15 Nov Stay safe on the road this Christmas
As one of the busiest and most dangerous periods for Australian drivers, it’s important to be aware and prepared for heightened risks on the road. And with domestic and international travel on its way back to normal, we can expect to see that risk increase even more significantly this year.
Regardless of whether you’re working or heading off on a family road trip these holidays, 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 would typically. 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 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 more important than usual 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 necessary 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.
As Aussies rejoice in the sweet smell of freedom, we must be mindful that with freedom to travel, we still must remain responsible. Don’t take unnecessary risks with drink driving or mobile phones, and keep in mind that arriving late is better than not arriving at all.
From all the team at DriveRisk, we’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year!