Once again the festive season has arrived and it’s a time for catching up with family and friends and enjoying the celebrations.

It is however, important to remember that it is also one of the most challenging times of the year when it comes to road safety. Certainly we want everyone to enjoy this period, but we also want to ensure that it is a safe time on our roads.

One of the most critical factors is to ensure your own personal fitness to drive or operate a motor vehicle.

A research report conduction by the Australian Road Safety Foundation and Bob Jane T-Marts released this week demonstrated alarming findings when it comes to the issue of drink driving and fitness to drive generally.

The findings showed that:
In the past twelve months, close to a third of Australians (32%) admit to having driven while knowingly over the limit

• Similarly, close to one in ten (9%) admit to getting behind the wheel of a car, while under the influence of illegal drugs
• More than 1 in 5 Australians (21%) unashamedly admit to not knowing what the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is
• Close to a quarter of Aussies (22%) admit to driving the day after a big night, even when they thought they might be over the limit

Whilst we have successfully changed the level of social acceptance compared to thirty years ago, this new research finding highlights the fact that we can never take our foot off the throttle when it comes to road safety education.

So it’s important always remember the following tips.

1. Don’t be a day-after drink driver
A shocking 61% of Australians don’t know how long it takes for alcohol to leave their system. It takes a minimum of one hour to metabolise less than one standard drink, so give yourself ample time for the alcohol to clear your system, even if you feel okay to drive the next morning.

2. Check the car before setting off
While millions of Australians plan to travel interstate this holiday season, close to one in three (30%) won’t give their car a thorough check before setting off. Be sure to at least check your oil, water, tyre pressure and brakes before hitting the road.

3. Know your tyre tread
A whopping 79% of Australian road users don’t know what the correct tyre tread is, leaving them at risk of unsafe driving conditions – especially during linger road trips. The minimum amount to be considered roadworthy is 1.6mm, but it’s wise to replace tyres a 2mm as wet- weather grip is diminished when there is a small amount of tread. To check tread depth, put a match head into the tread grooves, and if any part of the head shows above the grooves, it’s time to replace the tyre.

4. Take regular breaks
Even if you don’t feel tired, take regular breaks to avoid becoming fatigued or lacking concentration. It is recommended to take regular 15 minute breaks at least every two hours to remain alert on the road.

5. Proactive Driving
Anticipate that other drivers may forget to indicate or look to see if you are nearby. Keep at least a three-second gap (more space will be needed in rain or foggy conditions) between you and the car ahead to allow time to react to any sudden changes.

We see far too much loss of life on our roads which is sadly heightened during the holiday period.

By following these simple tips, you can help reduce the risks on the road this holiday season.

Drive Safely.