Survive the drive

Driving tips to help you return home safely from your road trip.

According to research from the Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), road crashes are the second leading cause of fatalities and injuries requiring hospitalisation in Australia.

From 1 June 2020–31 May 2021, the Queensland road toll increased by 28% with 294 people dying on our roads.

Consider these tips before your next road trip to ensure you, and your family, make it home safely. 

Driver distraction

Whether you’re calming a distressed child in the back seat, adjusting the stereo or eating, it’s easy to become distracted behind the wheel.

One of the biggest driver distractions is mobile phone usage, contributing to 18% of fatal crashes*. According to research from the Australian Automobile Association, looking at a phone screen for two seconds or more makes drivers four times more likely to have a crash.

Driving conditions can change quickly and you may not be able to safely respond to events if you are not paying attention to the road.

Find out how to set your phone to “do not disturb” to reduce your risk of distraction while driving.

Drink driving

Drink driving is a major contributing factor in more than 20% of road fatalities in Queensland* despite the blood/breath alcohol concentration (BAC) limit having been in place for more than 25 years.

Drinking alcohol reduces our ability to drive safely, affecting judgment, vision, coordination and reflexes, and increases the risk of crashing.

If you’re going to drink, think about how you’ll get home before you go out.

Consider taking public transport, appoint a designated driver or decide on a taxi/rideshare. 

Find out why it’s difficult to accurately monitor how much alcohol you’ve had. 

Speeding

Speeding is not just driving faster than the posted speed limit. It is also driving too fast for the weather, light, traffic and road conditions. 

Travelling at just 10km/h faster than other road users means you’re twice as likely to have a serious crash*.

On most trips, speeding will not save you very much time. For example, on a 10 km journey, you would save less than a minute if increasing your average speed from 60 km/h to 65 km/h. 

On a 100 km journey, a reduction in speed from 110 km/h to 100 km/h added only between 2-5 minutes to the overall travel time.

Fatigue 

Fatigue doesn’t just relate to falling asleep at the wheel, even brief lapses in concentration from feeling tired can have serious consequences behind the wheel.

Ensure you are getting 7-9 hours quality sleep, especially before a long drive, and avoid driving late at night or when you’d normally be asleep.

On a road trip, take a break every two hours and share the drive.

Find out how to avoid fatigue on a long road trip.

Seatbelts and restraints

While seatbelts have been compulsory for more than 50 years in Queensland, drivers and their passengers are still being killed in crashes because they are not properly restrained when travelling.

In 2020, failure to use seatbelts and restraints contributed to the deaths of 48 people on Queensland roads, some of whom may have survived if they had worn a seatbelt.

Find out how to check if your seatbelts and restraints are in good working order.  If you are unsure of the condition of the belt consult your mechanic.

Best-practice guidelines are available for child restraint selection and fitting.

*Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) fact sheets.
Department of Transport and Main Roads road safety statistics.