Slow down and stay safe.
That's the message from the transport authorities this Easter.
"Our hope is that no family will have to grieve a loved one who doesn't get home safely this long weekend, so please, slow down, stay alert and be safe," Marg Prendergast, General Manager of the Centre for Road Safety in NSW tells The Weekly.
With over 440 recorded crashes in New South Wales alone last Easter, it's important to do what you can to avoid an accident. The Weekly have spoken to the NRMA to help you make your drive a safer one.
Make sure you include breaks in your travel time. We all know we're meant to stop for a fifteen minute break every two hours when driving. But not all of us do it. So this long weekend, plan some fun stop offs along the way if you're driving, whether it's at a local bakery or a coastal viewpoint. And if you’re passing the Big Banana, Big Lobster or one of the other Big Icons around the country, stop, revive - get a brilliant selfie - and survive.
Even if you 'only want one drink', don’t plan to drive. Aim to pass the breath test with flying colours, and set your own standards of zero this long weekend. Not only are there double demerit points but you’ll be travelling with double the traffic, so even just one sneaky glass of red can affect your reflexes and ability to avoid one of the many crashes occurring (if the past statistics are anything to go by).
Have the correct restraints for your passengers, including beloved pets. If you’re travelling with children, make sure they’re kept safe in the correct child seat or capsule. And the same goes for your pets on board. The best form of protection for your furry friend – and for everyone's safety in fact - are cargo barriers, says Jack Haley, NRMA's Motoring & Services Vehicle Policy Specialist. But if you can’t get your hands on something so sturdy, a harness is the next best option (although it won’t protect you all as well in a crash).
Prepare to expect the unexpected. It’s a technique every driver should know, but make sure you use it on the busy roads this long weekend. Ensure your line of sight is not down onto the road but parallel to it, so you're consequently looking further ahead. If there’s a crash or problem on the road, you’ll see it earlier, and are more likely to stay out of harm's way.
Check your car. It's really not hard, but it will pay off. Check your lights, tyres, steering, water and oil. It doesn't take much time and it will save you a whole heap on the road. Because breaking down in the middle of nowhere is no fun for anyone. And with all your fellow travellers in such a rush to get out of town, we’re not sure how many will be stopping to help you.