Stay Street Smart – Queensland Road Safety Week

Car driving along road with kangaroo sign

This week marks Queensland’s Road Safety Week. While road safety is important all year road, it’s always a good time to reflect on road safety.

Avoid these three common killers on the road and stay safe this week and every week.

Speeding

Of the 1,146 road-related deaths in 2018, approximately 30% involved some sort of speeding. Speeding increases your risk of being involved in an accident and also reduces your field of vision. It’s basic logic: the faster you’re travelling, the harder it’s going to be to stop.

While you may think speeding simply involves driving over the speed limit, it also includes driving at a speed too fast to suit the road conditions. It’s important to remember that if you are driving in the rain, around a bend, on an unsealed road or in any other unusual situation, you should reduce your car’s speed to maintain control of the vehicle. Just because you’re not exceeding the speed limit, doesn’t mean you’re driving safely.

Drink Driving

The next most common factor in fatal accidents is alcohol. Approximately 19% of accidents involve alcohol consumption in some way.

While drivers are restricted in their alcohol consumption, it’s important to remember that some people feel the effects of alcohol more than others. Just because you’re under the blood alcohol limit doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to drive safely. Similarly, someone who is tired or who does not often drink alcohol will likely be more greatly affected. Intoxication impacts a driver’s concentration, coordination, reflexes and decision-making processes.

Other forms of intoxication, including prescription and illicit drug use, also contribute to fatal road accidents. If you’re planning on drinking or taking any sort of drug, plan ahead to avoid the temptation of getting behind the wheel. Consider taking public transport, use a rideshare app or even ask your friend if you can crash on their couch for the night.

Distraction

We all know the risks of using a phone while driving, yet many motorists continue to run the risk and check their social media, change a track or read an SMS during their commute. Alarmingly, a study of motorists revealed that only 16% of participants had ‘never’ reviewed a notification while driving. It’s time that we all change our habits before checking a text turns into a life-altering or life-ending decision.

Consider turning off your phone when you get into the driver’s seat or place it on ‘do not disturb’ mode. Another option is to leave it in the back of the car to avoid temptation.

Currently, using your phone for any purpose while driving could land you with a $400 fine and a loss of 3 demerit points.

Beyond mobile phones, your everyday commuting is filled with endless distractions that can lead to car accidents. Attending to children, changing the radio or fiddling with your air-con are all common disruptions that can drag our eyes away from the road. Consider whether the problem can wait, because most of the time it probably can. Otherwise, it’s best to pull over and park your car before tending to a problem.

The Queensland Government has developed some great clips and other resources to improve driver safety. You can find them here