Christmas is a time to celebrate with family and friends. It’s also, sadly, a time when not all road users will make it home to their friends and families safely. Read Madeline's story here.
Each year, Australia’s road toll rises during the Christmas and New Year holidays as traffic volumes increase and people travel longer distances in unfamiliar environments. With everyone rushing to get to their holiday destination on time, speed is an obvious culprit for rising accident rates. However, there’s more to the story.
If you’re driving over this Christmas period, stay safe on the roads by keeping in mind the “Fatal Five”:
You may think it doesn’t make a difference but driving even a little bit over the speed limit is dangerous for you and everyone else on the road. For every 5km over the limit you travel in a 60km/h zone, your chances of being involved in an accident double. So next time you’re rushing to get somewhere on time, don’t risk it. Take your time, stick to the limit and get there safely.
2. Driving under the influence
Around one quarter of deaths on Australian roads involve drink-driving, while driving under the influence of drugs contributes to approximately 10-30% of the country’s road fatalities. If you’ve been enjoying the festivities a little too much this Christmas, stay well away from the wheel. Make use of public transport, grab a cab or stay overnight instead.
Many people are unaware that failing to wear a seatbelt is one of the leading causes of road fatality in Australia, responsible for over 150 deaths each year. Wearing a seatbelt reduces your risk of fatal or serious injury by up to 50%, so always remember to buckle up before hitting the road.
Driver fatigue has a devastating impact on our road toll. In Victoria alone, a third of serious accidents are caused by driver fatigue, killing about 50 and seriously injuring around 300 individuals every year. If you’re already feeling tired, don’t risk it by hitting the road. Even if you’re feeling alert, remember to take frequent breaks at least every two hours. Check out our interactive map to find rest stops along your next journey.
A distracted driver is a dangerous driver. Whether it’s from a mobile phone, an excitable passenger or a tasty snack, driver distraction contributes to 1 in 4 crashes on our roads. If you’re travelling at 50km/h, taking your eyes off the road for two seconds means you’ll be travelling blind for 27 metres. Rather than reaching for your mobile phone, turn it off or place it on silent. If you do need to make a phone call, pull over safely or wait until you reach your destination.
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Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: December 11, 2019.