The Christmas Holidays are traditionally one of the worst times for road safety on Australian roads. With more people driving at this time of year and some very unused to driving long distances, the number of road accidents and fatalities increase.
As a result, safety should be top of mind for everyone hitting our roads these holidays. At this time of year it’s even more important to check if you have the right type of car insurance cover in case something does happen.
But there are also precautions you can take to make sure you and your precious cargo arrive happy and healthy to your holiday destination.
Tip 1: Prepare the car
If your car is used to doing nothing more than the 27 minute drive it takes the average Australian to get to work, then suddenly putting it out on the road for a three, four or even five hundred plus kilometre drive without a service is foolhardy at best. You should also ensure that you're prepared for emergencies with a fire blanket, torch and basic first aid kit stored in the car.
Tip 2: Prepare yourself
Don’t come home from the office Christmas party, snatch five hours sleep then pack the kids in the car for the big drive the next morning without expecting diminished driving abilities. It’s important to note that if you plan on drinking, don’t plan on driving. Not until you’ve given adequate time for the alcohol to leave your system.
You should also plan the trip to make regular rest stops and share the driving, if possible.
Tip 3: The five seeing habits
These five “habits” have been adopted by professional delivery drivers – people who are constantly on the road and travelling large distances. Utilising these will help you anticipate and react better to traffic situations as they develop.
Aim High In Steering
Look as far down the road as possible. This helps keep your car centred in your lane.
See The Big Picture
By maintaining at least 6 – 8 seconds between you and vehicle ahead allows you plenty of time to comfortably determine the true hazards, and gives you the time to react properly. Six to eight seconds may sound like a lot, but it’s not when you consider freeway and highway speeds.
Keep Your Eyes Constantly Moving
Scan, don't stare. Long distance driving can be tedious, so be sure to constantly shift your eyes while driving to avoid being lulled into a stupor. Active eyes keep up with changing traffic conditions.
Give Yourself An Out
Be prepared. By giving yourself space in front and at least on one side of your vehicle gives you room to manoeuvre, in the event that you have to.
Make Yourself Visible
Your car has lights and a horn – make sure you use them when appropriate. It doesn’t have to be an angry blast of the horn, but just a simple flashing of the lights or a sounding of the horn may alert another driver to your presence. Remember, you don’t know how alert they are, how far they’ve driven or their state of fatigue, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.