Navigating Regional Roads for Rural Road Safety Month

Category: CTAM News Safety Date: 22 Aug 2023

How do you stay safe on the roads? Let us know in the comments!

There’s something undeniably enchanting about embarking on a caravanning adventure through Australia’s vast and picturesque rural landscapes.

However, with the allure of these less-travelled roads comes a responsibility that all caravanners must embrace: road safety.

Recent research from The Australian Road Safety Foundation highlights that two out of three road deaths in Australia occur on regional roads, making it imperative for every traveller to prioritise safety on their journey.

In light of Rural Road Safety Month, we have listed some of the best ways to keep yourself, your families & other drivers as safe as can be on regional roads.

Understanding the Statistics

According to research conducted by the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) in 2022, the statistics speak volumes about the risks and the need for heightened road safety awareness:

  1. Frequency of Travel: An astonishing 91% of Australians venture onto high-risk rural roads at least once a year, indicating that the allure of these picturesque routes transcends demographics.
  2. Regular Usage: Over a third of drivers (more than 33%) use regional roads at least once a week, demonstrating that these roads are not just reserved for special occasions, but are part of many Australians’ routine travels.
  3. Primary Motivation: A significant 60% of individuals use regional roads for personal travel, underlining the vital role these roads play in connecting us to our loved ones, recreational destinations, and places of interest.
  4. Residency versus Travel: Contrary to what one might assume, living in a rural area accounts for only 27% of the reasons for driving on regional roads. This indicates that many urban residents also frequently journey into rural territories, making road safety a concern for a broad cross-section of the population.

Tips for Caravanners

As caravanners, your journeys are about more than just reaching a destination – they are about experiencing the beauty of the landscapes and the joy of the open road.

To ensure that your caravanning adventures remain enjoyable and safe, here are some crucial road safety tips to keep in mind:

  1. Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection: Before hitting the road, make sure your towing vehicle and caravan are in excellent condition. Check tires, brakes, lights, and towing equipment to prevent breakdowns or accidents due to mechanical issues.
  2. Stay Informed: Research your route thoroughly. Be aware of road conditions, weather forecasts, and any potential hazards that may be present along the way.
  3. Drive Defensively: Regional roads can present unexpected challenges, including wildlife crossings and uneven surfaces. Drive at a safe speed, always stay focused, and be prepared to react to sudden situations.
  4. Avoid Fatigue: Long stretches of rural roads can be tiring. Plan for regular breaks, switch drivers if possible, and never drive when you’re tired.
  5. Share Your Plans: Let someone know about your travel itinerary and expected arrival times. This way, in case of any unforeseen circumstances, help can be alerted promptly.
  6. Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency kit with essentials like water, first aid supplies, a flashlight, and basic tools. In remote areas, these items can be crucial.
  7. Stay Connected: Have a reliable means of communication, such as a satellite phone or a well-charged mobile phone, to stay connected in areas with limited reception.
  8. Respect Local Conditions: Rural areas might have different road rules or hazards unique to the region. Observe speed limits, road signs, and local advice.
  9. Wildlife Awareness: Be cautious of wildlife, especially during dawn and dusk when animals are most active. Slow down if you see wildlife near or on the road.

Co-Existing & Sharing the Roads

There is wide-scale recognition that the provision of rest areas for motorists and heavy vehicle drivers is an integral part of a holistic approach to the management of driver fatigue on Australian roads.   

All Australians deserve the right to arrive safely at their destinations regardless of their reasons for travelling, be it work, or lifestyle.

Some ways to boost your safety whilst co-existing with trucks on the road can include:

  • Staying out of the heavy vehicle blind spots
  • Following at a safe distance
  • Knowing the rest area rules
  • Having your UHF Radio knowledge

Caravanning through rural Australia offers unparalleled experiences and a chance to create cherished memories, however, these journeys should never come at the expense of safety.

By understanding the significance of road safety statistics and following essential safety measures, caravanners can contribute to a safer road environment for everyone, while still relishing the thrill of adventure that comes with travelling off the beaten path.

So, before you embark on your next road trip, remember: a safe journey is a happy journey!