MEDIA RELEASE – 22 December 2010

Residents of the Canberra region are urged to encourage safer driving by their children on Learner and Provisional licences as the summer holiday season approaches.

 “For many parents living in Canberra and Queanbeyan, the reality is that their children will want to drive to the south coast with their friends at some stage, and without specific preparation this could have tragic consequences,”  said Tony Commisso,  of the NRMA Safer Driving School, Canberra and Queanbeyan.

 “With the summer holidays upon us, now is the time to consider how best to prepare Learner licence and recent Provisional licence drivers for the safest driving journey possible.

 “Understandably your son or daughters’ driving instructor cannot prepare them for all types of road conditions. And being able to drive to the required learner driver standard does not specifically address the risks associated with the holiday traffic and road conditions encountered on the perilous Kings Highway,” he continued.

 Unfortunately, the hard facts support the Mr Commisso’s sentiments, with the casualty crash rates on the Kings Highway being 85% higher than the NSW average, and road fatalities at 8% higher. A study by the NRMA also found that in particular, the rate of people hospitalised after crashes on the Kings Highway is well over the national average.  877 crashes were recorded on Kings Highway over a 10-year period, an average of about one crash every four days. *

 Parents are encouraged to visit the NRMA’s Safer Driving School website where they can find useful information and handy tips on developing specific skills for driving the Kings Highway as a new driver.

 “As parents you need to provide specific skills to Learner licence and recent Provisional licence drivers to help them to safely manage this trip. Once these drivers have the required skills, the inevitable trip to the coast without you will be safer and you can rest easier,” Mr Commisso concluded.

 For more information visit www.nrma.drivingschoolservices.com.au

*Source:  http://www.mynrma.com.au/cps/rde/xbcr/mynrma/SouthernNSW_ACT_Report.pdf

MEDIA BACKGROUNDER

 More statistics on the Kings Highway:

  •  877 crashes were recorded on the Kings Highway over a 10-year period, an average of about one crash every four days.
  •  Over this time there have been 24 fatal crashes, 355 crashes resulting in injury and 488 crashes resulting in property damage.
  • The most common type of crash – 18% of all incidents – was when a vehicle leaves the road to the left on a right hand bend and crashes into a stationary object.
  • Head-on collisions made up one in 10 of all crashes. Crashes occurred most frequently on Sundays (20%) and least frequently on Tuesdays (9%).*

 *Source:  http://www.mynrma.com.au/cps/rde/xbcr/mynrma/SouthernNSW_ACT_Report.pdf

 Tips on safer driving between Canberra and the South Coast:

  • Supervising drivers should reassure learner drivers that they are not doing anything uncourteous or unlawful by driving to the correct speed limit.
  • If being tailgated by an aggressive driver maintain your speed, do not break suddenly and scan well ahead to ensure that any hazards requiring sudden breaking or buffering can be provided for as early as possible to slow down the following vehicle.
  • If the road user overtakes in conditions which are risky consider slowing down to give them space to move back into the correct lane and avoid a potential accident.
  • Avoid inciting further aggressive behaviour by the other driver.
  • When approaching an overtaking lane allow other road users to overtake you even if this means slowing down a little.
  • Braking isn’t bad. However, avoid sudden braking and use your gears to control the descent speed.
  • If driving an automatic car use second or third gear for the descent to control speeds.
  • In situations that brakes fail there are Safety Ramps available on the Clyde Mountain.

 For more tips and more detailed information visit www.nrma.drivingschoolservices.com.au

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