In the week leading up to Christmas Day in 2020, seven Queenslanders lost their lives in road accidents. This year, with most state borders now open, there will be more travellers on the roads in addition to the residents who will be visiting friends and family members to celebrate the festive season. With that in mind, it is important to be extra vigilant on the roads during the Christmas and New Year periods. So, what can you do to keep yourself and others safe on the roads at this time of year?
Ensure your car is in good working order
Before you set off anywhere it is a good idea to check that your vehicle will go the distance. Breaking down on a long road trip or on the way to celebrate Christmas is not ideal and worse yet, a fault with your car could cause an accident that injures yourself or others. If it has been a while between visits to the mechanic a service might be in order.
In addition, you should make sure you have adequate equipment to change a tyre should you need to.
Be prepared and plan breaks
When you are contesting with heavy traffic it is always a good idea to pre-plan your trip ahead of time. Even if you are driving on a familiar route, excess traffic can mean you are faced with delays, so be prepared with a backup route that may be useful.
You should always factor rest stops into your journey and aim to take breaks every two hours, or at least take turns driving so that each driver can remain alert. When you stop ensure you grab some food and drink, stretch and breathe fresh air before heading off again.
Set realistic arrival times
Speeding and stressing about being late are two ways you may contribute to unsafe driving, but by setting yourself some realistic arrival times you can plan your trip to ensure you arrive at your destination safely and with time to spare.
Allowing for a little bit more time during the festive season means you can calmly travel on the roads without worrying about delays caused by congestion and the temptation to engage in road rage will be alleviated.
Pack your car securely
A car full of gifts, luggage, or equipment for camping and outdoor fun can be more difficult to drive than your day-to-day load. If you do plan on taking a trip with a heavier load than usual, make sure you pack your car in a safe manner, evenly distributing the weight so that it doesn’t affect your car’s movements.
Driving with a trailer can cause a raft of other problems if it isn’t hitched properly, so before embarking double-check it is secure and that your car is indeed capable of safely towing the weight of the trailer. Penalties can also apply to drivers who are caught driving with unsecured loads.
Read the road
Driving in unfamiliar territory can be dangerous but so can be complacent, and driving a route you feel you know very well does not mean that you should ignore road signs or traffic conditions.
Always keep an eye out during the holiday season, and adjust your speed and increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front when necessary.
In Far North Queensland the wet season has already commenced and staying alert and driving to suit the weather conditions will help to keep you safe in case of floodwaters, heavy rain, or fallen trees and branches.
Don’t drink and drive
It goes without saying that alcohol and driving do not mix, so if you plan on drinking even a small amount it might be safer to leave the car at home.
Instead, plan to catch public transport, a taxi, or a ride-sharing service, have a staycation at a nearby hotel or home of a friend or family member, or take turns being the designated driver so you are guaranteed a ride home.
If you have had a road accident and need assistance, contact our experienced compensation and injury lawyers on (07) 4052 0700.