RAA is pleading for patience on South Australian roads, as thousands of drivers prepare to head away during what is often one of the worst fortnights of the year for fatal crashes.
RAA analysis of crash data reveals that in the last five years there were three times as many fatal crashes in the second fortnight of December (29) when compared with the first fortnight (9), prompting the road safety plea from RAA as summer holidays officially begin.
The number of lives lost on SA roads in 2023 is now 108 – compared to 66 at the same time last year.
RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain urged drivers to be vigilant and leave extra time for their journeys during the festive period.
“While school and work begins to wind down for thousands of South Aussies over the Christmas/New Year period, we can’t take a holiday from driving safely and looking after one another on our roads,” Mr Mountain said.
“No one ever wants to lose a loved one, and especially not over the Christmas break, which should be a happy time of celebrating with friends and family.”
Mr Mountain said there was a higher proportion of single vehicle run-off-road crashes in regional areas over the holiday period, as well as more pedestrian crashes in metropolitan Adelaide.
“Single vehicle run-off-road crashes occurring in regional areas may be due to drivers travelling on unfamiliar roads, and potentially at excessive speeds or under the influence of drugs or alcohol,” Mr Mountain said.
“The leading ‘Fatal 5’ causes of road trauma are distraction, speeding, driving under the influence, not wearing a seatbelt and dangerous driving – all things some of us may be tempted to do during the festive season.
“Taking simple steps like leaving a few minutes earlier, having a passenger navigate and control the music for you, or organising a taxi or uber ahead of time can reduce this temptation and your risk of being involved in a crash.”
Mr Mountain also urged parents to have a conversation about road safety with their children before heading away, especially if there were young drivers in their family.
“Crash data shows P1 drivers are involved in six times the number of crashes compared with supervised learner drivers, so it’s vital to do more than the bare minimum required before you get your provisional licence.
“We recommend talking to your friends and family about the responsibility that comes with being behind the wheel and sharing the road with others.
“When you’re driving, always drive to the conditions and be extra careful to look out for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, as there will be more of them on our roads during the school holidays and in the warmer weather.
“We’re pleading with drivers to slow down and potentially save a life this summer.”