Operation Stay Alert underway for long weekend

NSW Police are reminding road users to make safe decisions and share the responsibility this long weekend.

Operation Stay Alert began this morning and ends at 11.59pm on Monday and double demerits will apply throughout the four-day operation.

So far this year, 154 people have lost their lives on NSW roads, four more than the same time last year.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, said the vast majority of crashes are avoidable if road users showed the required responsibility and obeyed the traffic rules.

“We continue to see examples of irresponsible driving behaviour, including drink and drug driving, distraction, not using a seat belt and fatigue, which all lead to serious crashes and fatalities on NSW roads,” Assistant Commissioner Corboy said.

“Double demerit points will apply throughout the long weekend and I am appealing to all road users to slow down, (and) drive to the conditions, especially with wet weather forecast, and abide by the traffic rules.

“You will see more police presence on the roads and we will make no apologies for stopping road users who are doing the wrong thing and putting themselves and others at risk. You will be stopped and you will be fined.”

Minister for Police, Troy Grant, said long weekends are a great opportunity to get away with family or friends, but he wants everyone to arrive safely at their destination.

“With higher traffic volumes, poor weather and people driving in unfamiliar environments, there is an increased risk on our roads,” Mr Grant said.

“Each and every day our men and women in blue attend to motor vehicle incidents and witness the heartbreak of families who have lost a loved one on the road.

“Your family and friends will forgive you if you are late to an event, but the trauma of losing a loved one will remain with them forever.

“I urge drivers to follow the road rules this long weekend – they may just save your life.”

Executive director Bernard Carlon of the NSW Centre for Road Safety, said risk factors increase during holiday periods with higher traffic volumes and people driving in unfamiliar environments.

“We know speeding, driving tired and crashes on country roads increase during holiday periods so please slow down, take a rest and drive carefully in unfamiliar environments. Think about how your actions can affect the safety of yourself and others when you get behind the wheel this weekend.”

Top tips for staying safe:

Plan your route and rest stops along the way

Drive to traffic conditions, stick to speed limits and state laws

To avoid fatigue, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and avoid driving after midnight. Plan to share the driving if you can

Be aware of signs of fatigue: yawning, excessive blinking, bloodshot eyes. Pull over for a break in a safe place and take a nap – 20 minutes works best

Have a Plan B if you intend to drink alcohol – don’t get behind the wheel

Always wear a seat belt. As a driver it is your responsibility to make sure every passenger in the car is buckled up

Check your vehicle before driving – tyre tread and pressure, lights, breaks, engine oil, coolant and power steering fluid.