RAA is urging South Australians to drive safely this King’s Birthday long weekend, in the hope the state doesn’t record any fatalities on top of the staggering 59 lives already lost on our roads in 2023.
In what has been a horror first half of 2023, there have been 397 serious injuries suffered on top of the 59 lives lost on SA roads, compared to the 34 deaths and 305 serious injuries at the same time last year.
RAA Senior Manager of Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain warned holidaymakers that regional roads carried increased risks of serious crashes.
“As thousands of drivers head out to our regions for the long weekend, we are urging everyone to be patient, focused and drive to the conditions,” Mr Mountain said.
“By their nature, regional roads come with an increased risk of having a serious crash, because vehicles are travelling at high speeds and for longer periods. Around 60 per cent of the lives lost on our roads in 2023 have been in our regions.
“On these roads we see more single-vehicle run off road crashes, which tend to lead to catastrophic consequences more often than other crash types.”
Mr Mountain alerted road users to the fact there had been lives lost on SA roads during the previous two June long weekends.
“Tragically there were lives lost on our roads during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend both in 2022 and 2021, so we are desperately hoping that doesn’t repeat this year.
“To ensure you arrive at your destination safely, we’re urging drivers to do everything they can to make sure they aren’t distracted or fatigued when they’re behind the wheel this weekend.
“This may mean pulling over for a rest and to let the kids out to run off some steam every two hours, or having a passenger control the music and directing so you can be fully focused on the task of driving.
“There is also a good chance the roads will be wet at some point this weekend, so adjusting your driving accordingly and ensuring you leave at least three seconds between your vehicle and the one in front will be vital.
“It’s also important to be aware of pedestrians and cyclists who may not be as visible in wet conditions. Pedestrian crashes increase by almost 50 per cent in the winter months due to lower visibility.
“All in all, we can never be complacent when we get behind the wheel. What we’ve seen so far this year shows how easily things can go awry.
“The current rate of road trauma in South Australia this year needs to be curbed, and it starts this weekend.”
Mr Mountain also suggested drivers double-check simple things on their vehicle before heading away – such as caravan and trailer attachments, the condition of tyres and that all headlights and brake lights are in working order.