This time of year is always one of the most high risk times on our roads, with Christmas parties, end of year celebrations and people taking to the highways as they head off for a well-deserved break.
In NSW drink driving is a factor in around one in every five fatal crashes. This statistic astounds me when you consider just how much information is out there on the dangers of drink driving.
The message is plain and simple, having any amount of alcohol when driving increases the risk of being involved in a crash. You don’t have to be drunk to have been affected by alcohol, which is why if you are planning on driving, the best advice is to not drink at all.
If you are hosting a party this Christmas and new year here are some things you can do to look after your guests so they get home safely:
- Make sure you provide plenty of food, soft drinks and water
- Offer to let your guests stay over and
- Don’t let guests drive home if they have been drinking.
Tiredness is another major killer on our roads. At this time of year many people are driving long distances on unfamiliar roads and often people leave for their holiday in the early hours of the morning to avoid traffic – it means they are driving when their body is programmed to sleep.
The statistics show if you drive between 10pm and dawn you’re four times more likely to have a fatal, fatigue-related crash.
- Plan ahead
- Take regular breaks (see NSW Driver Reviver locations)
- Share the driving
- Don’t start a long trip after a long day’s work and never drive when you would normally be asleep. Fighting tiredness won’t work – the only cure is sleep.
Wear your seatbelt
It’s remarkable how many people still don’t wear their seatbelts. Many fatalities could have been prevented if only the driver and passengers were wearing their seatbelts. Often it’s not just you that needs to buckle up, so make sure your kids are properly secured in a child restraint.
Roadwork speed limits
If you’re driving along the Pacific Highway, remember roadwork speed limits still apply although works have stopped for the Christmas break. While there may be some inconvenience during this time, the NRMA is pleased that the Government is getting on with the project to deliver the Highway by 2016.
Travelling on country roads
For those of you travelling on country roads, keep in mind that the road conditions are not like local areas. Be extremely careful of:
- Potholes and rough surfaces
- Soft or broken road edges
- Single lane bridges or road surfaces that change without notice
- Livestock and wildlife - they often cross country roads, particularly just near sunrise or sunset which is why it is crucial that you drive to the conditions.
The NRMA will be working over the Christmas period to monitor petrol prices and there will be no justification for any sudden Christmas price hike.
Please remember, each and everyone of us are responsible for keeping our roads safe this Christmas.
Have a safe and merry Christmas.