Home' Journeys : Feb Mar 2016 Contents When the heat’s on,
Before you read the next paragraph, take a guess at how many
times over the past year RACT Roadside patrollers were
called to rescue children locked in parked cars. Twenty times,
maybe? Fifty? (That would be an average of one rescue a week!)
Surely not more?
Believe it or not, there were 84 rescues of children (and another 84
pet rescues) over the twelve month period. Many of these were on
hot days, when being inside a locked car is particularly dangerous
– in fact, potentially deadly.
On a typical summer’s day, the temperature inside the car can be as
much as 40 degrees hotter than it is outside. Imagine that – even if
it’s a pleasant 25 degrees outside, it could be as high as 65 degrees
in the car.
As the interior temperature increases, any child or a pet locked
inside will begin to develop heat stress and start to dehydrate.
Young children are more sensitive to heat than older children or
adults, so they are at greater risk of heat stroke.
Opening the windows slightly doesn’t help, so the message is very
simple – if you have to leave the car, even for the shortest time, take
the children with you.
Darker-coloured cars can reach slightly higher temperatures when
parked in the sun – and tinted windows make little difference to
the interior temperature.
As a matter of urgency, we prioritise any call for help if a child or
pet is locked in a car and we will attend to any call-out, whether it’s
from a member or non-member.
With the sophisticated locking technology in modern cars, it can
be easy to accidentally lock a child or animal in a car. These tips
will help avoid it happening:
• Wind your windows down before putting children in the car, in
case the doors automatically lock
• Never give your keys to children to play with, in case they lock
• Avoid getting distracted when you’re loading and unloading the
car – and have an easy way to keep hold of your keys while you’re
If you do accidentally lock a child or pet inside your car,
stay calm and call RACT Roadside immediately on
13 1111 – we’ll be there as fast as we can. And if you have
any concern about the child’s health, dial 000.
Let’s prevent accidents
not just minimise their consequences
RACT member Peter Leschen writes:
A new Road Safety Strategy is being developed to take effect in
2017. In addition to measures to minimise the consequences of
accidents, this strategy needs to give much higher priority to
preventing accidents in the first place. Specifically the focus needs
to shift from speed and speed enforcement to driver responsibility
to pay continuous, undivided attention to the task of driving.
There is no question that increased speed makes the consequences
of any accident much worse, nor that driving too fast for the road,
traffic or weather conditions is dangerous. Nevertheless much
of the focus on speed is concentrated on minimum tolerance
enforcement of speed limits that are by their nature quite arbitrary
witness the large inconsistencies across Tasmania, Australia and
the world. Such measures perhaps result in slower average speeds
and thus reduce the severity of some accidents, but the evidence
that they reduce the likelihood of accidents is not convincing.
DIER’s own statistics and overseas research strongly suggest that a
very high percentage of accidents are not caused by excessive speed
but by driver inattention, be they rear-enders in lines of city traffic
or the 83 per cent of fatal or serious casualty accidents on our rural
roads that involve single vehicles or head-on collisions. One or two
seconds of inattention is all it takes to run off the road or cross
the centre line and cause an accident, and it always has a vastly
greater impact on potential stopping distances than an additional
5-10km/h of speed.
Speed is relatively easy to enforce, whereas driver attention can
only be encouraged. The focus on speed, however, is past the
point of diminishing safety returns, while a vigorous, ongoing
campaign to raise driver awareness of the dangers of even
momentary inattention has the potential to greatly reduce the
number of accidents that occur and thus save many more lives.
Such a campaign should be given high priority in the 2017 Road
FEBRUARY / MARCH 2016 Journeys 5
IN OUR COMMUNITY
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