Victorians are being urged to be well rested and take breaks when traveling over the festive period, as many people prepare to take summer road trips for the first time in two years.
People will be relishing the chance to reunite with loved ones, with many driving long distances, at higher speeds and on unfamiliar roads for the first time in a long time.
One of the biggest risks associated with driving in these circumstances is fatigue, with Transport Accident Commission data showing drowsy driving contributes to 16-20% of all fatalities on Victorian roads.
Sleep deprivation is a key risk factor. Research shows being awake for 17 hours has the same effect on your driving ability as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 and going without sleep for 24 hours has the same effect as a blood alcohol level of 0.1 - double the legal limit.
As well as being well rested before hitting the road, the key to a relaxing and safe road trip is planning ahead, and drivers are encouraged to plan a rest break every two hours.
The TAC will be helping drivers stay rested this summer with ‘Pause Stops’ along major regional routes, where people can enjoy complimentary barista-made coffee, comfortable deck chairs for a 15-minute powernap and games to entertain children while parents relax.
Pause Stops will also host a range of market stalls run by local businesses to support local economies after what has been another difficult year for the state’s tourism industry.
The TAC has worked closely with the VICSES to identify key locations for rest stops along major, high-traffic arterial roads. The TAC’s Pause Stops will complement the SES’s Driver Reviver sites which will also be set up across the state.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads Ben Carroll
“Taking a break during long drives not only helps combat drowsy driving, it is also a great opportunity to contribute to local economies on your way to visit family and friends this summer.”
“Fatigue is a major cause of crashes in Victoria – we mustn’t let our excitement of reuniting with loved ones distract us from the risks posed by driving long distances. The best present you can give your loved ones this festive season is your presence.”
Quotes attributable to Transport Accident Commission CEO Joe Calafiore
“Victorians deserve a happy and relaxing summer with those closest to them, and the key to that is planning ahead.”
“If you find yourself daydreaming, missing exits or drifting from your lane, take a break and consider a 15-minute powernap. There are plenty of places to stop all throughout the state, take your time so you can get to your destination safely.”
Reviewed 21 December 2021