppa at Coffee on Kiewa in Manildra, won the driver's prize

The winning entries were drawn online using random software by Moree Plains Shire Council road safety officer Renee McMillan.

The Free Cuppa for the Driver team would like to thank all drivers who had a break as well as the participating businesses themselves - and everyone else who supported the scheme.

This year, the Upper Hunter had 16 businesses participate, including:

  • Café Munchies, Muswellbrook
  • Double Picc, Muswellbrook
  • BP, Muswellbrook
  • Kasha Coffee Lounge, Muswellbrook
  • Caltex, Muswellbrook
  • The Bar, Scone
  • The Cottage, Scone
  • Scone Visitor Information Centre, Scone
  • Crowded House Café, Scone
  • BP Scone North
  • BP Merriwa
  • BP Roadhouse, Murrurundi
  • Life of Pie, Murrurundi
  • Take A Break Café, Murrurundi
  • Dooleys Foodworks, Murrurundi
  • Nelliebelles Cakes and Bakes, Murrurundi

Upper Hunter road safety officer Alison Balding said 2020 was a challenging time for the scheme and a very tough time for local businesses.

"Despite coronavirus (COVID -19) lockdowns and several cafés closing temporarily, Free Cuppa businesses in the Upper Hunter gave away 273 coffees, predominately to essential workers," she explained.

"As this is only the second year the Upper Hunter has been involved in the scheme, it was very encouraging.

"And, even though Free Cuppa for the Driver has finished for 2020, drivers should still apply strategies to prevent becoming tired while driving."

One strategy can be factoring in breaks when planning long distance trips which can be at driver rest areas, cafés or Driver Reviver sites.

An interactive map which shows rest areas in NSW can be found by searching for 'rest areas' on the Roads and Maritime Services website www.rms.nsw.gov.au

Other strategies to prevent driving tired include:

  • Stop in a safe spot or rest area and have a 20 minute nap if early signs of fatigue are noticed, that is yawning, heavy eyes and/or poor concentration
  • Share the driving on long distance trips
  • Get a good night's sleep
  • Avoid driving at night when your body will naturally want to sleep
  • Avoid long drives after work
  • Find out if any medicine you are taking may affect your driving

Businesses interested in participating in the scheme next year can sign up for Free Cuppa 2021 via the website www.freecuppa.com.au

For more information about Free Cuppa for the Driver, visit the website or contact Upper Hunter road safety officer Alison Balding at abalding@upperhunter.nsw.gov.au

This story Free Cuppa for the Driver returning in 2021 first appeared on Muswellbrook Chronicle.