Fuelling up and making sure you’ve remembered to pack your swimmers are all part of planning a trip down to the South Coast.
But have you thought about avoiding peak travel periods or where you’re going to stop to make sure you arrive alive?
ACT and NSW Police are joining forces for the 14th year of the Kings Highway Partnership, increasing visibility along the popular stretch of road to make sure everyone makes it to their holiday destinations safely.
There have already been two fatal crashes on the Kings Highway this year – a teenage boy near Bungendore in October and a truck driver in Nelligen in March – along with 17 serious collisions.
Police don’t want to see any more over the summer holidays.
“We want to see this as a fatality-free and injury-free period,” NSW Police Chief Inspector Brian Pedersen said.
“Zero road toll along the Kings – that’s our main goal. We’re not out to spoil people’s fun, we just want to keep people safe.”
The Kings Highway stretch from Queanbeyan to Batemans Bay is popular with Canberrans, and those from other inland areas such as Wagga Wagga, heading to the coast.
It’s at least a two-hour drive from the Territory, which makes fatigue a major concern.
“We have a lot of people travelling from the ACT to the coast. A lot of them spend all day at work, jump in the car with the kids and head off to the beach. They get halfway along, start to get very, very tired and start making silly mistakes,” Chief Insp Pedersen said.
“There’s no reason to try and get to the coast as quick as you can. The beach is still going to be there. I’d rather see people be a little bit later than not get there at all.”
Police will also be targeting driver distraction and speeding on both sides of the border.
“It doesn’t matter which side of the border you’re on, NSW Police and ACT Policing will be detecting all poor driving behaviours,” ACT Road Policing Acting Inspector Ken Williams said.
“The message to drivers is very simple – slow down. If you speed, you should expect to get caught and face the consequences.”
Motorists have also been advised to expect to add some extra time to their trip, with road works occurring in many sections of the Kings Highway throughout summer.
Transport for NSW representative Fiona McLauchlan said safety upgrades were happening, along with pothole patching and repairs.
“Give yourself the time and space to arrive safely,” she said.
Ms McLauchlan said drivers should take extra care on the Clyde Mountain pass.
“It’s important to pay attention. It’s a pretty tricky stretch for some drivers,” she said.
“Overall, I encourage people to plan their trip and think about where to stop on the way.”
Local businesses would also thank you for taking the time to pause your trip and spend some money during your journey following years of struggling in the wake of bushfires and COVID-19 restrictions.
Queanbeyan-Palerang councillor Mareeta Grundy said places to stop included Bungendore, Braidwood and Nelligen, and rest stops along the highway.
“There’s a number of options to break up your journey and not do it in one big hit,” she said.
“Bringing money into these towns is vital. I’d be encouraging everyone to stop and do spend a bit of money in these townships.”
Drivers are reminded to:
- Plan your trip before you leave
- Don’t drive tired – be aware of your fatigue level
- Make sure your car is road-ready by checking tyres, windscreen wipers, lights and indicators and oil and water levels
- Don’t exceed the speed limit
- Leave a three-second gap between you and the car ahead.
Drivers towing caravans and boats are urged to be especially cautious and slow down during the holiday period, with other motorists reminded to be patient.
Extra NSW Police officers will also be deployed into Highway Patrol and the Far South Coast, Hume and Illawarra areas as part of Strikeforce Summer Safe.