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Drive Smarter not Faster

Drive Smarter not Faster

Drive Smarter not Faster

Australia has one of the highest road fatality rates in the world with the leading causes of accidents being speeding, driving when fatigued, drink driving, and driving distracted.

Get ready for a festive season filled with sizzling prawns on the grill, sun-soaked fun, and maybe even some time on the road. But before you hit the accelerator and succumb to the temptation of speeding through traffic, stop and think twice. Believe it or not, speeding won't actually get you to your destination any faster. In fact, it's illegal and could cost you a hefty fine, thanks to double demerit points during this time of year.

Australia has one of the highest road fatality rates in the world with the leading causes of accidents being speeding, driving when fatigued, drink driving, and driving distracted. 

To help you get to your destination more safely, we have highlighted these major risk factors and given you some tips to help you on your journey.


Plan Ahead

One of the best ways to ensure a smooth and enjoyable caravanning journey is to plan your drives ahead of time. By choosing less congested routes or traveling during off-peak hours, drivers can avoid the frustrations of sitting in peak-hour traffic and the challenges that come with heavy road congestion. This thoughtful planning not only enhances the travel experience but also allows for a more relaxed and scenic drive, contributing to a stress-free adventure on the open road.

Utilizing Navigation Apps

Sometimes, drivers may find themselves unfamiliar with certain routes and roads or inadvertently exceeding speed limits. This is where smartphone apps can be incredibly useful. Apps like Waze provide real-time navigation, alerting users to speed limits, accidents, congestion, shortcut suggestions, and live traffic updates. However, it's important to remember that it is illegal to use your phone while driving. Therefore, be sure to set up your app or navigation system before hitting the road, ensuring a safe and informed journey for everyone.

Speeding

Speeding contributes to a whopping 32% of road fatalities in Australia and is the single largest contributor to death on our roads. When we say speeding, this doesn’t mean driving like a racing driver, even small speed increases can cause problems. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the speed limit.

A person’s risk of being involved in a road casualty doubles with each 5km/h increase above 60km/h, and a simple 5km/h reduction can mean at least a 15% decrease in crashes. 

It pays to regularly check your speed, and to slow down for appropriate road and weather conditions. It pays to remember that when driving through residential and built-up areas where there is no speed limit indicated, the limit is typically 50km/h.

Slow down to save fuel

Speeding might seem like a way to cut down on your commute time, but in reality, it doesn't significantly shorten your journey and ends up wasting more petrol. According to the Department of the Environment, accelerating at higher speeds uses more fuel, especially over 90 km/h. The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) highlights that reducing your speed by just 20 km/h on the freeway can save up to 25 percent of fuel consumption. To minimize petrol use, avoid running your engine while stopped, slow down, and refrain from speeding. If your car is equipped with cruise control, make the most of it on highway roads to maintain a steady speed and save fuel. Drive smart, save fuel, and keep moving efficiently!

Lighten Your Load for a Fuel-Efficient Drive

Every extra item you pack into your boot and backseat means more fuel your vehicle needs to function efficiently. Instead of using your car as a mobile storeroom, consider leaving heavy objects like sports equipment or tools at home when they're not needed for your trip. By lightening your load, you contribute to a more fuel-efficient drive, helping both your wallet and our environment. Let's work together to drive smarter and keep moving forward with pride and efficiency!

Prevent wear and tear

Driving economically by reducing your speed and adhering to the speed limit not only saves fuel but also extends the lifespan of your tyres. When drivers speed, it significantly increases the strain on their tyres due to harder braking, which accelerates tread wear. By slowing down, they can minimize this pressure, leading to less wear and tear and ultimately prolonging the life of their tyres. Embracing a more economical driving style benefits both the wallet and the safety of our community, keeping everyone rolling smoothly on the road.

Keep Your Tyres Properly Inflated for Safety

Ensuring your tyres are at the correct pressure is crucial for distributing the weight of your vehicle evenly across all tyres and their tread patterns. This balanced distribution helps keep your vehicle stable while on the road. An under-inflated or over-inflated tyre can compromise stability, negatively impacting overall handling and making it unsteady to drive, particularly when stopping or navigating bends and corners. By maintaining proper tyre pressure, drivers support safer, more reliable handling, enhancing the driving experience.

Fatigue

Sleep is a very important part of our lives and when we don’t get enough, our brains don’t process information well. It’s no surprise then that driving while tired accounts for 25% of fatal crashes and is 4 times more likely to be a contributing factor in impairment than drugs or alcohol. In fact, being awake for 17 hours makes you as dangerous as someone who has been drinking with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05. 

Most car accidents caused by fatigue occur either when the driver is sleep-deprived or when they are driving during normal sleep hours. One reason for this is that when your body is exhausted enough it can quite literally have momentary shut downs that happen without your awareness. These are called microsleeps and are a very dangerous phenomenon on the road. 

Make sure you never drive while tired and if driving long distances, take plenty of breaks and regularly swap drivers if possible. Try and avoid driving during times when you’d usually be sleeping, and if you begin to feel tired, pull over and take a break.

Drink/Drug Driving

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs reduces your ability to judge distance and speed, impairs vision and slows reaction times. 30% of road traffic deaths in Australia involve alcohol and more than 1 in 4 riders and drivers killed on our roads have been found to have a BAC above the legal limit. Two very sobering statistics.

Even prescription or over-the-counter medication can impact driving so it’s advisable to talk with your doctor if you’re unsure about the effects. 

If you are going to have a couple of drinks it’s not quite as simple as sticking to the recommended guides for standard drinks. Alcohol affects everyone differently. Along with the general advice to allow time to process the alcohol and have food and water, other factors such as body size, stress levels, and other medications need to be factored in. Some people are pushed over the limit more easily than others and it’s not something worth guessing.

Distraction/Inattention

While driving isn’t always the most complex task, it does require focus and attention to identify potential hazards. At least 20% of all fatalities involve driver distraction.

Major distractions include touching your phone while driving, eating food, screaming children, loud music and noisy passengers. Just as in the classic song, “keep your eyes on the road and hands upon the wheel” are lyrics worth noting. Even a quick glance at your phone just for a second, can mean losing awareness of your surroundings and putting yourself and your passengers at risk. 

Daydreaming is another form of a distraction you may not have thought of. Even when you’re looking at the road, if your mind is on other things, it can be just as dangerous as bending down to change your radio.


28 May 2024

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