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Your essential guide to safe driving in Australia this holiday season

Taking the driver’s seat this holiday season? Keep you and your family’s safety at the top of your list with our top driving tips for December. Whether you’re tackling the twists and turns of the Great Ocean Road or simply visiting family members in the big city, our safe driving guide has got you covered.

Keep your phone out of sight

Hands-Free Phone Device

If you look at your phone for just two seconds while travelling 60 kilometres per hour, you’ll travel 33 metres blind. That’s an alarming fact, yet according to a 2013 government survey, 32% of Australian drivers admit to reading text messages while driving. While we recommend you keep your phone put away, if you need to use it while driving, it must be fixed to a cradle that doesn’t obscure your view of the road and it must be operational through voice activation. If you use your phone in any other way, you not only risk an accident, but may also face fines and penalties.

Ensure that all seatbelts are fastened

Child Safety Seat

According to the Monash University Accident Research Centre, kids in the backseat are 12 times more distracting to a driver than talking on the phone while behind the wheel. And a common issue with small children during long car trips is their restraints. To avoid them unbuckling their seatbelt, be sure to restrain your child correctly so that the seatbelt is fitted to their frame and not giving too much slack. Many of Europcar’s budget car rentals can be fixed with toddler and child safety seats, which will keep your young ones properly restrained and help lessen distractions.

Count your drinks

Wine-Holiday-Gathering

It’s no secret that Australian’s enjoy a couple of drinks at social gatherings, especially throughout summer. Unfortunately, some take it too far – often without realising – which leads to a devastating road toll each holiday season. As a guideline, many states have a maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05. For men, this can accommodate two standard drinks to be consumed in the first hour, with one following each hour after that. For women, it is recommended to not go over one standard drink per hour in any case when planning to drive.

As these laws vary from state to state, it’s important to check your state’s government site for specific limits before your trip. To be on the safe side, consider staying the night after Christmas dinner to avoid any complications with your licence while also ensuring you and your passengers’ safety.

Take a break every couple of hours

Car at Rest Area

Driving while fatigued is one of the top causes of road accidents in Australia and these accidents are twice as likely to be fatal as drivers are not conscious enough to brake when it counts. For many years, the Australian government has been promoting safe driving by constantly reminding drivers to ‘Stop. Revive. Survive.’ throughout their long haul trips over the holidays. Symptoms of driver fatigue include yawning, poor concentration, drowsiness and over steering, among others.

If you feel any of these symptoms yourself, it’s suggested that you take a short 15-minute break every two hours to stretch your legs and rest appropriately. If you are travelling as a large group, you could consider a van hire, so you can share driving duties with others and enjoy plenty of leg room when you’re not behind the wheel.

If you’re planning on visiting friends and family throughout the summer holidays, get there safely with Europcar. Our entire budget car rental range is up to date with state-of-the-art safety features, keeping you and your passengers secure and comfortable during long journeys.

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