Perils lurk on country road
ONE in five Australians admits to speeding along country roads because they know the area, according to an exclusive preview of the 16th annual AAMI Crash Index to be released next week.
While three out of every five fatal road crashes in Australia occur on rural roads and 68 per cent of these are a single-vehicle accidents, only 40 per cent of motorists say they drive under the speed limit when in country areas.
The worst were in Western Australia where only 34 per cent claim they drive under the speed limit, while the safest are in Tasmania where 54 per cent drive under the rural speed limits.
Almost a quarter of all drivers believe city drivers are to blame for the rural road toll, not locals.
One of Australia’s foremost trauma doctors has called for all drivers in country areas to pay more attention.
Professor Russell Gruen, head of the National Trauma Research Institute says it’s common for drivers on regional roads to travel faster and longer than city drivers.
‘‘Because regional drivers are often travelling faster, the impact of any collision is greater and injuries are more severe,’’ he says.
‘‘They often have to wait longer for paramedic and hospital intervention, and critical injuries are therefore left untreated longer.’’
Prof Gruen says the hazards in the city are expected such as cyclists, buses, children, trams and pedestrians while others, like school zones, are signposted. He says that rural hazards can be unpredictable.
Thankfully, 78 per cent of Aussie drivers pay more attention when driving on ru- ral roads, particularly people who live in capital cities, according to the AAMI Crash Index.
Women are more likely than men (81 and 75 per cent respectively) to pay attention to their driving in the country and are more likely (36 per cent) to limit distractions than men (29 per cent).
Prof Gruen says drivers should be more alert to dan- gers on rural roads than in the city and says fatigue is a key contributing factor in rural single-car collisions.
‘‘Drivers who spend time on regional roads should avoid becoming a statistic by being sensible about speed, expecting the unexpected and, of course, avoiding alcohol and drugs,’’ he says.
The AAMI Crash Index online survey was conducted by Newspoll Market & Social Research which polled 3740 Australian drivers, 18 and ol- der, across all states territories this year.
The Index will also cover
and driver attitudes to environmental motoring, speed, distractions and road rage.
NT police conduct a rural area RBT, above, and Territory rural highways present driving challenges not seen in other parts of Australia, below