What are the common causes of crash in Australia?

Posted by: Cal on 3/04/2014

Category: General

What's the number one reason to keep our car tyres in tip top condition? No, it's not looks or performance on those corners - it's safety.

Above all, keeping your car and driving skills (not just your tyres!) in check is the best way to stay safe on the roads. However, accidents do happen, and plenty of crashes occur on the Aussie roads each year.

Here we take a look at common causes of car crash in Australia, and give some tips on how to avoid them.

Tailgating/incorrect driving distance

According to Allianz Australia, nose to tail crashes were the number one type of car crash seen on the roads between 2011 and can result in fatalities if drivers are travelling at speed.

One of the main risk factors for this kind of crash is travelling too close behind the vehicle in front of you, also known as 'tailgating'. To minimise the risk of experiencing a nose to tail crash, drivers should always keep their distance from the car in front and follow the 'three second rule'. This rule means you must be following at a distance that would take at least three seconds to close should the car in front of you stop. Even if you're annoyed by a fellow motorist's slow driving, tailgating is not worth the risk of crashing!

Inadequate tyre maintenance

In addition, correctly maintaining your car tyres is another great way to minimise the risk of nose to tail crashes. Tread depth plays a large role in how quickly your car is able to stop, particularly in wet conditions. In one study, a Mercedes C-Class vehicle was used in over 1000 braking tests.

The car took 18.6 additional metres to come to a standstill when fitted with tyres with a tread depth of 1.6mm, the legal minimum, compared to a brand new tyre.

In fact, the new tyre was at a standstill while the tyre with 1.6 mm tread depth was still travelling over 40 km per hour.

Ensuring your car has the correct tread depth is essential when it comes to being able to stop quickly and effectively, as well as reduce the risk of losing control of the vehicle through aquaplaning, which is when the tyres lose grip on a wet surface.

Distraction

You're taught to always keep your eyes on the road, but some drivers find the temptation of mobile phones or changing the radio station too much to resist. Make sure you always keep your eyes on the road, and try to minimise distractions such as pets or rowdy kids when you can. Making decisions while distracted is not a good idea, and can often end in tragedy.

Over-confidence

Misjudging your ability to stay safely in control of a vehicle, particularly at speeds, is a big issue when it comes to crashes. Young inexperienced drivers are particularly prone to over-confidence, according to the Government of South Australia Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure's webpage mylicence.sa.gov.au.

Knowing when to reduce your speed to match the conditions is extremely important, and should be considered during wet conditions, on unsealed roads or when you're unsure of what lies ahead. However, there is no excuse for exceeding the speed limit at any time. It's there for a reason - so stick to it!

Not taking the time to think things through

Mylicense.sa.gov.au states half of all crashes occur at intersections, and a large reason for this is lack of experience in judging safe distances. However, rash decisions and impatience is also a large factor when it comes to crashes at intersections. Instead of just pulling out if you're in a hurry or a rude driver beeps behind you, wait for a larger gap to be sure it's safe to pull out.

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