In 2015, there were 1,205 deaths on Australian roads and so far in 2016, there are 1,081 deaths. The actual cause of these fatalities is unknown, but regardless of the cause, any death on our roads is one too many. The danger of a road traffic accident is, whilst unlikely, still a fact that we all have to consider. So anything that can help us to mitigate the potential for accidents on our roads and keep everyone safe, is worth taking on board. With the Christmas holidays nearly upon us we thought it prudent to share some tips to keep you safe this Christmas.

One of the hazards that many of us tend to be complacent about is the change in driving conditions due to the weather or to the environment. It is so easy to forget the danger of not slowing your speed in the rain, or not bothering to increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front on an unsealed road, or not keeping an eye open for wildlife on rural roads.

All of these behaviours seem fairly obvious to many of us, but safe driving doesn’t come naturally to everyone. If you are concerned about the safety of yourself and everyone else on our roads, then it is best that you become familiar with the road conditions you may encounter. Please check out 15 tips for driving in Australia:

  1. Wet weather: Drive slowly, keep your lights on low beam, use your demister or A/C to keep your windscreen free of condensation and double the distance between your vehicle and the one in front.
  2. Flooding: Obey all road closure signs and don’t drive on a flooded road until the flood has receded, because there could be rocks or other unseen damage under the water.
  3. Bushfires: Do not drive in areas of active bushfires and if caught unawares, turn on your headlights, do a U-turn and drive away from the area to safety.
  4. Towing a caravan: The extra weight of the caravan makes it slower to accelerate or brake, so make allowances for the extra length and width when entering traffic or overtaking and leave a longer stopping distance.
  5. Unsealed roads: These can cause reduced traction on your tyres, dust in dry conditions and slick surfaces in wet weather. Reduce your speed and increase the stopping distance between your vehicle and the one in front.
  6. Dusty conditions: Pull over until the dust has settled and turn on your headlights so other vehicles can see you on the road.
  7. Sandy roads: Sand over the surface of roads can reduce your traction, causing you to slide or spin. Reduce your speed, avoid sharp turns, but keep moving forward at a consistent speed.
  8. Beaches: Only drive on a beach (if legally permitted) with a 4WD. Reduce your tyre pressure, stay on the hard packed sand, avoid pools and washouts and ensure you obey speed limits.
  9. Remote driving: Many remote roads have soft edges with loose stones, so avoid the edges as much as possible, always keep one wheel on the bitumen and keep an eye open for wildlife at all times, particularly at dawn and dusk.
  10. Road trains: Only overtake these very long trucks when it is safe to do so, maintain your speed after you have overtaken so the truck does not need to brake and if you’ll need to speed to overtake – then don’t overtake.
  11. Heavy vehicles: Do not tailgate or cut in front of long loads or heavy vehicles, and do not speed up when one of these trucks is overtaking you.
  12. Night driving: To reduce the glare of headlights behind your vehicle you can slightly tilt your rear view mirror, and of course, slow your speed because visibility is reduced at night.
  13. High winds: Reduce your speed, close all windows, keep an eye open for flying debris and be very careful overtaking long or overweight vehicles due to the draft they bring with them.
  14. Winding roads: Slow down and keep to the speed limit, honk your horn if you can’t see around bends, and do not overtake unless clear to do so.
  15. Mud: You must gauge the depth of the mud before proceeding, so compare the depth and width of recent tyre tracks to your tyres and decide whether you should proceed or not.

This is only a rough overview of the safety measures you need to be aware of when driving in Australia. If you are ready to get out on the road soon and need some finance to get you started, contact us at National Finance Solutions on 1300 13 50 50 and we will have you behind the wheel in no time.