In 2019 there were 165 road deaths in Western Australia, the highest since 2016 (NRSPP). This includes 99 road deaths in regional and country areas. With higher speed limits in these country areas, various organisations including RAC are calling for a reduced speed limit to try and combat this issue and reduce road fatalities.
There is no doubt that driving at higher speeds increases both the likelihood and severity of a crash. With less time to react to unexpected incidents while travelling at higher speeds, the likelihood of a fatal crash increases significantly. On country roads, there are also other factors that contribute to risk and reaction times including uneven surfaces and wild animals entering the road.
At Corporate Driver Training Australia, we encourage drivers to create a ‘crash avoidance space’ depending on the speed they are travelling. Those who are driving in inner-city areas at 40 kph need to allow 1.5 seconds between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead. This compares to drivers who are travelling at 100 kph who need to leave at least 3 seconds between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead. One second needs to be added to this formula to allow for adverse conditions including weather and road surface changes.
Although reducing speed limits in WA country areas from 110 kph to 100 kph will reduce the likelihood of a road incident, it is still critical that drivers are abiding by a safe crash avoidance space, otherwise, the risk is just as significant.
Another factor to consider is fatigue which is more likely to set in during a long drive on a rural highway where the driver is not necessarily making quick judgements that need to be a focus for inner-city driving. Ultimately, as well as a reduction in speed limits, driver’s need to be educated on the dangers associated with country driving and fatigue in order for us to see a significant reduction in road incidents in rural areas.
In our Corporate Driver Training Australia Low Risk Driving Courses, we focus heavily on the risks associated with country driving and how to minimise the likelihood of having an accident. To learn more our Corporate Driver Training Australia Courses, visit https://corporatedrivertrainingaustralia.com.au/driving-courses-and-services/