Drive to survive

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Drive to survive

With increased traffic throughout the festive season, Limestone Coast Police are urging motorists to prioritise safety and be responsible on the roads.

Limestone Coast Police Superintendent Cheryl Brown said the risk of accidents was heightened during the festive season due to increased traffic on the roads.

Supt Brown explained the police force maintains an ongoing road safety strategy but were currently in the ‘Stop Drink Drug Drive’ campaign, specifically targeting individuals driving under the influence.

“Right at the moment, particularly with the festive season, we’d encourage people to understand their obligations and what the risks are with drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs,” she said.

SAPOL’s latest media strategy centres on the concept of ‘life is a gift’, emphasising the importance of safe driving practices.

“While many people will now, and particularly in our rural areas, be on roads to get from one function to another to visit family and share the festive season, people may try and go a bit faster or be distracted,” Supt Brown said.

“We need to encourage people to stay safe because it really does take just that split second for a drastic impact.

“Driver distraction is always a focus for us; paying attention to the road – if you’re distracted, who is driving the vehicle?

“It’s any form of distraction – using your phone, looking down to change the radio station or turning to talk to kids in the back seat.

“If you’re driving a vehicle, your attention must be on the road.

“We know the deaths that occur on rural roads is far greater than deaths in metro areas, and quite often deaths are associated with our own community members, people who think they know the roads very well and are quite safe.

“It’s the lack of understanding and appreciating those distractions, taking your attention off the road that results in that.

“I want to make sure our community is safe, not just for people who live here, but also for all the holidaymakers and families coming down to our regions.”

With schools now concluded for the year, Supt Brown said there will be a surge in interstate travel and more drivers on the roads.

“We will start to see quite an influx of traffic from Victoria and New South Wales moving down, particularly through the Robe and Beachport areas for celebrations which will put far more people on roads than what we currently have, which increases the risk,” she said.

“While our local community might understand those roads, people from interstate might not understand how those roads operate.”

Supt Brown emphasised the constant need for vigilance on the roads and offered practical tips for motorists to enhance safety.

“Take regular breaks, the recommendation is stop and revive every two hours, make sure you have a good road plan, understand that with the weather conditions are,” she said.

“Particularly the weather at the moment is quite volatile; we have had some severe winds and storms coming through.

“Have some preparation to gain an understanding, such as if it’s going to be very hot do you have sufficient water and food, do you know how long you will be on the road, do you have somewhere to stop and stay to revive.

“It’s really about that planning and preparation, it’s really about understanding that when you’re driving a vehicle you are in charge of something highly powerful.

“If you have other people in the vehicle with you, understand the implications of how many people you have in the car with you, you are responsible for everyone there.”

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