Road Safety Tips from the Transport Accident Commission

This article was written by Samantha Cockfield, the Road Safety Director at the Transport Accident Commission, Victoria. Samantha is an expert in the field of road safety and has led the development and delivery of numerous key initiatives that have reduced road trauma in Victoria.

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We can all play a part in protecting each other on the road; whether you’re on a bicycle, scooter, e-bike or car, there are always steps you can take to use the road in a way that protects your safety and the safety of others. 

Key factors that may put you at risk when on the road

  • Speeding is the biggest cause of crashes on the road and accounts for 30% of fatalities and 35% of serious injuries. Research shows that even a small change in speed can make a big difference in road trauma. If you speed, even just by a few kilometres per hour over the limit, it increases the likelihood of crashing and increases the severity of the crash. 
  • Your location can also impact the type of accident you may experience. For example, side-impacts at intersections account for 24% of fatalities and 35% of serious injuries on the road. Take your time to check for other vehicles at intersections and when turning left or right.
  • Your vehicle also plays a part in the risks you face on the road. Cyclists/Motorcyclists riders don’t have the same protection as car drivers, so they are more likely to be seriously injured if hit at a speed. Drivers must provide a safe distance of one metre when the speed limit is 60km/h or less and 1.5m when the speed limit is more than 60km/h to help reduce crashes.

Keeping yourself safe 

  • Obey all road rules to keep you and others safe on the road. You must drive within the speed limit -  reducing your speed by just 5km/hr can reduce your chances of being in an accident by at least 15%. 
  • Have your phone in a holder, do not touch your phone when driving and if possible use it on loudspeaker. Reading maps while driving is dangerous. 
  • Slow down at intersections, and take your time to check for riders and when turning.
  • Wear protective equipment, including an approved helmet, gloves, high-visibility jacket, and protective armour if you use a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle.

To find out how safe your car is or check the safety rating of a car you’re thinking of purchasing, visit the How Safe Is Your Car website.

Keeping others safe

  • Leave room for cyclists when passing. Provide at least one metre in speed zones up to 60km/h, and at least one and a half metres in zones over 60km/h.
  • Do not ride on the footpath if you’re using a motorised vehicle or e-vehicle. If you are using a bicycle, only ride on dedicated paths where marked.
  • Ensure you can be seen by others - car drivers, motorcyclists and scooter drivers must use headlights, and bike riders must display a white front light and red rear light, at night and in poor visibility.