Last year, 68 per cent of road crash fatalities and 52 per cent of serious injuries occurred in regional South Australia.
MAC General Manager Road Safety Michael Cornish said regional driving usually meant longer distances and higher speed limits, bringing with them additional risks.
“If you make just a small mistake while driving on regional roads, it could have catastrophic consequences,” Mr Cornish said.
“Country driving can mean increased opportunities to become fatigued or distracted. There are also the additional risks of overtaking other vehicles, varying road conditions, and animals on the road.
“Driving is a complex task in any environment, and it is imperative that motorists are aware of the different risks posed by country driving.
“These new MAC resources are helpful for motorists who rarely drive outside of the metropolitan area, as well as providing valuable reminders to regional motorists who may have grown complacent.”
Most road crash fatalities and serious injuries in country SA involve regional residents - the five-year average (2009-2013) shows 69% rural, 23% metropolitan and 8% interstate when it came to place of residence.
“This is an important collection of road safety material which we are urging South Australian motorists to use,” Mr Cornish said.
The resources were developed in consultation with SA Police’s Road Safety Education team.
Other MAC’s “Staying Safe When Country Driving” topics include:
- Late Night Driving
- 10 Tips For Towing
- Broken Down?
The new resources can be found at http://www.mac.sa.gov.au/campaigns/country-driving
68 regional fatalities in 2014 73 of 108 road deaths in 2014 were in country areas
Did you know that fatigue is one of the biggest causes of road accidents on country roads? Long car rides can leave you exhausted, but there are a few ways to keep yourself alert and aware of any creeping tiredness. The more tired you are, the less you can recognise it, so it’s best to avoid getting sleepy in the first place rather than try to recover once it hits you.
Boredom is a key factor in causing driver fatigue. The boredom of a long car drive contributes to silly mistakes being made. While cruise control and climate control mean you can almost sit back, relax and wait to arrive, you won’t always be alert enough to respond quickly to an incident. Music is one way to keep you entertained, but be careful because it can also be a distraction. Don’t flick through songs, as this will take your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road.
Your vehicle travels 30 metres every second you are looking at your CD player or personal electronic device.
You've probably heard that you should take a 15-minute break for every two hours that you’re driving. That’s to prevent you from getting fatigued rather than fix fatigue that you already have. Once you start to feel tired, it’s too late to fix things with a short break. Rest and sleep are the only ways to cure fatigue once it sets in. Sharing the driving duties helps, but you should still stop the car and both move around every few hours. It gets the blood pumping as well as your mind focused and ready to continue the drive.
Even if you’re taking regular breaks, you shouldn’t drive longer than 8 to 10 hours in a day. Driving can be very mentally tiring, so try not to drive any longer than your normal workday. If you were at work, you would usually have a coffee around 10am, so when you’re driving, stop for a coffee around 10am. Your body gets used to this kind of regular break, so you should make sure you’re giving it what it needs. This also applies to driving at times when you would normally be asleep. Your body clock has a surprising amount of power over how fatigued you’re likely to get, so plan your long drives like you would plan a normal day.
Remember that the traditional ways to get over your fatigue, like loud music, cold air, or overloading on caffeine, are only a very short term fix. If you’ve noticed you feel tired, you’re already fatigued. To stay safe, make sure you plan for the entire journey.
MAC General Manager Road Safety Michael Cornish said that while sensible motorists often checked their vehicle safety ahead of road trips, they should also be mindful of what occurs inside vehicles.
“This long weekend and school holidays, a lot of vehicles will be carrying extra items while they’re travelling to holiday destinations,” Mr Cornish said.
“It’s a good idea to put any loose objects in the boot of the car or behind a cargo barrier.
“Items like laptops, sporting equipment, toys and gaming devices, even drink bottles, can become an unsecure missile that hits a passenger and causes injury in a crash.”
Some vehicles such as station wagons and four-wheel-drives may be able to install a cargo barrier to keep items from flying through a vehicle. These should comply with the Australian Standard for cargo barriers in motor vehicles.
Starting on Valentine’s Day, the new advertisements share messages about three key road safety issues in regional South Australia - speeding, drink driving and seatbelts.
Road Safety Minister Tony Piccolo said that fatalities on regional roads were overrepresented in the State’s road toll.
“Last year 68 per cent of fatalities in South Australia occurred in rural areas – 73 of 108 death s– and that is completely unacceptable,” Minister Piccolo said.
“In December alone, there were 16 fatal crashes in SA and 11 of those were in rural areas resulting in 15 deaths.
“In addition, 61 per cent of serious injury crashes last year occurred in rural areas.
“The Keep the Bromance Alive campaign is not just targeting people who live in rural areas but also those who travel on regional roads.”
Shot in the Adelaide Plains township of Mallala, with locals cast in starring roles, the new television commercial will air on regional and metropolitan television.
MAC General Manager Road Safety Michael Cornish said a community effort was required to reduce road trauma.
“All road users share a responsibility to help make our roads safer,” Mr Cornish said.
“Our research shows that one of the most important values in country towns is mateship.
“This campaign leverages that mateship with humorous language to grab attention and share a serious message.
“We want to encourage mates to speak up when they see another mate about to make a bad driving decision by giving them some examples of how they can do that.”
The commercial can also be viewed on the MAC website home page www.mac.sa.gov.au
What is a Standard Drink?
