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Winter weather a potential hazard

Photo – TAC

Victorians are being urged to prioritise road safety and remain cautious of changing conditions this winter holiday period.

Following a tragic beginning to school holidays on Victorian roads, the Transport Accident Commission is reminding motorists to remain vigilant as the winter months can bring unpredictable road conditions.

With 154 lives lost on the state’s roads this year, authorities are calling for caution on the roads, with winter weather bringing potential hazards like black ice, fog, rain, and landslides.

Less than a week into the winter school holiday period, six lives have already been lost on Victorian roads – more than half of the total number of people (10) who died on Victorian roads during the 2022 mid-year school holidays.

TAC Acting CEO, Tony Dudley, warned of the challenging driving conditions that winter weather can bring and urged road users to keep safety front of mind at all times.

“These school holidays and beyond, we encourage motorists to stay alert, and plan their journeys ahead of time – in bad weather or unfamiliar surroundings, sticking to main roads and highways can be a safe option,” Mr Dudley said.

“It’s always best to try and avoid driving in severe weather but, if we find ourselves in difficult conditions, it is safest to slow down, be patient, be visible and look out for others on the roads.”

With shorter days and darker conditions, it’s also critical that motorists use their headlights in low light and be vigilant of other road users – while cyclists and pedestrians are encouraged to be visible through safe road positioning, wearing bright or reflective clothing when riding, and always crossing at the safest point.

Drivers are also encouraged to regularly inspect tires, brakes, lights, and wipers, and consider snow tires or chains for enhanced grip on slippery surfaces.

“It’s been a tragic year on our roads and, regardless of weather conditions, our message is to always put safety first when behind the wheel – the choices we make could be the reason we and others get home safely,” Mr Dudley said.

Victoria Police will continue to have a strong presence on the roads these school holidays, with a particular focus on risk-taking behaviours like speed, drink and drug driving, distractions, seatbelt non-compliance and fatigue.

To further support enforcement efforts, the Transport Accident Commission’s current campaign ‘Anywhere, Anytime, Anyone’ is highly visible across the state, deterring road users from engaging in unsafe behaviours – reminding people that if they take risks on the road, they will get caught.

Victorians will continue to see and hear this campaign on billboards, television, radio and digital platforms across the state over the coming months.