In 2018 there were 354 fatalities on NSW roads. That’s 354 too many. There’s also too many of that number that come from The Hunter.
While our roads and cars are getting safer every year, there are still too many of us being injured or killed whilst driving. With more and more traffic on our local roads courtesy of more happening in the mining industry, we thought it was time to remind you of things to consider before hitting the road.
FIGHT OFF Fatigue
The Hunter has really opened up in recent years with the Newcastle Expressway and it’s never been easier to commute to work in the mines. Long hours of shift work and long hours behind the wheel are a recipe for disaster. Caffeine and breaks might temporarily help but there is no substitute for sleep. If you’re tired take a 20-minute nap before you leave work to help make sure you get home safely.
TAKE SOME Training
Nearly all crashes are due to driver error. In rural areas, the most common crashes are at intersections followed by losing control or veering off a straight road. Other common causes are rear ending, crashes involving pedestrians, changing lanes and head ons.
Advanced driver training, defensive driving, safer drivers’ courses, there are plenty of different types of training available that can improve your driving skills and reduce risks. When it comes to training there’s no such thing as too much, regardless of your age or years behind the wheel.
Don’t be distracted
Driving is a complex task. Anything that takes your mind or eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel not only compromises your safety, but that of everyone else on the road. It’s not just your mobile phone that’s the issue, but eating, smoking, playing with music devices, even talking on hands free. It’s all going to increase your chances of having a crash. Keep your focus where it counts.
KEEP YOUR VEHICLE SAFE
Regular maintenance is incredibly important in keeping you safe as even a small fault could cost lives. In addition to seat belts and airbags, consider safety features like reversing alarms, cameras and proximity sensors.
When buying a car check its safety rating. The ratings, between 1 and 5 stars, are based on how well the vehicle protects you in a crash. Your choice of car can be the difference between you surviving or being killed.
WATCH OUT FOR ANIMALS
With the drought causing feed and water levels to fall, more wildlife and livestock are wandering onto roads than ever before.
Watch out for temporary warning signs. Animals are more active near waterholes and are harder to see at sunrise and sunset. Animals are extremely unpredictable and can move fast, so always slow down even if you can’t see any. Although it goes against instinct, it is safer to hit an animal than swerve and lose control of your vehicle.
DRIVE TO CONDITIONS
Always adjust the way you drive in weather. Wear sunglasses on sunny days, slow down when it’s wet or icy and leave extra distance in front for safe braking. Always use headlights on low beam to help other road users see you in overcast and wet conditions. Keep your wipers in good condition as whether it’s smearing bug carcasses off your window or driving in rain, they can make all the difference.
CHECK YOUR EYES
Many crashes are caused by poor vision. Regular eye checks are incredibly important as eyesight can deteriorate quickly and without notice. If you’re struggling to read signposts or licence plates than you probably shouldn’t be driving without glasses or contact lenses.