How to stay safe on the road at Christmas

Are you hitting the road these holidays?

As one of the busiest and most dangerous periods for Australian drivers, it’s important to be aware and prepared for increased risks on the road.

Regardless of whether you’re a commercial driver, a shift worker or a family heading off on a holiday road trip, have a read of our top tips for staying safe on long journeys this Christmas and New Year.

Be realistic with your journey deadline

At this time of year, you’re going to be sharing the road with A LOT more vehicles than you might normally. And whether you like it or not, all this congestion will undoubtedly lead to longer journey times and often, frustration.

For instance, a trip that might usually take four hours could end up taking you six. As painful as it may be, planning for these delays will help avoid any stress and keep you driving safely throughout the whole trip.   


Be extra alert

With people travelling long distances and at all hours of the day, holiday drivers are more likely to be driving tired, forcing them to lose concentration or become distracted.

With this in mind, the best way to stay safe on the roads during these busy times is to utilise defensive driving techniques. Some of these techniques include being aware of your surroundings, paying extra attention to what others are doing and keeping four seconds distance between you and other drivers.

It’s also a good idea to position your vehicle where you have the best view of others and where they have the best view of you. This helps to minimise the risk of a collision and allows you the best chance of getting out of the way should you need to.


Drive to the conditions

Just because the speed limit is 100 km/h doesn’t necessarily mean that going this speed is safe.

Particularly in holiday traffic, it’s important to read the road and weather conditions and adjust your driving behaviours accordingly. For instance, if you’re being forced to stop frequently, reduce your speed and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.

Similarly, those driving on country roads should use extra caution, particularly when overtaking other vehicles. Higher speed limits combined with the potential for wildlife, potholes and farming machinery on the roads add an extra element of risk – so make sure you’re aware and prepared to take action if needed.


Take breaks more often 

While you might be in a hurry to get where you’re going, it’s actually more important than normal to take regular breaks from driving during the holiday season. Why? Because it’s impossible to remain alert to road conditions when you’re tired and you need to assume that other drivers aren’t operating at their peak.

To ensure you’re able to function safely, aim to take a break after every two hours of driving and make sure to allow time to get a decent sleep at a similar time every night.


Double-check loads are secure

Whether you’re working or travelling, the Christmas period tends to be a little stressful on the roads. Everyone’s hurrying to get where they’re going and it’s easy to rush over important safety checks – like securing your load.

To make sure your luggage or cargo doesn’t come flying off into oncoming traffic, pay extra attention when securing your load and check over it once you’re done. It’s also a good idea to check once more before you hit the road and get someone else to take a look, too, on the off chance that they pick up something you might have missed.


Stay safe!

If you take nothing else out of this article, just remember to take extra care and stay safe on the road. Don’t take any unnecessary risks with drink driving or mobile phones and keep in mind that arriving late is better than not arriving at all. Learn more about staying safe on the road with our driver fatigue monitoring system.