22 May

Essential tips to driving safe

Last year, there were 246 fatal road traffic crashes in Queensland, which totalled in the loss of 271 lives. 

While the fatality rate in 2013 is the lowest it’s been over the past 27 years for Queensland, the ideal number would be 0. That’s because the consequences of crashes and road accidents can be very confronting, which is why safe driving is so important. In today’s article, we take a look at how to stay safe while behind the wheel, as well as why some of the most tried-and-true safety measures are the best to observe to this day.

Watch your speed

Yes, okay, you’ve seen the numerous anti-speeding campaigns on TV, so you’re well aware that going higher than the allocated speed limit isn’t a good thing. However, while we’re aware that higher speeds mean it will be harder for us to stop in time prevent a potential crash, there is actually a statistical increase in the likelihood you’ll crash that helps put this into perspective.

According to research (note that measurements will be primarily in miles: 1 mile equals equates to around 1.6 kilometres), for every mile per hour your speed increases by, your likelihood of crashing increases by around 4 to 5 per cent. Yes, for going one extra mile (1.6 kilometres) faster per hour, you will effectively increase your likelihood of crashing by 4 or 5 per cent.

So if you were to exceed the speed limit by 10 miles / 16 kilometres per hour, you have just increased your likelihood of being involved in a crash by around 50 per cent. So going faster isn’t just a basic premise of it taking longer to stop or having less control over your vehicle – it also drastically increases your likelihood of crashing for each mile/1.6 kilometres you increase your speed by.

Never drive tired

Not enough can be said about the risks of driving while tired. Regardless of whether you fall asleep entirely or have random occurrences of what is known as microsleep, there’s no doubt such factors can endanger the lives of you, those in your vehicles, and other drivers on the road.

Even if you were to be driving on a quiet, straight stretch of road, a momentary occurrence of microsleep could see you drift off the road. If there are power lines, an embankment or ravine, homes/buildings or even one or two other cars (all of which are common on any road), that microsleep is enough to put many people’s lives in danger.

Sure, microsleep may only occur for a matter of seconds, but if you were travelling at 100km/hour, that equates to around 27.8 metres each second. So if you were to nod off for a couple of seconds, you will have already travelled more than 50 metres without being in control. If you start to feel tired while driving, stop ASAP and rest.

Always wear a seatbelt

Yep, it may seem like another obvious piece of advice, but sadly there are those who still refuse to wear seatbelts, making the assumption that they won’t be involved in an accident. However, in many developed countries, more than half of fatal car accidents occur due to individuals not wearing their seatbelts. At high speed, the lack of wearing a seatbelt can lead to absolutely horrifying consequences, such as individuals smashing through windshields and crashing along the road.

Defensive driving

To improve your reactions to potential risks while on the road (e.g. someone braking suddenly, reckless drivers, etc.), there is the option to take on defensive driving courses. Defensive driving courses are offered throughout Australia and can teach you additional tips on how to better react to potentially dangerous on-road situations. Even if you choose not to partake in defensive driving classes, you can teach yourself to be more prepared by simply being more observant and teaching yourself effective means of avoiding risks.

* Image source: Benson Kua; used under Creative Commons 2.0

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