Beach parties, Santa hats, work holidays and the highest number of road fatalities for any 5 day period in the entire year, welcome to the Christmas holidays. While most of us enjoy our annual rituals and customs which come with the festive season, our high Christmas road deaths have, in our recent history, become something of an inevitability. The figures have decreased and the messages of caution are slowly but surely being listened to by an ordinarily sceptical Australian public, but more can be done. With all this in mind we turn our efforts this week to informing readers on the common causes of Christmas accidents and some tips on how to avoid them.
While most know that speeding and drinking are amongst the most dangerous things to do on the road, there can be times where people forget the other more niche road accident causes. In-car distraction is a particularly important cause to note, especially when one considers that the distraction level increases for each additional passenger, be they screaming children or half “merry” adults. Other accident causes include driving conditions and defects relating to your vehicle. These can all be overcome with well considered route planning, increased awareness, knowing your vehicle and general diligence at the wheel.
1. Plan your journeys - this includes planning your route, checking the vehicle and communicating the plans, especially for long journeys. For more on free navigation tools see our GPS article.
2. Plan for distractions - they will come up and you need to be prepared for how you are going to handle them. Have a look at our previous article on driver distraction for more advice.
3. Know your backup plans - this is especially important to consider as there are times when leaving the car and taking a taxi home really is the most sensible option.
4. Be aware of how long it takes for alcohol to leave your body - early morning booze buses are there for a reason.
5. Try to plan pickups or drop offs - people need to be dropped off and picked up during the day so planning for these is critical.
6. Try to avoid last minute grocery trips - these, like the pick-ups and drop offs can, if not properly planned, lead to the “I’ve had a few, but I think I’m ok” dilemma.
7. Try to avoid doing all the driving - having a partner or a friend carry out some of the driving can help as you don’t want to feel like you’re constantly missing out on all of the fun just for acting responsibly.
Whilst planning for every outcome is not realistic and knowing everything before you set off is impossible, it is important that as a driver you grow with every holiday season and learn from your experiences. At this time of year it helps to cast ones mind back to past Christmases where the driving was either a big problem or a big success. Recalling the details of these situations can help you prepare for the challenges whilst learning from past mistakes. In the end just remember Christmas driving really is a different category of driving to the standard commute to work, and for this reason it deserves extra attention and thought.
Stay safe, thanks for reading and have a happy Christmas from everyone at Fleetcare.