IT is so easy to become complacent when out on the roads.
The sun’s shining, your favourite song comes on the radio, the phone rings, there may or may not be children screaming or squabbling in the back seat.
All of these are just one among many every day scenarios which can, all too easily, happen while we are in the driver’s seat.
Driving is not meant to be relaxing. It’s not meant to be stressful either. But we sure as heck do need to concentrate.
Driving is a privilege, not a right.
There’s a reason why we have driving tests in order to be able to obtain a licence.
But too many people abuse this privilege.
This week, the Motor Accident Commission (MAC) has released a new road safety campaign, starring the Hairy Fairy, a new character whose job it is to remind us to ‘slow down, before things get hairy’.
The campaign’s message, which stars a comically oversized bloke in a pink ballerina tutu, emphasises that ‘there’s nothing normal about speeding’.
The fairy’s role is to help drivers recognise moments when they may be tempted to speed and encourages the avoidance of situations that could ‘get hairy’.
It’s comical, but it’s a way of helping us digest a more serious issue.
Speed is one of the major killers on South Australian roads.
MAC statistics show that in 2015, speed was a contributing factor in 30 per cent of fatal crashes, consistent with the five year average.
We talk about speed and that summons up images of the open road… but the reality is that many of us are guilty of doing above the posted 50km/h or 60km/h speed limit, without even realising.
Coasting down New West Road on my way to work each morning, I myself am guilty of this, and brake to try to stay below the speed limit. Driving downhill should not be a reason to speed.
MAC community engagement manager Matt Hanton said the Hairy Fairy campaign was designed to challenge the perception that low-level speeding is a common, safe and time saving behaviour.
It’s not. We all know this.
So when we see that Hairy Fairy ad on telly, or posted on a billboard or on the back of a bus, let’s laugh, but remember to take heed of the serious message behind the campaign.
Kaitlyn Fasso-Opie, Port Lincoln Times editor