Staying safe on the road is important for all drivers. There are a number of factors to be aware of that can affect both driving and road safety.
We've put together a range of top practical driving tips that can support you in driving safely on the roads, wherever you are:
- Stay alert - Actively pay attention to your actions and those of the drivers around you when you are driving.
- Avoid assumptions - Don't make the mistake of assuming that other drivers are going to do or what you think they should do.
- Use your indicators - While you can't depend on others always signaling their intentions when driving, you can control whether or not they have realistic expectations for your actions. Always use your indicators well before making a lane change or turning.
- Buckle up - Wearing your seat belt is an essential safety tip for drivers. Not only are you more likely to get injured in an accident if you aren't wearing a seat belt, you can also be fined for failing to do so.
- Follow traffic signals - Pay close attention to and obey stop signs and traffic lights.
- Respect yellow lights - Remember that the intent of a yellow light is to notify drivers to slow down and prepare to stop. A yellow traffic signal should not be viewed as a sign to step on the gas to rush through an intersection before the light turns red.
- Come to a complete stop - When you see a stop sign or a red light, it's important to bring your vehicle to a complete stop, even if you think no other vehicles are coming.
- Do not text and drive - It is never acceptable to send text messages when driving.
- Obey speed limits - It's important to stick to the speed limit at all times. The restrictions placed on vehicle speed are not established arbitrarily. They are carefully selected to maximise safety for drivers and for individuals in the homes, businesses, and other organisations in the areas where roads are located.
- Make adjustments for weather-When the weather is less than perfect, such as rainy, snowy, or foggy conditions, use extra precautions when driving and follow guidelines for staying safe in the particular situation you are facing.
- Exercise patience - Many accidents are caused by impatient drivers who are rushing to get from point A to point B. While time is certainly a valid consideration when traveling, safety is even more important.
- Be predictable - Don't make sudden stops or lane changes. Instead, take care to ensure that other drivers are likely to be able to predict your actions to maximise safety.
- Never drive under the influence - It's essential to avoid operating a vehicle if you have been drinking, taking certain types of prescription or non-prescription drugs, or are otherwise impaired.
- Give right of way - When other drivers has the right of way, be sure to yield to them. Also, don't make the mistake of assuming that everyone else will yield to you when they should. Regardless of who has the right to go, yield if it seems that the other driver may not be observing standard practices for yielding.
- Know where you are going - Plan your travel route ahead of time so that you aren't struggling to figure out where to go while you are operating a motor vehicle.
- Respect stopped vehicles - When passing vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road, move over to get out of the way if the way is clear for you to change lanes. If changing lanes is not possible, slow down while passing stopped vehicles.
- Avoid distractions - Sending text messages isn't the only dangerous distraction that drivers need to avoid while operating a vehicle. Changing CDs, using cell phones, eating, and interacting with passengers are just a few examples of the types of distractions that you should take care to avoid when driving.
- Use headlights when needed - Headlights aren't just necessary at night. When you are driving in the rain or fog, turning on your headlights can play an important role in keeping you - and those around you - safe on the road.
- Share the road - Remember that you are not the only driver on the road. An important safety trip that everyone needs to follow is the need to share the road with others graciously, recognising that all drivers deserve to be treated with respect.
- Proper vehicle maintenance - Take care to ensure that your car stays in good working condition. This includes keeping fluids topped up, performing schedule engine maintenance, making sure tyres have plenty of air, and ensuring that the car's lights are working at all times.
The Australian Road Rules
The National Transport Commission reviews the Australian Road Rules every two years. To find out what rules apply in your state or territory or to find out what they're doing about road safety, contact your state or territory road transport agency.