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Don’t be an April Fool. Four motoring misconceptions Australia

If you’ve looked at our social media channels recently, you’ll see we’ve contributed our fair share of mischievous pranks to this year’s April fool’s day. But all jokes aside, we’re acutely aware of a few foolish fallacies about driving that have us all revved up! 

In our work as personal injury lawyers, we repeatedly hear of accidents that could have been prevented had individuals correctly followed the rules of the road. We realise, though, that many of these incidents stem from honest mistakes caused by motoring misconceptions and misinformation. 

With that in mind, we want to hit the brakes on four common motoring myths.

Myth: “It’s safer not to wear seatbelt.” 

It is an utter travesty that car accident deaths still occur because drivers and passengers fail to wear seatbelts. Research shows that if a person is thrown from their vehicle in a collision, their injuries are 25 times more likely to be fatal.

While more Australians are beginning to adopt a “clunk click every trip”-attitude, we still have some way to go. As Western Australia’s road safety commissioner, Adrian Warner, noted last year, we need to muster a fundamental mindset shift around seatbelts – not wearing one must carry a social stigma.

Myth: “It’s ok if I use my phone if I’m waiting at traffic lights or stuck in a traffic jam.”

Whether crawling through slow-moving traffic or sitting at traffic lights that have just turned red, it’s illegal to touch your mobile phone when behind the wheel. The only time drivers can text or check their social media accounts is when their car is parked and engine switched off.

While, of course, it can be tempting to take a quick flick through Instagram or Facebook Messenger, it is simply not worth the risk. Accidents happen in just milliseconds, but the consequences often last a lifetime. 

Myth: “I’ve had a bit to drink, but I can still drive if I stop off at Maccas on route home and get a large meal to soak up the alcohol.”

While we’re all partial to the occasional Maccas, a tasty quarter-pounder meal won’t do much for your blood alcohol level. Under Western Australian law, it’s an offence to get behind the wheel if your blood alcohol content level is 0.05 or higher.

When we remember that drunk driving causes one-third of fatal crashes, it’s easy to understand why. Of course, you can still take a trip to Maccas at the end of a boozy night out. Just make sure to take a taxi or assign a designated driver beforehand! 

Myth: “Going a few kilometres above the speed limit is harmless.” 

The need for speed might be a beloved video game, but this motto certainly doesn’t apply when in the driver’s seat. Speed limits, after all, are there for a reason. While they can seem a bit of a nuisance when one is running late, obeying them should always be a necessity, not an option.

To put this in context, consider

that if a pedestrian is hit by a vehicle at 40km/h, their chance of survival is 70%. If they’re hit at 45km/h, the chance of survival drops to just 50%.

We’re here if you need us 

With these myths debunked, we hope you will feel safer and more informed next time you get on the road. Should you find yourself injured in a motor vehicle accident, we can help you back to recovery. Find out more about our no win, no fee motor vehicle accident claims services. 

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