As the merriment and festivity of the Christmas period approaches, it’s more important than ever to practice safety measures whilst on the roads. With thousands of Aussies gearing up for long-distance car trips the repercussion of dangerous driving should be at the forefront of the road safety discussion.
New research from Carhireexcess.com.au reveals that 37.9% of drivers exceed safe speed limits.
Further to that, 21.9% of Aussies openly admit to driving up to 10km over the speed limit while a further 16% say they have driven 20km to 30km over safe speed limits.
Additional data confirms what has long been reported; men are more likely than women to speed. 11.7% of male drivers admitted to driving more than 30km over the limit, compared to 5.8% of their female counterparts.
Despite research revealing that motorists strongly identify speeding with increased risk, driving beyond safe limits continues to be the greatest cause of deaths and injury on our roads.
Speeding is said to affect about one third of Australian road fatalities* and lead to more than 4100 injuries each year.
Natalie Ball, director, Carhireexcess.com.au says,
“Unfortunately, safety can be a secondary concern during peak seasons where many travellers place a high precedent on getting to their destination as quickly as possible.”
“The key to safe holiday travel is plenty of preparation. Before you hit the road; know your route and don’t rush. Plan for the unexpected, and take lots of rest stops to break up the monotony of motorway driving”
Ball adds that drivers looking to stay safe over the festive season should err on the side of caution.
“Remember speeding not only puts a strain on your safety, but on your wallet too! Speeders face hefty fines over the holiday season. Drivers caught speeding in NSW can face driving suspensions and fines of up to $2,530.”
“A few basic safety tips can make all the difference when it comes to ensuring the safety of your friends and family.”
Road safety tips this silly season
Simply put; car accidents take a heavy toll. Even a minor ping can cost you a bundle and be an utter inconvenience. Of course, on the other end of the scale, a major accident can be ruinous and completely life-altering. Take the following precautions to minimize your risk this silly season:
Watch your speed: It’s a no-brainer that the faster your drive, the longer it takes you to slow down. A small decrease in your speed can greatly diminish your risk of crashing. Maintain a two-second gap from the car ahead and double this to four seconds when it’s raining, foggy or otherwise hazardous.
Check your car: As important as it is to keep your driving in check, your car could be a potential liability too. Before you set off check your tyres (including your spare), make sure you’ve got a full tank of fuel, windscreen wash, oil, water, functioning break lights and that child seats are properly fitted. If you are hiring a car, familiarize yourself with it and it’s equipment before hitting the road.
Don’t drink and drive: However tempting it may be to have a tipple or two, it’s advisable to stay clear of any alcohol when getting behind the wheel. Not only does liquor affect your driving skill, readiness and behaviour, once it's been consumed the effects cannot be reversed. In NSW drink driving is a factor in about one in every five crashes where someone loses their life. What’s more, police will be out in force making Random Breath Tests over the silly season, so unless you want a fine, demerits points and a license suspension, stay away from the chardonnay!
Rest and revive: Fatigue is one of the biggest dangers on our roads particularly for long-distance commuters. Driver fatigue has been likened to drink driving and fatigue-related crashes are twice as likely to be fatal. Remember; sleep is the only cure for tiredness. If you can, share driving responsibilities with someone else.
Courtesy first: Road rage can be dangerous and stress provoking. Do your bit to maintain courtesy and respect the rights to safety for everyone on our roads. If you do encounter an aggressive driver avoid conflict. Remember to abide by the road rules when driving on any dual lanes keep left unless overtaking.
Keep the kids entertained: Internal distractions can pose danger to your driving. Whether it’s your kids or other vehicle occupants it’s important to mitigate commotions that compete with your ability to focus. Make sure you have plenty of games-on-the-go and treats to keep the small members of the family entertained. Ensure any furry members of your family are properly restrained and cared for and secure any loose objects. Check out more family friendly road trip hacks here.
Roadside assist: There’s nothing worse that breaking down on your road trip. If you haven’t already invested in roadside assistance, now may be the time to reward yourself with an early Xmas present to prevent an unexpected pit-stop.
Park your calls: If you are travelling alone, be sure to switch your phone to silent. If you’re lucky enough to have passengers get them to text for you.
A final note
The far-reaching consequences of speed related accidents can be enormous. Not only are they devastating; speed related accidents cost the Australian economy around $27 billion dollars each year.
If you’re preparing for a road trip this summer holidays - remember to enjoy your journey and take your time getting to your destination.
Road trips can be a fantastic, bonding experience for the family. By following a few simple road safety tips you can ensure a happy, healthy summer break, feeling refreshed and enlivened for the year ahead!
Ball concludes: “Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and there is no place for complacency.”
ABOUT THE EXPERT
Car Hire Excess is a trading name of the Insurance Geeks Pty Ltd ABN 35 612 507 785. The Insurance Geeks are a small, privately-owned insurance business located in Sydney NSW. They are a passionate, energetic breed with a deep understanding of insurance and travel patterns. They have made it their business to provide consumers with peace of mind that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Car Hire Excess policies are underwritten at certain underwriters at Lloyd’s – one of the world’s largest insurance markets.