Around 1,200 people are killed each year on Australia’s roads and about 40,000 are seriously injured. Do you need a reminder on how to stay safe on our roads?
FIGHT OFF Fatigue
Long hours of shift work and long hours behind the wheel are a recipe for disaster. Fatigue-related crashes are twice as likely to be fatal as drivers who are asleep can’t brake. 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. 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. 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 seatbelts 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
It’s estimated that 10 million animals die on Australian roads every year and approximately 3% of crashes in regional areas are the result of impact collisions with wildlife. Watch out for temporary warning signs. Animals are more active near waterholes and are harder to see at sunrise and sunset. 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 then you probably shouldn’t be driving without glasses or contact lenses.
TAKE IT SLOW
Fast driving belongs on the racetrack. Travelling at an easy, sensible pace gives you plenty of time and distance to respond to anything you may encounter. Speeding is the number one cause of fatal road accidents in Australia. So, what’s the rush?
Drink driving is another major cause of fatal road accidents in Australia. Although the risks are widely reported, many people still underestimate the effects ‘a few drinks’ can have on their driving skills and overestimate their ability as a driver. Drink driving doesn’t just put you and others in serious danger, it also carries severe criminal penalties. If you’re heading out for a drink, leave the car behind and plan another way home.