Falls Festival a time to enjoy and return home safely

This weekend signals the start of an annual pilgrimage across the state.

From all corners of Tasmania, music lovers will be hitting the road for the Falls Music and Arts Festival at Marion Bay.

And it’s not just Tasmanian punters who flock to the Southern site – in recent years, the New Year’s festival has attracted increased numbers of interstate patrons, keen to enjoy the best in modern music in some of the most idyllic surroundings one could wish for.

It is such a boon for a state as comparatively small as Tasmania to host some of the world’s best musical acts, comedians and entertainers.

Many of the aforementioned interstate visitors who flock to the state stay after the festival, and take the time to explore beyond the festival limits, bringing a further economic boost to our economy.

Punters will begin to head to the event on Friday. You’ll see them in supermarkets, stocking up on non-perishable foods and electrolyte-laden sports drinks.They’ll also be on the roads. And that’s where the warnings come in.

Music festivals are generally regarded as the domain on the young. Free from the shackles of the year, carloads of eager music lovers jump in their cars.

Distracted by music and conversation, spurred on by a desire to get the best camping spot, this is when bad driving habits can kick in.

Statistics from the Road Safety Advisory Committee show that young drivers are continuously over represented in serious and fatal crashes on our roads.

If you are a driver aged between 17 and 25, you are the most at risk of dying or obtaining a serious injury in a road-related incident.

While you make up a mere 6 per cent of our population, you represent 28 per cent of serious road casualties.

It’s not just the adrenaline, excitement-filled drive to the festival that places drivers in harm’s way. It is just as much the hours-long drive home, coupled with tiredness, a lack of sleep, and perhaps the after effects of too much alcohol.

There are many beautiful aspects to the Falls Music and Arts Festival. There are also ugly potentials.

If you or someone you know is making the trek this year, make sure they’re prepared to do what it takes to arrive there and home, safely.