Eyes on the Road

Eyes on the Road Stacked logo

Welcome to Eyes on the Road – a monthly road safety message campaign proudly presented by NSW Police - Macarthur Highway Patrol, Camden and Campbelltown Council’s.

Published the second Monday of every month on Camden and Campbelltown Council's Facebook page as well as here, Eyes on the Road highlights local, timely and relevant road safety issues with the aim of increasing road safety awareness and reducing road trauma.

This month we’re highlighting school zones.

 

 

 

National Walk Safely to School Day - Friday 20 May 2022

National Walk Safely to School Day is a community initiative aimed at raising awareness of road safety and encouraging students to make safe choices as pedestrians.

Walking safely to school and explaining the dangers to children, as well as ensuring they know some basic road rules, is important for the safety of both primary and high school students.

When walking to school:

  • Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert.
    Teaching children to be aware of their surroundings helps reduce the risk of danger and can prevent serious accidents. It’s important to teach children basic road safety skills such as stop, look, listen, and wait, from when they are toddlers.

    Students walking to school with their head down, looking at their phone, with headphones in their ears can pose a danger to themselves and other road users.

    Encourage children to remove distractions and ensure they are conscious of their surrounds and sudden hazards.
  • Hold hands with a parent or carer.
    Always hold your child’s hand when on the footpath, at a crossing, or in a car park. This should be done for children aged 8 and younger. Children should be closely supervised until at least the age of 10.
  • Choose a safe place to cross.
    Set an example for children by always using a pedestrian crossing, crossing at traffic lights, or by selecting a safe place to cross the road. By making better decisions while walking to school, you help reduce the risk for riders or drivers who may be sharing the school zone area.  
  • Stay active by walking to school.
    Walking to school not only increases physical activity, but also encourages a healthier lifestyle from a young age. Mental activity is also improved, which leads to releasing endorphins within the body and helps create a general feeling of wellbeing – a great way to start and end the school day.
  • Creates a sense of community engagement.
    Walking to school can create a sense of community and is a great way to meet other families who live close by.
  • Teach children various road signs and their meaning.
    This can be pointing to signs and explaining the meaning while walking on the footpath, driving in the car or just showing them as an example when crossing the road.

Tips:

  • When children are riding a bike it is important they wear a bicycle helmet, as well as knee and elbows pads where possible, and make sure the bike meets Australian Safety Standards.
  • Teach children to look out for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians when approaching a driveway to help prevent injury.  
  • Encourage children to keep to the left while sharing the footpath.

For more information on how to walk to school safely, visit:

www.walk.com.au/

www.walk.com.au/WSTSD/how-to-participate.asp

December 2021 - Alcohol and Drugs

In 2019 alone, 61 people were killed, and 285 seriously injured in alcohol related crashes in NSW.  During summer and the festive season there is a marked increase in alcohol and drug related crashes, so while we want you all to enjoy yourself, we want this to happen responsibly and safely.

To address this trend and assist in reducing the road toll, NSW Police increase Random Breath and Drug testing across the state during the festive season. 

Macarthur Highway Patrol will be working closely with Police from Camden and Campbelltown Area Commands to focus our attention on licensed premises as well as roads leading from these premises to residential areas, especially rural roads in the Macarthur region. These quieter back roads have seen some terrible fatal and serious crashes in the past and our hope is that we can prevent further fatalities by increasing Police presence and enforcement activity in those areas.

The easiest way to not get arrested for drink or drug affected driving is to not consume alcohol or take drugs when you know that you are going to drive. 

If you are planning to have a night out and enjoy a drink you should:

  • Leave the car at home;
  • Catch a Taxi or Uber;
  • Use public transport;
  • Call ahead to where you will be drinking and ask if they have a courtesy bus service to take you home at the end of the night; or
  • Book a room near where your party is or stay at a friend’s house.

Most importantly, pre plan your night and if it involves drinking or taking drugs, don’t take the car!

It is also important to remember that alcohol can take many hours to leave your system. Cold showers, coffee, food or other ‘tricks’ cannot reduce your blood alcohol level - the only solution is time.  This is even more so the case with illegal drugs. 

Did you know cocaine and methylamphetamine can be detected in your saliva at a testing site several days after consumption?

At the lowest level, if you are arrested for drink or drug driving you will lose your licence and be fined $500.  The penalties increase from there.  Repeated or high range offences can see you lose your licence for many years and even spend time in gaol.  The effect losing your licence can have on your employment can also have flow on effects to your personal and home life.

We all have a responsibility to keep every road user safe this festive season.  Think of one of your loved ones sharing the road with an alcohol or drug affected driver and how you would feel if that selfish driver caused the death or serious injury to them.  You can keep everybody safe if you say no to alcohol or drug driving.

