“While our business is selling technology to drivers that help them get to their destinations and make trips safer, if drivers ignore precautions or flout road rules then there’s nothing we can do to help them,” says Wendy Hammond, Managing Director, Navman Australia and New Zealand.
“Easter is a notoriously dangerous time on the roads. We love our products, but technology is no substitute for remaining careful. We are urging all drivers to stay alert, observe the rules, be courteous to other drivers, and don’t speed.”
It’s a view echoed by NSW Police Chief Inspector Phillip Brooks, “Easter is undoubtedly the busiest weekend on the road, and this year it’s followed by practically another long weekend with ANZAC Day falling on Thursday. And every year there are preventable road fatalities and serious injuries,” he says.
“There will be more vehicles on the road than ever before over this period and it’s up to individual drivers to do their bit to keep everyone safe. Most of us are driving with our loved ones on board, so keep them safe by driving safely, not speeding and staying calm, whatever the driving conditions.
“Make sure you’re ready to make the long drive – get plenty of sleep the night before you head off; share the driving if you can and take breaks every two hours. Your car also needs to be ready and roadworthy, especially brakes and tyres.”
Navman suggests six ways all drivers can be safer on the roads this Easter:
- Stop and take a break every two hours
If you have ignored “Stop, Revive, Survive” messages in the past. Don’t. You may be tempted to get to your destination as soon as possible, but taking a break from concentrating on the road is vital. Drowsiness has been a factor in so many of these accidents so make regular stops, get some fresh air, have a drink or a snack or stretch your legs with a short walk so you are feeling alert and refreshed when you step back in your car. If you have a Navman sat-nav device, it will remind you if you’ve been driving for two hours without a break.
- Don’t fall into the trap of speeding
While shaving off some travelling time might seem attractive, the speed difference could mean the world when it comes to being able to stop in time to prevent an accident. Also, if the potential danger of speeding alone is not enough to stop you, remember that you risk earning a very nasty speeding fine over the long weekend and with double demerit points in place in some States, it doesn’t take much to lose your licence altogether.
- Keep your hands off the phone
Under no circumstances should you play with your phone while driving. Even if that means you have to hide it out of sight and reach, so you aren’t tempted to grab it. If you have to use it to take calls, make sure it’s in a cradle or better still, just Bluetooth your phone to your Navman so you can answer calls hands-free.
- Keep the kids occupied so they aren’t a distraction
The last thing you want is a fight breaking up in the back seat as this could be a huge distraction for the driver. In addition to the tablet or mobile phone, consider packing road trip activity bags for kids with snacks, activity books, crayons and card games for when you are out of mobile range.
- Check your car before you head off
Make sure your car is road-worthy. This means checking your tyre pressure and ensuring your tyres are in good condition. Ensure your car has enough oil, as well as water in the radiator and windscreen wiper reserve, and make sure your wipers are working well. You can even have a qualified mechanic take a quick look at your car to be extra safe.
- Stay safe if you experience any hiccups
If your car breaks down, use your common sense before attempting to step out of the vehicle. Make sure it is in a safe spot and avoid trying to fix it yourself unless you are in a safe distance from the road. And remember you can use your SOS emergency button on your Navman to locate the nearest doctor, petrol button to find the nearest gas station and “roadside assistant” to provide number of nearest rescue service and your exact coordinates so they can locate you.
“These are sensible, practical steps to follow that will help to ensure they have a safe holiday weekend,” Ms Hammond said. “And of course, a Navman device – sat-nav or dash cam – is a great asset to any driver.”
Navman has sat-navs with spoken safety alerts including speed alerts and driver fatigue alerts. Some Navman devices also offer ADAS safety features to help you stay alert, such as lane departure alert. There’s also a front collision alert that warns if you are driving too close to the car in front, while a front departure warning will warn if the car in front has moved off without you noticing.
Dash cams are increasingly common and, in a collision, are relied on by police to capture the critical moments before an accident occurs. They will help protect you from fraudulent accident claims, road rage incidents and will also provide proof of who was at fault.
“There are many models and features available that will make your Easter driving trip more enjoyable,” Ms Hammond said. “But the most important thing is that drivers do everything they can to stay safe.”