Pharrell amplifies campaign against motoring carnage

Pharrell Williams - NRMA blog

Don’t text and drive

The NRMA has today joined a global campaign designed to reduce the number of people killed on roads across the world, particularly those caused by drivers being distracted by smartphones and other technology.

Ads featuring multi-Grammy and international award winner Pharrell Williams highlight the risks associated with using your mobile device while driving.

The advertising will appear on over 200 bus shelters across NSW with the message that 3,500 people are killed in road crashes globally each day: this is supported by the social media campaign #3500LIVES.

NRMA President Kyle Loades said while the horrific road toll was a global epidemic, the pain and suffering caused by people dying needlessly behind the wheel was local.

“Deaths on our roads rip families apart and decimate local communities and the NRMA is today very committed to the FIA’s global response to this international scourge,” he said.

“Pharrell Williams is not happy about the fact that motorists, and in particular young people, are using smartphones behind the wheel – and nor should he be, because we know that this practice is killing people.”

Local statistics around driver distractions are alarming: in the five years to 2014, there were 236 crashes where hand-held mobile phone use by drivers were identified as a contributing factor, including seven deaths and 116 injury crashes, and more than 38,000 fines were issued for the infringement in the past year alone.

However, the NRMA is concerned that these figures are under-reported because of the difficulty of finding evidence of illegal mobile phone use at crash scenes.

“The message is simple – we have clear rules around when you can and can’t use your phone behind the wheel,” Mr Loades said.

“Please abide by these rules because it will save you from losing four points and a $325 fine: crucially, it might help save your life or stop you from killing someone else.”

The global campaign was launched in Paris last week, with Sydney’s campaign starting today with advertising to appear on bus shelters across NSW.

For more NRMA Advocacy content, click here.

The best driving songs

Best driving songs

BAD CHOICE, BABE: Does your partner play horrible music in the car?

Good music is as important to driving as fuel and inflated tyres. What classifies as good music is, however, subjective and undoubtedly results is passionate debate between driver, passengers and people of different generations.

I certainly struggle to imagine my old man singing along to Rihanna’s Shut Up and Drive, and I can’t picture someone on their P Plates turning up the volume to Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama or Take It Easy by the Eagles.

Different tastes lead to different cars and different tunes that come from their speakers.

Then there’s the distance and scenery. Does a drive along the Great Ocean Road call for different beats than the ones suited to a quick run through Sydney’s CBD?

Here’s our list, and as you can see it’s quite a mix.

Life Is a Highway – Tom Cochrane
California – Phantom Planet
Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
Mustang Sally – Wilson Pickett
I’m on Fire – Bruce Springsteen
Jump – Van Halen
Return of the Mack – Mark Morrison
Back In Black – ACDC
Song 2 – Blur
Black Fingernails, Red Wine – Eskimo Joe
Born To be Wild – Steppenwolf
Lonely Boy – The Black Keys
Radar Love – Golden Earring
Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Shut Up and Drive – Rihanna

For our new ad campaign, a reimagined version of The Proclaimers 1988 song I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) felt just right. We love Sydney artist Alana Patmore’s version and think you will too, so we are giving free downloads of the full track to the first 5,000 people.

Whatever your taste, enjoy your music but don’t let it distract you from the dangers of the road.

Related: Driver distractions to be aware of
Related: Download the my nrma app

What songs are your picks to drive to? Let the debate begin.

5 rules passengers should never break

Follow this passenger etiquette to keep all your friends and maintain a happy in-car environment.

Passenger Rules

If you want to ride in the passenger seat (‘shotgun’) there are certain rules you must be aware of.

Everyone hates a back-seat driver. But there are many other annoying things passengers do that can get under the skin of drivers. If you commute often with friends or family, you’ll recognise the below responsibilities that aren’t taken seriously.

The Aux Cable
The auxiliary cable connects your media device to the vehicle’s sound system. Those who hold it are responsible for the auditory enjoyment of everyone in the car. TIP: Keep a driving playlist of the best driving songs on standby so if your passenger is not performing as ‘car DJ’ you can take action. The same applies for Bluetooth connection.

Car Doors
Some passengers just don’t understand how irritating it is when someone gets in (or out) of your vehicle and slams the door. Unless the car door cannot close properly, there’s no need to close the door with huge force. TIP: Don’t slam the door.

Door Slam Meme

HADOUKEN: Doors are designed to be closed, not slammed.

Air Conditioning
During the summer this simple feature can make or break friendships if not used correctly and fairly. Agree on a temperature and sick to it, if there is ever an argument the drivers wishes take priority. TIP: Keep your car cool during the summer while parked to avoid heated arguments.

