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AA's Top Ten Tips For Staying Safe

21 December 2006

AA's Top Ten Tips For Staying Safe On The Roads This Summer

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 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.

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.

Maintain the gap - maintain a minimum two-second gap between your car and the vehicle in front. The gap should be greater in adverse weather or visibility conditions.

Keep left - keep to the left at all times unless overtaking, and then only if you have a clear view of the road throughout the manoeuvre. Check your rear-view mirror and side mirrors regularly.

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 - if going on a long trip, get a good night's sleep beforehand. Avoid driving late at night, and take a power nap if you feel tired or stressed. Take regular breaks while driving - consider your passengers too.

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 call, or if you're travelling alone turn your phone off and check it only when you take a break.

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.

ENDS

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