Stay safe in the holiday season

In Health and Safety, January 20212 MinutesBy Tracey MurphyFebruary 3, 2021

It‘s that time of year: longer days, more sunshine, more socialising, and more people on the road. It‘s also the time of the year when the road toll rises, creating heartbreak for families, friends and communities. The news focuses on the deaths, but there are many, many more people who are badly injured. The following are some examples of what can go wrong and some of the things we can do to manage them.

I recall a situation many years ago when State Highway 1 was closed and the traffic was diverted through Wanganui. There was a very slow, but steadily moving line of traffic as far as we could see. One driver was overtaking whenever he could, pushing in, taking big risks with his life and the life of the others on the road with him. About five kilometres after he passed my car, we saw his car – upside down in a ditch. The few minutes he may have saved by overtaking were lost in the resulting accident. Not to mention the impact on the other road users and the extra pressure on our emergency services. So, take your time. Try not to be frustrated with other road users, and enjoy your journeys.

Things that can go wrong What we can do
More people on the road Scan – use our mirrors to know what is going on in all directions around us.
Act before it becomes urgent.
Expect delays.
Pull over to let faster traffic past when it is safe to do so.
Don‘t overtake unless it is safe.
Drivers who don‘t know where they are going Familiarise yourself with the route, plan the journey, use GPS.
Scan (see above!)
Drivers unfamiliar with the road conditions Drive to the conditions.
Take your time.
Scan (see above!)
Fatigue Plan the journey. Take breaks and eat regularly.
Weather Plan for rain and sunshine.
Keep the windscreen clean and the wipers in good condition.
Keep the windscreen washer fluid topped up.
Use the visor and wear sunglasses.