With many people hitting the road to attend Christmas gatherings and end of year celebrations, and tourists arriving in record numbers, it’s crucial that everyone takes extra care on the road.
Travelling during holiday periods can be more risky due to increased traffic volumes, tiredness, people driving in unfamiliar environments, and a higher number of people driving under the influence of alcohol.
Most visitors tour Tasmania by car and/or recreational vehicle resulting in increased traffic volumes during the holiday season.
In the year ending June 2016, Tasmania received 224,000 international visitors (up 13 per cent from the previous year) and that number has since increased.
In some cases visitors are driving on the opposite side of the road to what they are used to, while others are on windy and dirt roads that are rarely seen in their home areas.
Some tourists aren’t even used to driving regularly or for long distances, as alternative forms of transport are more commonly used where they come from.
It's important to give drivers extra space, cut out distractions, always be aware of your surroundings and be ready to make a quick decision.
More social events also means more drink drivers on the roads over the coming weeks.
Driving under the influence is one of the biggest killers on Tasmanian roads with one in four fatalities and one in eight serious injuries linked to drink driving. Alcohol and other drugs can decrease your mental alertness and concentration, physical coordination, and ability to react quickly to appropriately to what's happening on the road.
If you're drinking, always plan a safe ride home whether it be from a taxi or rideshare service like Uber, public transport, or from a friend or family member.
Adopting these defensive driving techniques can help keep you safe on the road
- Think safety first
- Do not depend on other drivers
- Follow the 3 to 4 second rule, leaving drivers extra space
- Keep your speed down and drive to the conditions
- Have an escape route
- Avoid drowsy driving
- Cut out distractions (yes, it's time to turn the volume of your Michael Buble Christmas album down)
- Avoid multi-tasking (especially texting or talking on your cell phone)
Take extra care in carparks
The festive period and post Christmas sales bring a large number of shoppers into town, each vying for that coveted car parking space at any cost.
RACT Insurance CEO Trent Sayers said that in 2015 and 2016, claims data showed that more than 10 percent of all accidental damage claims in December and January were as a result of a car park collision.
“Multi-story car parks are notoriously awkward to navigate,” he said.
“With the volume of traffic at this time of year, extra care should be taken to check mirrors and blind spots to reduce the chances of hitting another car or pedestrian.
“While it is impossible to protect yourself against every risk you face, making sure your car and your home are adequately insured will help to minimise the financial impact should an accident occur.”
- Information supplied by RACT