During the holidays, more people are on the road at the same time, the roads themselves may be unfamiliar to you and the distances you are travelling are far greater than normal day-to-day driving. This can make travelling by car to your holiday destination challenging and stressful.
Driving at a speed above the allowable limit contributed to approximately 34 percent of Australian road deaths and 13 percent of serious injuries during 2010-11i. Next time you are behind the wheel, it is useful to keep this in mind: a mere reduction of speed by 5km/h above 60km/h on urban roads or 10km/h on highways may halve your likelihood of being involved in a severe crash causing fatality or injuryii.
In addition to excessive speed, driver fatigue is another major contributor to fatal accidentsiii. Where a long drive is concerned, having several rest stops along the way may prevent the driver's abilities from deterioratingiv. Do you typically find yourself munching on some food during your rest break? A report by Monash University suggests that consuming a light snack during a break is beneficial to a person's driving performance, while a large meal may actually have an adverse effect on your driving abilitiesv. So remember, plan ahead, have a light snack and rest before fatigue hits you.
Alcohol and drugs
Aside from the illegality, excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs can significantly increase your risk of being involved in a crashvi,vii. Even more fatal is the combination of driver fatigue with substance use such as alcohol or ecstasyviii,ix,x.
On average, four people die and 90 are seriously injured on Australian roads every dayxi.
Be a responsible driver and help the Australian Transport Council reduce nationwide road accidents in association with the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020xi. Do your bit and prevent a road tragedy from occurring: don't exceed your allowable blood alcohol concentration (better still, don't drink and drive at all), drive in accordance to the speed limit and remain mentally alert at all times.
Rather than worry about 'what if' scenarios, follow the tips above to reduce your risk of being in an accident and also prepare for your family's future by taking out life insurance. Life insurance can provide your family with financial security and allow them to maintain their quality of life into the future in the event of a tragedy such as a fatal road accident.
i National Road Safety Council, 2011, Annual Report to the Australian Transport Council 2010-11,
ii NSW Government, Road Safety 2010, http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/downloads/rs2010.pdf, p.2
iii Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland, 2011, State of the Road, http://www.carrsq.qut.edu.au/publications/corporate/fatigue_fs.pdf; Royal Automotive Association of South Australia, Driver Fatigue, http://www.raa.com.au/page.aspx?TerID=1376; NSW RTA, Driver fatigue, http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/stayingsafe/fatigue/index.html
iv Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 2001, Driver fatigue and road accidents, http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/info/fatigue.pdf; American Automotive Association Foundation for Traffic Safety, 1998, Changing behaviors to prevent drowsy driving and promote traffic safety, http://www.aaafts.org/pdf/drowsydriving.pdf
v Monash university, Fatigue and fatigue research: The Australian experience, http://www.monash.edu.au/miri/research/reports/papers/fatigue.html
vi Roads & Maritime Services, Alcohol and drugs, http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/roadsafety/alcoholdrugs/index.html
vii Drug Info, 2010, Drugs and driving, http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/attachments/338_ADFPRQ0310_www.pdf
viii Vakulin, A., Baulk, S. D., Catcheside, P. G., Anderson, R., Van den Heuvel, C. J., Banks, S., Banks, S. & McEvoy, R. D., 2007, Effects of moderate sleep deprivation and low-dose alcohol on driving simulator performance and perception in young men, Sleep, vol. 30 no. 10, pp.1327-33
ix Arnedt, J. T., Wilde, G. J. S., Munt, P. W. & Maclean, A. W., 2000, Simulated driving performance following prolonged wakefulness and alcohol consumption: separate and combined contributions to impairment, Journal of Sleep Research, vol. 9, pp.233-41
x Kuypers, K., Samyn, N. & Ramaekers, J., 2006, MDMA and alcohol effects, combined and alone, on objective and subjective measures of actual driving performance and psychomotor, Psychopharmacology, vol. 187, pp.467-7.
xi Australian Transport Council, 2011, National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020, http://www.atcouncil.gov.au/documents/files/NRSS_2011_2020_15Aug11.pdf, p.ii