Radio Tuning
Similar to the aux cable, music playing in the car can be the difference between an enjoyable journey and a nightmare commute. Use the presets set by the owner of the car as these are more likely to be decent radio stations with good signal strength within the area. Never reprogram the presets the owner has set. TIP: Use the scan function to find nearby stations.

Eating and drinking
Okay, so there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the fast food drive-through. Does the driver order on behalf of the car, or does the passenger lean over to order their meal? Eating in the car is legal as long as you ask the driver first, but please do not chew with you mouth open or make any annoying chewing noises as this can drive some travelers crazy. TIP: Buy the driver’s meal as a thank you instead of offering petrol money.

What passenger behaviour grinds your gears?

Ask NRMA: Air conditioning or windows down?



Do you prefer to have your windows down or the air conditioning on?

Tips for economical driving have long been debated by motoring experts and day-to-day drivers. While there are a few no-brainers such as keeping your vehicle light and going easy on the acceleration, working out which is the better option between using the air conditioning or keeping the windows down continues to divide opinions.

And with good reason.

There is simply no way to get an exact answer on which option saves more money unless you were to drive the exact same vehicle, at the same speed and in the same weather conditions. Aerodynamics differ greatly between vehicles, and this impacts the drag faced when driving with the windows down.

Each car will have a different air conditioning system too, so while one may cause car’s speed and fuel economy to rapidly diminish, a different and more modern vehicle may see far better results.

There’s also other factors that can come into play. High winds will create more drag and high temperatures will force your air conditioner to work harder to keep a cabin cool.

“Sometimes it’s simply easier to wind the windows down, particularly during times of high and dry humidity,” says Matt from NRMA Motoring Advice. “It’s during these times that the a/c system fights an uphill battle to cool the cabin. This is due to minimised moisture within the atmosphere which the a/c condenser relies upon to cool the high pressure a/c gas as it charges through the system.”

Driver and passenger comfort need to be taken into account, and aside from the scenario above, there are undoubtedly times where air conditioning is an asset. Arriving to an interview or a date in a sweaty mess because you were too cheap to run the air conditioning isn’t going to do you any favours.

The opposite is also true from time to time. Are you really too precious to enjoy some fresh air coming in through the window? One of life’s great joys is the freedom of driving with the wind in one’s hair, although travelling down a freeway with the windows open and incessant sound of wind gusting by can be tiresome.

There’s even a select few that like to have their windows down while the air conditioning is running, but this is completely counterproductive from an economy perspective.

Perhaps it’s best to use a very basic rule of thumb. When travelling slowly (60km/h or less) it’s more economical to have your windows down. If, however, you’re at high speed (100km/h or more) the drag created by having your windows down is worse on your wallet than using your air conditioning.

Whichever you choose to do, make sure you stay safe on the roads and follow our guidelines for hot weather driving.

How do you like to stay cool when behind the wheel?

NRMA Patrols on stand-by over busy weekend

With many motorists returning from holidays this weekend and travelling to work and school on Monday morning, we expect a high demand for NRMA roadside assistance. Members can avoid the call queue by booking and tracking your job through the my nrma app.


BORN TO MOVE: Your NRMA Patrols will be on stand-by to keep you moving this weekend.

Data from previous years shows that breakdown numbers increase by around 40% above normal rates during the days after public holidays and school holidays, as traffic peaks. Only weather events, like heavy rain or extreme heat, cause a similarly high spike in NRMA call outs.

Driving interstate? Your NRMA Membership benefits explained.

The NRMA responded to almost 5000 calls on the day after Australia Day in 2016, compared to an average of 3,500 for the rest of the year. This long weekend, coinciding with an end to the school holidays, promises to be extra busy as people move in numbers from holiday areas to home to work and school.

All NRMA Members should download the my nrma app. Booking roadside assistance through the app will allow you to avoid the call queue and help us locate you quickly using your phone’s GPS. You will also be able to track our whereabouts, with the app showing an NRMA patrol’s location as it approaches. You can also use the app to check fuel prices across NSW in real time and find parking spots, among other things.

Summer effect

NRMA data shows that call-outs for overheating engines almost double between November and February. Extreme summer heat puts additional stress on many components such as the radiator and the rubber hoses that connect the cooling system. Overheating engine signs to look out for may be a dashboard light alert, a temperature gauge over half way, or even steam coming out of the engine.

Accidental lock outs also increase during the summer months, while flat tyres and battery issues remain constant. Although many breakdowns can be avoided with regular maintenance and car servicing, accidents happen so rest easy in the knowledge that NRMA Patrols will be on stand-by to keep you moving this weekend.

Are you driving a long distance this weekend?