1) Don’t drive tired. Make sure you are well rested before leaving for your destination. Take planned rest stops throughout your trip and be well aware of any early signs of fatigue, including wandering thoughts, missing a gear, road sign or exit and slowing or speeding unintentionally. If you feel tired, you should not be driving.

2) Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. Check your tyres, windscreen wipers, oil and water. Car safety features such as side and curtain airbags, seatbelt reminder systems and active head restraints will all help lessen the impact should you have a crash. Features such as Electronic Stability Control will help prevent a crash from happening in the first place.

3) If you are going to drink, plan not to drive. Arrange a skipper, ask someone to collect you, call a taxi, take public transport or stay overnight. With a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 the risk of being involved in a crash doubles, with a BAC of 0.08, you are seven times more likely to crash and 25 times more likely with a BAC of 0.15. Plan ahead — it’s not worth the risk.

4) Always ensure you and your passengers wear a seatbelt. It doesn’t matter if you are only travelling a few kilometres because most road crashes happen close to home and it does not make any difference if you are sticking to the posted speed limits or travelling very fast, because a crash at 40kmh is like falling from a two-storey building on to concrete.

5) Allow a little extra time — there is more traffic out on the roads so allow extra time to get to your destination. It is better to take a little longer to arrive than to take unnecessary risks, such as speeding and not arriving at all. Inappropriate or excessive speed was a factor in nearly 30 per cent of all road deaths last year.

6) Take the opportunity to help your children become safer drivers — allow learner drivers to drive on short trips. Research shows that 120 hours of supervised driving experience across a variety of conditions, is the ideal amount to ensure the upmost safety of young drivers once they start driving solo.

7) Limit your distractions — turn off your mobile phone, have your route planned before leaving so you limit the use of your GPS or street directory, secure items in your car so they don’t roll around/fall off the seat and stop for meal breaks rather than trying to drive and eat.

8) Use your headlights at times when it is harder to see oncoming traffic, such as when it is raining, at dusk and at dawn, on shadowy roads and at night.

9) If a large animal such as a kangaroo suddenly appears on the road in front of you, brake firmly and sound your horn. Do not try to swerve around the animal because you are likely to run on to the gravel verge and lose control, roll over or hit oncoming traffic.

10) Always be alert for other road users, particularly vulnerable road users who are often harder to see, including motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.

Source: Office of Road Safety


© The West Australian

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