Plan B

January 2022 - Caravans and Road Trips

It has been a hard year and you’ve decided that you’re ready to hook up the caravan and go on a road trip. But are you actually ready?

Unfortunately, all too often family holidays come to a sudden and dramatic end on the road - the caravan on its side, and belongings strewn along the road. Definitely not the relaxing holiday planned.

Between 2016 and 2020, there were 215 casualty crashes involving a vehicle towing a caravan on NSW roads. These crashes resulted in 17 fatalities and 116 serious injuries.

So how do you avoid this happening to you and your family? Here are some things you need to consider before you set off with your vehicle and caravan.

  • Fatigue is one of the three big killers on NSW roads. Towing a caravan can be more tiresome than just driving a car as it requires more concentration and effort. Plan your trip – allow extra travel time and plenty of regular breaks. Tie your breaks in with the sights and scenery along your trip.

  • Are you suitably skilled and licenced to drive the tow vehicle and the attached caravan up to highway speeds and on varying road types? Your vehicle behaves differently when towing a caravan so you need to be sure you can brake safely in an emergency situation. Make sure you practice reversing your caravan before hitting the road. If this is an area you feel you could do with some training, there are towing education companies who can teach you these skills.

  • Is your tow vehicle and caravan in a serviceable and roadworthy condition? It’s your responsibility to make sure your caravan is safe. Your tow vehicle must be registered and legally allowed to tow your loaded caravan. Check the condition, age, tread wear and pressures of your tyres before you leave. It’s also a good idea to get your wheel bearings serviced and have your brakes adjusted and tested before heading out. You should also check you have suitable mirrors and that a functioning trailer brake controller is fitted.

  • Is your towing vehicle and caravan loaded correctly? Think about load distribution and the total weight. You do not want the caravan controlling the towing vehicle. A Public Weighbridge is a facility you can use to obtain your actual weights of your loaded towing vehicle and loaded caravan.

You can find the specific towing ratings from the manufacturer of your tow vehicle, caravan and the tow bar attachment. These ratings include items such as: tare weight, gross vehicle mass, gross combination mass, ball weight, aggregate trailer mass and gross trailer mass.

For more information check out following links:

February 2022 - School Zones

Did you know children are most at risk of being injured by a vehicle in the minutes after getting off a bus?

Schools are areas where there is a lot of interaction between vehicles and children. Driving safely in these areas is vital for the safety of children, parents, and teachers.

With students now back in schools, Macarthur Highway Patrol together with Camden and Campbelltown Councils, will be working closely with our local schools to address bus safety in school zones.   

Buses are large heavy vehicles that can’t stop quickly so it is important to remember the following:

  • Reduce speed to 40km/h when bus lights are flashing, whether the bus is stationary or moving
  • Give way to buses
  • Watch out for children on footpaths or crossing the road
  • Never park in or near a bus stop or bus zone.

Some driving offences committed within a school zone carry additional demerit points.

There are many ways parents can help reduce the risk of injury to children when helping them get on and off a school bus.

  • When waiting for the bus, stand at least one step back from the edge of the road
  • Always meet your child at the bus stop. Never meet them on the opposite side of the road and call them across
  • Wait until the bus has gone, then choose a safe place to cross the road.

Remember to:

  • Always STOP one step back from the kerb.
  • Always LOOK continuously both ways.
  • Always LISTEN for the sounds of approaching traffic
  • Always THINK whether it is safe to cross and keep checking until safely across.

We all have a responsibility to keep every child safe on our roads. Children learn safe road user habits from us so it is important to model safe pedestrian behaviour. 

Until your child is at least eight years old, hold their hand on the footpath, in the carpark, and when crossing the road. Up until at least ten years old, always supervise your child closely and hold their hand when crossing the road.

School Zones times are generally between 8am – 9.30am and 2.30pm – 4pm, Monday to Friday. It is important to check the signs as some rural schools have different times.

March 2022 - Road Rules Awareness Week

Road Rules Awareness Week, 22 – 28 March, is a great time to take a look at some NSW most misunderstood road rules.

  1. Roundabouts
    If you thought that upon approaching a roundabout the rule is to give way to vehicles on your right, you would be wrong.

    The rule is that a driver must give way to vehicles already in the roundabout.

    Drivers may change lanes in a roundabout (usual rules apply) and just like exiting any road, drivers must indicate left when leaving a roundabout.

  2. Giving way to pedestrians when turning.
    If a driver is turning at an intersection (left or right), the driver must give way to any pedestrians that are crossing the road the driver is entering.

