Listen: CEO of Australian Road Safety Foundation Russell White reminds us about the responsibility that comes with being behind the wheel
The Christmas and summer holiday season is always a busier one on our roads but, this year, there’s likely to be even more road-trippers as local getaways become the main option for families and holiday-makers so messages around road safety and drink driving are of paramount importance.
New research commissioned by non-alcoholic drink manufacturer Sans Drinks is revealing 37 per cent of Australians still plan to drink when they know they will be driving – one in five respondents also said they’d still drive despite not knowing if they’re over the limit.
CEO of Australian Road Safety Foundation Russell White told Hope 103.2, “Most people realise that drinking and driving is a socially unacceptable thing, but unfortunately this latest research shows that a significant number of Australians – in fact, a third of Aussies will chose to drink alcohol when they’re intending to drive. So that’s a big thing we’ve, of course, got to try and change”.
One reason the many campaigns we see about making a ‘plan B’ and not drinking and driving may be ignored is because of the social pressure some people feel to be “part of the party”.
Although, Russell said the safest option, if you’re driving, is to stick to non-alcoholic options and remember the responsibility that comes with being on the road.
“You can’t guess whether you’re OK,” Russell said.
“For some people they can have one drink and already be at 0.05, and for others it might be slightly different. It can vary day-to-day, depending on how much you’ve eaten, and a whole stack of factors – just going, ‘I think I might be right’, isn’t enough.
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“If you’ve got the keys and you’re going to be driving other people, then you have to take that responsible route.
“There are a lot of alternatives these days with a lot of manufactures bringing out alcohol-free drinks, which is a great thing to see. So you can still consume those drinks, still be part of the party, still enjoy yourself, but obviously if you’re going to be driving you just need to take on the responsibility [it carries].”
3 Road Trip Safety Tips
When it comes to heading out on a long drive – think 2-plus hours – Russell also has some tips for making it a safe one, and how city-slickers can prepare themselves for heading out into rural areas of NSW.
1. Don’t leave car safety checks to the last minute
“A lot of people leave it until a couple of days before they leave and then realise they might need new tyres or the car might need a service. My advice is to get those checks done very early on in the piece. Certainly now with the delays on delivery times, you might find that your local tyre dealer doesn’t have the same level of stock that they normally do.”
2. Make sure you’re well rested
“Don’t take on a big drive if you’ve been working all day and thinking, ‘I’ll just do a long drive just to get there’ because that’s when we have these terrible fatigue incidents.”
3. Make sure you’re in a fit state to drive
“Ensure you’re well-hydrated, have a regular break and don’t push yourself. There’s going to be a lot of cars on the road – particularly as we get to the festive season, so expect longer travel times and just enjoy the journey; don’t push yourself.”
If you’re not familiar with rural trips Russell said:
4. Look further down the road as the speed limits increase
“People who drive in the city tend to assume the situational awareness space of things happening in relatively close proximity, and the travel speeds are slower.
“When they transition into a freeway or rural setting, they tend not to look as far down the prod as they possibly could… the big things for us are making sure people are projecting their mind ahead and taking note of the road conditions.”
5. Don’t overtake without adequate room
“If you’re going to make an overtaking move [make sure] that you can guarantee you can get that done without any problem. I usually find that if that thought pops into someone’s head, ‘I may not have time enough to do this maneuver’, then chances are that’s probably right.”
Listen to the full interview with Russell White in the player above.