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The time between Christmas and New Year are among the busiest for Australian roads. More people are travelling longer distances (particularly to rural areas) to take some time off and visit family and friends. As more people share the roads during the holidays, the risk for accidents is also likely to increase.

The Department of Transport has reported in 2020 that 30 people have died on Australian roads during the Christmas holidays.

Hence, it’s important to remind our drivers to be road-ready during this time. Here are some useful road safety strategies everyone one should be mindful of for the holidays:

Proper Route Planning. Before any trip, identify the safest route for your driver. Factor in potential hazards including roadworks, weather conditions, and traffic volume. It’s also crucial to identify rest stops particularly for long-haul drives as well as fuel or recharging stops. Check for any changes like closed lanes, alternative routes, road incidents, and route delays.

Check the Vehicle Before the Trip. Pre-journey checks help ensure that a vehicle is road worthy. Make sure that has enough fuel or is fully charged. Make sure that all lights, brakes, alarms, horns, seatbelts, cooling systems, and other safety features of the car are working properly. Also check the air pressure in your tyres and have a spare on hand. Supplies like first aid kits, fire extinguishers, safety triangles and the like should also be available.

Slow Down. Factors like traffic volume increases, roadworks, and changing weather conditions mean drivers are safer if they drive slower.

Be Courteous. Courtesy goes a long way when a driver is sharing the road with more people than usual. There’s going to be more cars, buses, campervans, and other vehicles towing caravans or boats at this time of the year. Remind drivers to keep a safe distance, practice defensive driving, and always be aware of at-risk road users like pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists.

Avoid Distracted Driving. Remind drivers to put away their mobile phones, avoid eating and drinking, and to do away with habits that might distract them.

Take Regular Breaks. Driver fatigue is one of the biggest contributing factors to road accidents. If a driver is going to travel long distances especially in unfamiliar roads, advise them to take regular breaks.

Drive to the Conditions. Mindful driving is important particularly during the holidays. Remind drivers to adjust their driving strategy based on the road they’re on, the traffic conditions, speed limits, possible roadwork they may encounter, the load that their vehicle is carrying, and their physical state.

As fleet operators and managers, it’s our responsibility to help keep our drivers safe on the road all throughout the year. If you’re looking for ways to promote safer driving in your organisation, head over to AfMA’s Drive Safer Resources today.