The key to surviving Australian roads through safe driving practices

Unlock the secrets to confident, responsible driving by learning the essentials for safe driving experiences for drivers and others on the road.

Hitting the open road is an exciting rite of passage but carries serious responsibilities. Every year, crashes involving young drivers lead to tragic losses on Australian roads. That's why mastering essential safe driving practices and carrying out road safety awareness programs is crucial for new motorists.

Young driver fatalities account for a staggering 20% of road deaths despite making up only 15% of Australian licence holders (Road Sense Australia 2021). This alarming statistic highlights the importance of developing safe driving habits from day one.

As a new driver, understanding and adhering to safe driving methods can mean the difference between life and death. From speed awareness to avoiding distractions, these essential skills protect you, your passengers, and others sharing the roads.

Essential safe driving practices for Australian roads

Driving is a huge responsibility, and mastering safe practices by understanding and practising safe driving can be the difference between life or death.

Increased awareness

Master speed awareness and management

Excessive speed is one of the biggest contributors to road crashes. Always obey posted limits, adjust your speed for conditions like weather, traffic, and road type, and avoid acceleration bursts in urban areas. Maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead is also crucial.

Distracted driving

Eliminate dangerous distractions

Any distraction behind the wheel, whether using a mobile phone, eating/drinking, adjusting controls, or tending to passengers, drastically increases your risk of crashing. Develop a zero-tolerance policy for distractions and always take measures to pull over if you need to address a situation.

drive under the influence

Never drive under the influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs severely impairs your judgment, reflexes, and ability to react to what’s happening on the road. Not only is it extremely dangerous, but it's also illegal and costly if you get caught. Always have a plan to get home safely if you'll be drinking.

fatigue and take breaks

Prepare for fatigue and take breaks

Driver fatigue accounts for up to 30% of single-vehicle crashes (Australian Transport Council 2011). Being awake for 17+ hours has the same impairment as a blood alcohol level of 0.05 (CDC). Take regular breaks on long trips, share the driving, and get adequate sleep before hitting the road.

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Research from NSW indicates that 15- to 25-year-olds have a 75 per cent greater chance of being injured at work



Research from NSW indicates that 15- to 25-year-olds have a 75 per cent greater chance of being injured at work


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How Youthsafe supports safe driving for young Australians

Youthsafe is dedicated to empowering youth and promoting safety. Our programs and resources cover topics like safe driving and others aimed at organizations, teachers, instructors, and more. By visiting our website, young Australians and their adult influencers can access informative guides, connect with support services, and get involved.

Our educational initiatives, community outreach, and collaborative partnerships are aimed at creating a safer environment for young Australians on the roads through school-based programs, community activities, and other resources and support mechanisms.


Why is it so important for young/new drivers to focus on safe practices?

New drivers lack experience reading the road, identifying hazards, judging safe gaps in traffic, controlling the vehicle in adverse conditions, and more. Their ability to assess risk and make smart decisions is still developing. Overconfidence, peer pressure, and distractions also play a major role in the high crash rates.

By mastering essential safe driving practices like speed management, eliminating distractions, avoiding impaired driving, fatigue management, and defensive techniques, new motorists dramatically reduce their crash risk. Building these habits takes conscious effort but provides a lifetime of rewards.

Why is fatigue management so important for young drivers?

Fatigue slows reaction time, impacts decision-making, reduces hazard awareness, and can cause micro-sleeps where you nod off briefly. Since young drivers often work odd hours and stay up late, they're at high risk. Getting enough sleep and taking breaks is vital.

How does speeding increase crash risks for young motorists?

Speeding is one of the leading contributors to road crashes, especially among young, inexperienced drivers. It significantly amplifies the risks in several ways:

  • Reduced ability to control the vehicle and navigate safely around corners, over hills, etc. Higher speeds make the car more difficult to manage, increasing the likelihood of losing control.
  • Less time to identify hazards and make safe decisions. At higher speeds, the driving environment passes by more quickly, giving novices less time to process information.
  • Greater impact forces in a crash. The higher the speed, the more violent the collision forces that can injure or kill occupants or others involved.