Protect those that are protecting you. #Drive25 when you see red/blue flashing lights. http://mylicence.sa.gov.au
“Fatigue is also an issue when driving throughout regional areas, so it’s important to support our drivers and take a break at least every two hours. Get out of the car with the kids, take a look around our beautiful state and support regional businesses.
“And when you are in the car, we hope that our list of car games for passengers to play can remind families – and inspire other travelling groups – of the fun that can keep our minds active and help us enjoy a safe driving experience.”
Fatigue was a factor in 11 per cent of fatalities, 8 per cent of serious injuries and 4 per cent of casualties in SA from 2008-2012.
MAC’s 5 car games for family road trips:
- Licence plate poetry – use the licence plate letters of other vehicles to devise funny sentences. For example, SCG could be “Silly Cats Gallop”.
- Quiz lists – think of your favourite interests, like “Marvel characters” or “Sports Stars”. Pick a letter of the alphabet and passengers need to name characters or sports stars beginning with that letter.
- Spotto – pick a colour and then say “Spotto” when you see a car that colour. You can’t pick white. The winner is the person with the most spottos at the end of the drive.
- Car karaoke – everyone chooses a song for a car sing-along.
- The Picnic Game – the first player says “I went to a picnic and I brought …” and ends the sentence with something beginning with A, like apples. The next player repeats the phrase, repeats the A item and then adds one that begins with B. See how far your car can progress through the alphabet.
For more information on fatigue go to http://www.mac.sa.gov.au/drivers#fatigue
Hamish Hartlett is a Motor Accident Commission Game Changer Ambassador and said motorists should rest for 15 minutes every two hours to avoid fatigue.
“We want everyone travelling to the Preliminary Final to stay alert and have a safe journey,” Hartlett said.
“As footballers we take pride in our preparation, we go into each game well rested and mentally prepared – and if you’re long-distance driving, preparation is important too. Plan ahead and share the driving task if you can.”
MAC General Manager Road Safety Michael Cornish appealed to motorists to avoid distractions and enjoy a safe footy finals experience.
“It can be tiring and tedious to drive long distances such as the Adelaide-Melbourne route,” Mr Cornish said.
“We’re asking motorists to remain focused and avoid tempting distractions like mobile phones. Switch off the phone and concentrate on the road ahead. One moment’s distraction puts your safety and the safety of other road users at risk.”
The Power will play the Hawks at the MCG at 4:45pm on Saturday 20 September.
“For a lot of people, the footy finals is a time to get together with friends and family, enjoy the big game and celebrate the end of the footy season, no matter which team we support,” MAC General Manager Road Safety Michael Cornish said.
“Whether you’re taking part in the festivities at home, a friend’s place, footy club or pub, we urge people to plan ahead and ensure they don’t drink drive.
“Drinking impairs decision-making, so it’s important to know beforehand how you’re going to get home.
“Of the drivers and riders killed in South Australia last year, 25 per cent had an illegal blood alcohol concentration.
“Studies have shown that every increase of 0.05 above zero in blood alcohol concentration doubles the risk of being involved in a crash.
“So have a designated driver, stay at your friend’s house overnight, or take public transport home.
“Make sure you look after your mates and loved ones – don’t let them drive if they’re under the influence.
“Alcohol and driving just do not mix and there’s more to lose than a game of footy.”
Driving tips can be found on the MAC website at www.mac.sa.gov.au
MAC General Manager Road Safety Michael Cornish said there was likely to be an increase in child pedestrians and cyclists. He also appealed to families embarking on long distance driving to plan ahead to avoid fatigue.
“It’s important to rest for at least 15 minutes every two hours,” Mr Cornish said.
“With younger children in the car, they’ll appreciate an opportunity to stretch their legs and play. More importantly, this also gives drivers the chance to refresh themselves.
“Fatigue is estimated to be a factor in up to 30 per cent of fatal crashes and 15 per cent of serious injury crashes. You owe it to yourself, your children and other road users, to stay alert on the roads.”
Term 3 in South Australian public schools ends this Friday 26 September, with term 4 commencing 13 October 2014.
Driving tips can be found on the MAC website at www.mac.sa.gov.au
The Crows’ Sam Kerridge and former Port Magpies player and coach Tim Ginever each got the chance to sit in a driving simulator. Donning a pair of specially-made goggles, they were faced with street scene complete with roads, footpaths, vehicles and pedestrians.
After adjusting to the simulator experience, Sam and Tim were each asked to attempt to send a text message, while at the same time “driving” . Both of our volunteers found it impossible to safely drive while being distracted by their smartphone screen. They drove into simulated pedestrians on screen and crashed into other vehicles.
According to Sam, a lot of people might think that mobile phone use while driving is “pretty harmless” but the simulator was “an eye-opener, a bit of a shock”.
After crashing into an animated pedestrian on screen, Sam said: “I looked up and even at 20 kilometres an hour, I still didn’t have time to brake. It’s daunting is it? I only had to look down for a split second.”
Tim also crashed into a simulated pedestrian during the experience. “Unbelievable,” he said. “I just looked up and ‘bang’. Imagine trying to live with that, that’s the sobering thing about the experience – I hit a child at 40kms.”
If you think you might be skilled enough to safely look away from the road and at your phone instead, think again. At 60 kilometres per hour, your vehicle is travelling at over 16 metres per second. Taking your eyes off the road for just three seconds to read a text means that you will travel almost 50 metres without looking at the road.
Driving is complex and drivers need to focus on one thing: driving.
Get rid of the distraction. Turn your mobile off. Put it in the glove box.