AA’s Top 10 Tips for Safe Driving This Christmas
Media Release: 20 December 2007
AA’s Top 10 Tips for Safe Driving This Christmas and New Year
With Christmas and New Year nearly here, our thoughts turn to the safety of families and friends travelling on the roads. The AA has prepared the following driving tips to help keep New Zealanders safe this holiday period:
Courtesy – be courteous and show consideration to other road users. Obey the rules of the road. Plan your travel to avoid traffic jams and keep calm.
Speeding – excessive speed is a major cause of road accidents. Drive within the speed limit at all times and to the conditions. Watch ahead for slow traffic or road signs notifying a change in the speed limit. If you encounter sunstrike or heavy rain, or are unsure of the road, slow down.
Maintain the gap – make sure you have a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front, so you have enough time to stop suddenly if you need to. Under normal driving conditions the two-second rule is an easy way to do this, although you will need to increase the following distance to four seconds in adverse weather or visibility conditions.
Keep Left - keep to the left at all times unless overtaking, and then only if you can see 100 metres of clear road ahead of you once you have finished passing. Check your rear-view mirror and side mirrors regularly. If you are driving on the open road in peak holiday traffic turn on your main headlights in dip mode, this helps you to be seen by oncoming and overtaking traffic.
Seatbelts – wear your seatbelt at all times, and ensure every passenger is securely restrained. Pay particular attention to children, and don’t forget to secure pets or loose items.
Fatigue –get adequate rest and a good night’s sleep before setting off on a long road trip. Avoid driving at times you would normally be asleep, late at night or early morning are high risk times for fatigue crashes. If fatigued, pass the driving over to another driver, provided they are less fatigued, or quickly find a safe area where they can pull off the road to have a short powernap - 20 minutes is recommended.
Drink driving – driving and alcohol don’t mix. If you’re attending a social function and intend to drink, leave your car at home or nominate a sober driver. Never get in a car with a drunk driver.
Cellphones – don’t text and drive, or talk on a mobile phone while driving. Statistics show that using a mobile phone while driving is as dangerous as driving over the legal blood alcohol limit. Ask a passenger to handle any phone calls, or if you’re travelling alone turn your phone off and check it only when you take a break.
To conserve fuel – driving smoothly and avoiding unnecessary acceleration will reduce fuel consumption and be less stressful; you can cut 13% off your fuel bill by travelling at 100km/h instead of 110km/h. Reduce drag by keeping your windows up and not using a roof or bike rack unless you have to, and only use air-conditioning when absolutely necessary. Pull over somewhere safe and take a break if you get stuck behind a line of traffic.
Love your car – have your car checked or serviced before starting on your holiday to minimise the inconvenience of a breakdown. Check the pressure of your tyres and make sure your registration and WoF is current, and if you own a diesel, buy plenty of RUC for the holidays.