  3. Mobile Phones
    Fully licensed drivers and bicycle riders may only use a mobile phone whilst driving/riding to make or answer calls or use the audio function if the phone:
    - Is secured in a commercially manufactured mounting device which is fixed to the vehicle and doesn’t obscure the drivers view;
    - Can be operated by the driver/rider without touching any part of the phone (e.g. by using Bluetooth or Apple/Android Car Play);

    The only exception to this is the use of a drivers aid such as a navigational device providing the device is in a fixed mounting bracket as described above.

    Being stationary in a line of traffic does not constitute being parked and the above rules still apply.

    Learner, P1, P2 and motorcycle license holders are not permitted to use any function of a phone whilst driving or riding. This includes listening to music being played through the vehicle that originates from the mobile phone.

  4. Merging when lanes end
    When driving on a multi-lane road and the left lane ends, the driver in the left lane must merge into the right lane.

    If there are no dividing lane lines at the point where merging occurs, the vehicle in front has right of way.

    If the lanes are clearly separated by a dividing lane line, then normal rules apply for changing lanes.

  5. Keeping left
    On multi-lane roads with speed limits above 80km/h, a driver must not drive in the right lane unless:
    - Overtaking;
    - Turning right or making a U turn;
    - Avoiding an obstacle; and
    - Driving in congested traffic.

  6. Using high beam headlights and fog lights
    A driver must not use high beam if travelling within 200 metres of another vehicle whether the other vehicle is travelling in the same direction or the opposite direction.

    Fog lights are only permitted to be used in fog, mist or other atmospheric conditions that restricts visibility.

  7. U turns
    U turns are only permitted in NSW where a driver has a clear view of approaching traffic and the U turn can be made without obstructing traffic. The driver making the U turn must give way to all other vehicles and pedestrians. In NSW U turns are not permitted:
    - At an intersection;
    - At a break in a dividing strip where a 'No U Turn' sign is displayed; and
    - Across double unbroken lines or any other continuous dividing line.

  8. Safe following distances
    Drivers must leave enough distance between themselves and the vehicle in front to ensure they can stop in time to avoid a collision.

    Safe following distances vary depending on:
    - Road and weather conditions;
    - The vehicles breaking performance;
    - Tyre condition and pressures;
    - Speed; and
    - Driver's reaction times, to name a few.

    A recommended safe distance to the vehicle in front is a three second gap. To achieve this, drivers can pick out a point on the side of the road such as a telegraph pole. When the vehicle in front passes that point, the driver can then count one thousand and one, one thousand and two, and one thousand and three. If your vehicle passes that same point when you have reached one thousand and three, you are approximately three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you.

    In poor weather conditions or on gravel roads, the gap should be increased.

  9. School Zones
    Roads bordering schools in NSW have designated school zone areas marked by signage. Between the School Zone and End School Zone signs, the speed limit is reduced to 40km/h during school zone times.

    These times are between 8am and 9.30am and 2.30pm and 4pm Monday to Friday during school terms including Pupil Free days.

  10. Yellow/Amber traffic light signals
    All drivers should be aware that a yellow/amber traffic light signal means stop.

    You are only permitted to drive through a yellow/amber light if it is unsafe to stop in the circumstances.

    Penalties for not stopping at a yellow/amber light are the same as not stopping at a red light which is currently $469 and 3 demerit points.

April 2022 - Seniors Road Safety

Did you know the number of fatalities for older road users has gradually increased over the past decade while fatalities overall have generally decreased by around 3% per year?

As we get older our awareness, decision making skills and physical capabilities decline and we seemingly find it difficult to keep up with ever increasing changes in the community.

Some personal considerations for seniors relating to road safety include:

  • Decreased vision;
  • Slower reaction time;
  • Diminished ability to reason and remember;
  • Rise in experiencing confusion and anxiety;
  • Impact of some medications; and
  • Increase in fragility.

So, when planning for the future, a number of safety tips can be considered:

  • Stay physically active;
  • Schedule regular vision and hearing tests;
  • Manage medications;
  • Understand your limitations; and
  • Hide your mobile phone and concentrate on the road.

A reminder that from the age of 75 you will be required to have a medical assessment every year to keep your licence.

From the age of 85 most opt for a modified licence which will require you to still pass a medical assessment every year and also pass an on-road driving assessment every two years to keep your licence.

Remember, the best years of your life are in front of you. The best advice that can be given is to prepare for the future, be educated and stay safe.

National Road Safety Week 2022 is coming up in May of this year and everybody in the community needs to play their part.

The pledge is to drive as if your own family members are on the road ahead. Remove any distractions, don’t put others at risk and protect all susceptible road users by slowing down. Together we can make this happen.

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