With September being Rural Road Safety Month, caravanners are once again being reminded of the importance of staying alert on the roads and of being properly prepared for their trips.
With two in three road deaths occurring on regional roads, new research from the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) has detailed why all Australians have a personal responsibility to take greater action. It said the most concerning result from their research was the number of respondents who admitted to unpreparedness and bad behaviour when driving in rural areas … a lethal combination.
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia says pre-planning, understanding your RV setup including towing and your caravan weights, fatigue management and being patient are critical components of staying safe on the road.
It says, with more than 90% of camping trips being in regional areas, this is an important message.
“Planning starts before the key is turned, get your car and RV serviced, take a refresher towing course if needed and plan your trip,” said Luke Chippendale, GM of Government Relations. “Plan your trip before you leave, how far you intend to travel each day, plan your rest and fatigue management stops and book your accommodation in advance.”
September is also a peak family camping holiday period, so the need for vigilance is greater than ever.
Stuart Lamont, CEO of Caravan Industry Association of Australia, said that research demonstrated that speeding, inattention and driving tired are the leading causes to accidents on regional roads.
He said that putting the phone away, and planning your trip with rest stops and being well rested were key.
“Travellers might be tired from an early start from home, maybe tired after a big camping trip and focussed on just getting home,” Mr Lamont said. “We urge travellers to once again stop for a minute and make sure you have planned your trip, make sure you are rested and don’t rush.”
The CIAA says co-existing with other road users, in particular, Heavy Vehicles, is another important part of motoring, and using a UHF with your channel displayed clearly on the back of your van facilitates good communication for overtaking or reporting hazards to oncoming vehicles.
It says other rural hazards can include narrow sealed or unsealed roads with soft shoulders or loose gravel causing less traction, and roaming livestock.
The organisation says travellers should carry appropriate tools to potentially carry out some basic repairs, as well as items such spare bearings, seals and grease. Of course, taking ample water in case of a breakdown, around 5–7 litres per person, is important, as well as a basic first aid kit.
And the CIAA suggests that RVers might consider taking a Towing Education course, a First aid course, and learn how to use their communication devices appropriately.
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