22 Oct Importance of being aware and sharing the road safely
With a total of 19.8 million registered vehicles this year in Australia, it is as important as ever to remain alert and aware on our roads.
The first step towards sharing the road safely is understanding why awareness and alertness are so critically important.
The importance of being alert and aware
According to ABC (2020), driver distraction is one of the major causes of truck driver deaths in Australia.
Not only is distraction a huge issue for truck drivers but it is the same across the board for all drivers on our roads.
Fatigue and distraction are two of the largest causes of fatal car accidents alongside speeding and drink driving.
This is why it is so important to be aware and alert yourself as well as being aware and alert for other road users.
Top tips for sharing the road safely
Sharing the road safely requires every road user to be conscious of one another.
Each motorist should be familiar with the needs of every road user as outlined below.
Pedestrians are evidently one of the most vulnerable road users.
They are unprotected and should be kept top of mind especially when driving through built-up areas.
Remember to always come to a complete stop at pedestrian crossings and pay very close attention to pedestrians at traffic lights as well as quiet streets.
2. Cyclists & Motorcycle Riders
Cyclists have a set of rules they must follow in order to share the road safely.
They may ride side by side to one other cyclist but should collectively take up less than 1.5 metres.
When passing cyclists, make sure to pass with at least 1m leeway.
Also, an often forgotten action is checking both ways before opening car doors to avoid oncoming cyclists and motorcyclists.
3. Heavy vehicles
For all motorists, it should be common knowledge that it takes longer for heavy vehicles to slow down and speed up.
Extra care should be taken when driving in front, behind and overtaking heavy vehicles to ensure the truck driver has plenty of time to adjust their speed.
Also, be aware that the drivers of heavy vehicles have restricted visibility due to the size of their vehicle. Make sure you are visible and leave space so that you can be seen.
For public transport vehicles like buses, motorists should obey the rules and always give way to buses.
4. Emergency vehicles
Approaching emergency vehicles can cause drivers to stress and abruptly move to get out of the way.
However, it is always best practice to first slow down when you hear the sirens and make room when it is safe to do so.
By remaining aware and alert, you will be able to safely guide yourself out of the way for oncoming emergency vehicles.
Wildlife and domesticated animals are notoriously unpredictable in their movements.
Always drive slowly and cautiously through busy streets and be conscious of animals on open roads.
6. Aggressive drivers
Aggressive drivers are arguably the most dangerous on our roads.
Like animals, they are unpredictable and should be treated with the same level of caution.
Remain calm, drive safely and never retaliate.
Know the laws for mobile phones while driving and kindly remind those around you if you see somebody driving whilst using a mobile phone.
There are now more dangers on the road than ever before and that’s why it is so important to remain aware and alert so we can all contribute to sharing the road safely.
If you found this article helpful, you might also enjoy defensive driving techniques for truck drivers.