The vastness of Australia means that driving is often part of our daily lives. It also means that car accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence on our roads. Whether you are the not at fault driver or not, a car accident can be an extremely traumatic experience. This May, Right2Drive is supporting the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) and promoting their Fatality Free Friday campaign. Friday the 26th of May aims to raise awareness that we can all do our part to prevent fatalities on the road and prioritise driving safety. We’ve put together some tips on how you can do your part to help avoid car accidents.
Always Wear Your Seatbelt
Wearing a seatbelt is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent serious injury or death in a car accident. Make sure that all passengers in the car are also wearing their seatbelts. If you have children, ensure that they have the correct car seat or booster seat and that it is correctly fitted for their seated height.
Avoid Driving While Under The Influence of Drugs Or Alcohol
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs your ability to drive safely and increases the risk of accidents. Alcohol and drugs affect your judgment, decision-making abilities, and reaction times, making it difficult to control your vehicle safely. Keep in mind that some prescription medications can also reduce your ability to drive safely and affect your alertness. Always check the labels on any medication you may be taking and rather avoid driving if any medication you’re taking could affect your ability to drive safely.
Follow Road Rules And Obey Speed Limits
The driving rules in Australia vary between different states and territories, and you should always make sure you are familiar with them when you are driving. Understanding and following road rules can help you to avoid having an accident – especially when it comes to commonly misunderstood road rules like who has right of way when changing or merging lanes and how the rules of a roundabout work.
Speed plays a significant role in the severity of every accident and speed limits are set to ensure the safety of all road users. It’s important to pay attention to speed limits and make sure you’re driving the legal speed depending on the road you’re on.
Avoid Distractions While Driving
Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds when driving significantly increases your chances of being involved in an accident. Avoiding distractions while driving is essential to ensure that you remain focused on the road and can react to the constantly changing conditions. Using your mobile phone while driving is not only extremely dangerous, but also illegal across Australia. If you hold a full licence and you plan to make or receive calls or use the audio from your phone while driving, your phone should be connected to the Bluetooth in your vehicle before you start driving.
Keep a Safe Following Distance from the Vehicle in Front of You
Following another vehicle too closely increases the risk of rear-end accidents. A safe following distance between cars is what allows you to react and stop safely if the driver in front of you suddenly stops. Remember that your following distance should be increased when you’re travelling at higher speeds or in poor weather conditions. By keeping a safe distance, you’ll have enough time to stop or take evasive action if necessary. If someone is driving too closely behind you, you can find more tips on what to do in our article on tailgating.
Drive To The Conditions
Poor weather conditions can affect visibility and make it more difficult to stay in control of your vehicle. Slow down and be extra cautious when the road is slippery – for example in rain and snow. Allow more time for braking and make sure to use your headlights. If you are having difficulty driving in poor weather conditions, rather pull over when it is safe to do so and wait for the conditions to improve. Try to delay your travel if extreme weather, like hail, heavy rain, or sleet, is forecast.
Use Your Headlights And Indicators Properly
Always turn on your headlights when visibility is poor and use your indicators when changing lanes or turning. This will help other drivers on the road to see you and anticipate your actions. It’s also important to check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes or turning to ensure it’s safe to do so.
Plan Your Route Ahead Of Time
Knowing your route before you start driving can help you avoid unexpected turns or detours that might lead to an accident. It also helps you avoid the stress of getting lost and making impulsive decisions while driving. Make sure your GPS is set up before you start driving, and if you need to adjust it, pull over first.
Keep Your Vehicle Well-Maintained
Regular maintenance of your vehicle can help to ensure it’s running safely. Check consumable items such as engine oil, oil filters, radiator coolant, brake pads, brake fluid, air filters and windscreen wiper blades which need to be maintained and replaced on a regular basis. By making sure your tyres, brakes and mechanical systems are running smoothly, you can help prevent break downs and accidents.
What Happens If You Do Have An Accident?
Unfortunately, sometimes even when you do follow all the rules and take every possible precaution, you could still be involved in an accident. If you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault, we may be able to assist you with an accident replacement vehicle for the entire duration of your repairs and at no cost to you. Check whether you’re eligible and apply now to get back on the road after an accident.