The Queensland Government has issued several warnings for drivers over the holiday period – keep these in mind when embarking on road trips this summer!
Remember these pointers and make this holiday season as safe as it can be…
1. Cruising on a Queensland beach is great summer pastime, but beachgoers have been urged to play it safe and avoid tragedy by sticking to the speed limit.
“More people than ever now have access to our National Parks,” says National Parks Minister Steve Dickson. “I want as many Queensland families as possible to create some great memories by visiting one of our beautiful beach parks these holidays.”
But there is a skill to beach driving and it’s important for everyone to be alert and aware even when driving off-road.
“The first thing to remember is that the road rules also apply on the beach, so keep to the speed limits, wear your seatbelt and don’t drink and drive,” says Dickson. “If you’ve never driven on sand before, get some expert advice and take your time getting used to the feel of the vehicle.”
Reduce the gear on the roof racks to ensure the vehicle isn’t top heavy, as this puts it in danger of crashing or rolling.
“And of course, check tides and conditions before you set out and be aware that conditions can change rapidly,” Dickson says.
2. Don’t drink and drive – the day of, or the day after.
The blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is measured by the concentration of alcohol in your breath or blood – as soon as you start drinking, your BAC rises, and it takes 30 to 60 minutes after you have stopped drinking for your BAC to reach its peak.
With the general alcohol limit in Queensland being 0.05 (meaning you have 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood), the best way to stay under the limit is to only have one standard drink per hour. Better yet, make alternative transport plans, like going with a driver who won’t be drinking, or stay overnight.
But be aware that driving while hungover can be just as dangerous as driving over the blood alcohol limit. A new study has shown that the day after a binge drinking session, impairment levels were comparable to a BAC of 0.05 – so wait until you’re fully refreshed before jumping behind the wheel this Christmas!
3. Watch out for wildlife – Environment Minister Andrew Powell said Queensland’s wildlife is very active at this time of year and drivers need to be vigilant.
“Our native wildlife is part of what makes Queensland great and no-one wants to see any harm come to any animals,” says Powell. “Everyone needs to keep watch, especially at blind spots like corners and crests of hills, as wildlife can dash out onto the road.
“This can have serious and tragic consequences for drivers as well as leading to the painful death of the animals.”
Creatures to be on the lookout for are kangaroos in western Queensland, cassowaries up north, and in the South East koalas can make their way onto highways and motorways.
“Between July 2012 and July 2013, there were 477 koalas reportedly hit by vehicles,” says Powell. “The Newman Government recognises that the decline of koala populations in Queensland is a significant issue which is why we have delivered more than $280,000 to 11 koala care organisations for a diverse range of projects.”
Report dead or injured wildlife as soon as you’re able by calling the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection on 1300 264 625.
Remember these precautions to have a safe and happy Christmas this year!