Christmas in Australia means one thing: summer holidays! Whether you are travelling with family for a beachside escape, hitting the road to head home, or are off a holiday with friends, the festive season also means a busy time on the roads.
Whether you work within the trucking or transport industry, or are just your standard inner-city driver, you’re probably used to quieter runs on the highways and finding pockets of downtime in the city centres. But with considerably more people on the road, it pays to refresh your mind on best practice in navigating the busy periods.
Sure, asking you to just ‘slow down’ is a great start, but what are some other important things to keep in mind when working over the Christmas and New Year break? We’ve come up with the three major mantras to keep in mind this festive season. Print it out, stick it to your fridge, and don’t forget!
Tip #1: Watch out for blind spots.
This is the Australian Trucking Association’s number one tip to safe holiday driving: stay out of blind spots behind large vehicles!
“If you sit in the blind spots immediately behind a truck or close to the left passenger door, the driver may not know you are there,” writes the ATA. “Cutting in front of a truck can also put you in the forward blind spot.”
Watching out for blind spots also means being aware of your own: whether it’s keeping a keen eye on your reverse mirrors or physically checking for bike riders when opening your door, be on your guard for others around your car.
Tip #2: Don’t overtake.
Yes, we know. You’re in a hurry! But these holidays it doesn’t pay to lose your head in heavy traffic. Whilst it might be tempting to overtake another vehicle or cut someone off, it’s not worth it when you’re putting yourself or someone else at risk.
On that note, be aware of road rage – both your own, and others! If you feel yourself getting flustered or aggressive, pull over and take five. If you sense that you are stuck in front of or behind a potentially angry driver, again, pull over. Road rage can be unpredictable, incredibly dangerous, and in the worst case scenario, cause a serious accident. Ask yourself – is it worth it?
Tip #3: Slow and steady wins the race.
Whilst we would all love to get to the beach just that little bit quicker, speeding is probably the most dangerous thing you can do during the festive season.
CEO of the Australian Trucking Association, Chris Melham, encourages all drivers to fight the pressure to get to your destination, faster.
“It’s much better to arrive safely than to speed towards an accident,” he says.
“Stick to the speed limit and avoid driving when tired. Share the trip with another qualified driver, and pull over for breaks when you need them.”
In 2015, 242 people lost their lives in road accidents here in Australia. For 2016, to date, 277 people have died – already an increase of 14.5%.
Take the time to be cautious and alert on the roads this festive season. Protect your family, your passengers, and other drivers on the road.