Stay safe on the roads these school holidays

Posted by: Cal on 21/06/2013

Category: General

School holidays start next week in Queensland and the Northern Territory and they aren't far off now for the rest of the country.

Kids can look forward to a few weeks of freedom, but there is also another thing we can be sure of during the term break: busy roads.

While the morning and evening commute will probably be a more peaceful affair for many, the next few weeks are just as likely to see more hit the road to get away from it all for a wee while.

Drivers will therefore need to be just that extra bit cautious if they are heading away and exercise vigilance and common sense so that all road users remain safe over the holiday break.

Queensland police have a snazzy name for the road safety operation they run this time of year: Operation Cold Snap.

This year's initiative got underway on Thursday (June 20), and police will be out in force across the state until July 12, targeting the most common factors that contribute to fatal car accidents.

These include speeding, drink driving, people not wearing seatbelts, driver distraction and fatigue.

Queensland police minister Jack Dempsey says that the aim is for everyone to reach their destination safely this school holiday period.

"Every road user can do their part by obeying the Fatal Five and not drink driving, obeying the speed limits, wearing a seat belt, paying attention and not driving tired."

State Traffic Support Branch acting chief superintendent Dale Pointon said motorists could expect to see more random drink and drug testing of drivers, speed camera deployments as well as just generally more police out on the roads in both marked and unmarked vehicles.

While the police will do their part to catch out those engaging in unsafe behaviour on the roads, they advise drivers to do what they can to minimise risks in their own driving.

"Drivers need to be mindful of major contributors to fatalities including distraction which could be caused by simply adjusting the heater or looking at their kids in the rearview mirror," said Mr Pointon.

"Fatigue is a high factor in crashes and we urge motorists to be rested before they set out on a long trip and to take regular breaks throughout the journey."

If you're planning on heading away during the school break, now is also a great time to ensure your vehicle is all set for the trip.

Be sure to check your tyre pressure - your spare tyre too! - and to top up all the important fluids such as engine oil, brake fluid and the windscreen wiper liquid.

Be sure to check that your tyres are up to the task and have enough tread to keep you safe on the roads.

If the tread is getting down to around two millimetres at any point on your tyres, it is getting close to time to replace them and it's a good idea to talk to a tyre professional to get their advice about your tyre safety.

Verify that all your electrics are working and that your front and rear lights function correctly. If you are towing a trailer or caravan, ensure that the electrical connection is sound and that everything works as it should.

If your trip will see you driving for long stretches, make sure you don't overdo things. Regular rest breaks are a must, and if possible try to share the driving duties so that you can split the workload a bit. Make use of driver reviver stations and plan breaks as part of your trip.

Keep food and drink on board so you can get an energy hit when needed, and don't forget some great tunes too!