Caravan industry addresses rural road safety

In support of the Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF), Caravan Industry Association of Australia is reminding campers of the importance of being alert and prepared.

During Rural Road Safety Month, the caravan industry will deliver safety messages daily to its RV and camping audiences, including pre-planning, understanding RV setup including towing and caravan weights, fatigue management and reminding people to be patient.

September is also a peak family camping holiday period as kids enjoy their Spring midterm break. For similar holiday periods, 71 per cent of campers travel more than 250 km from home and stay an average of 4.8 nights.

“All road users have a responsibility to road safety when using our roads,” said General Manager of Marketing & Communications, Caravan Industry Association of Australia, Keelan Howard. “We encourage our camping families these school holidays to be patient and not rush.

“Planning starts before the key is turned, get your car and RV serviced, take a refresher towing course if needed. Plan your trip before you leave, how far you intend to travel each day, plan your rest and fatigue management stops and book your accommodation in advance.”

ARSF founder and CEO, Russell White, said the most concerning piece of research was the number of respondents who admitted to unpreparedness and bad behaviour when driving in rural areas, a combination he believes is lethal.

“On one hand, the research is showing a shocking lack of resilience, which is essential on rural roads, along with very lax attitudes towards being safe in these high-risk environments,” said White.

Howard said the risk doesn’t just apply to your destination.

“Our research also indicates that travellers are at greatest risk on Sundays and Monday when they are returning home, maybe tired after a big camping trip and focussed on just getting home. We urge travellers once again stop for a minute and make sure you have planned your trip; make sure you are rested and don’t rush. The roads will be busy as other campers return home.”

Co-existing with other road users, in particular heavy vehicles, is an important part of motoring. Using a UHF radio and with your channel displayed clearly on the back of your van facilitates good communication for overtaking or reporting hazards to on coming vehicles.

Caravan Industry Association of Australia said that when traversing rural roads with long distances between towns, it is important to have a good night’s sleep and, take appropriate rest breaks (15 minutes every two hours). This heightens alertness to hazards rural roads can cause. Do not use designated truck stops for overnight rest breaks.

Hazards include narrow, sealed or unsealed roads with soft shoulders or loose gravel, which reduce traction. Roaming livestock and wildlife can cause serious damage should a collision with a large animal occur.

Before planning your trip, consider a towing education or a first aid course and know how to use communication devices appropriately. Carry ample water in case of a break down, allowing five to seven litres per person per day. A basic first aid kit is important to add to your equipment, as help for a medical condition may be minutes hours or, days away.

Throughout Rural Road Safety Month, people, businesses, and community organisations are encouraged to share information, host local events, and to ‘be the change’ they want to see on rural roads.

People are also encouraged to use Rural Road Safety Month’s Instagram and Facebook pages.

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