Avoid Fatal Road Accidents – 3 Tips to Stay Safe Behind the Wheel

Man yawning at steering wheel

While road safety is improving year-on-year and fatal car accidents are gradually declining, statistics suggest that we’ve still got a long way to go. Over the past 12 months, approximately 1,200 people were killed in car accidents across the country, with Queensland accounting for 252 of those fatalities. While a 15% reduction on the previous 12-month period, that figure is still far too high.

In 2011 the National Road Safety Strategy was created with the objective of reducing the number of fatal accidents by 30% by 2020. However, over the last eight years, we’ve only managed to reduce the number by 12.4%, which means we’re quickly running out of time to meet this important goal.

Whilst road accidents occur for a variety of reasons, there are a number of things that all Australian drivers can do to reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.

1. Ensure your car is safe
To keep your car in good condition, and you and your passengers safe, it’s crucially important to have your car inspected and serviced regularly. You shouldn’t leave all aspects of car maintenance to your mechanic, however, so check the tyres (your car’s second most important safety feature after its brakes) regularly to ensure there’s sufficient tread depth and they’re inflated to the correct pressure.

2. Don’t drive when you’re not 100%
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t get behind the wheel if you’re impacted by alcohol or drugs. This includes illicit drugs as well as prescription drugs that can impact alertness and cognition.

When it comes to blood-alcohol limits, it’s important to remember that we’re all unique and that the impact of an alcoholic drink is different for each of us. The same goes for medication. Many factors, including body size, tolerance, food consumption and tiredness or fatigue, are relevant and should be factored into your assessment of whether it’s safe for you to get behind the wheel. The best policy is to steer clear of the driver’s seat altogether if you’ve had a drink or taken medication of any kind.

3. Break up longer trips
Tiredness and fatigue are recognised killers on roads here in Queensland and right across Australia. If you’re embarking on a lengthy car journey, take turns behind the wheel (if you can) and be sure to take regular rest breaks to maintain alertness and avoid driver fatigue. When taking a break, make the most of the opportunity to stretch your legs, and get some fresh air. The more you move, the more alert you’ll feel when you get back behind the wheel.