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Look after your vehicle, your passengers, and yourself this winter

With winter weather meaning colder days and longer nights, Safe Transport Victoria is urging vehicle owners to make sure their vehicle is roadworthy to protect the safety of drivers and passengers.

Slippery wet roads increase safety hazards – so check your vehicle before each shift to make sure it is in good condition.

Here are some simple safety tips for drivers and vehicle owners:

- Replace worn tyres. Tyres are your connection with the road. Worn or bald tyres provide less grip – particularly when the road is wet. Check your tyres regularly. Inflate tyres to the recommended levels (to find out what is right for your car, look for the tyre inflation placard inside the car’s door). Over or under inflated tyres can lead to handling problems and wear out your tyres faster. VicRoads advise that except at the tread wear indicators, tyres must have a minimum tread depth of 1.5mm in all principal grooves. If there is less than 1.5mm, then it’s time for a new set of tyres.

- Regularly replace windscreen wipers. The rubber on windscreen wipers deteriorates over time, particular in hot summer weather. It’s time to replace your wiper blades if they shudder when moving or leave streaks on the glass that obscure your vision through the windscreen. Rubber refills are cheap and easy to replace.

- Make sure your lights are working. Worn out headlight bulbs make it harder for other road users to see you and make it more difficult for you to see the road. Having working brake lights is a no-brainer – they’re essential for letting vehicles behind you know when you are stopping. Make sure your indicators (turn signals) are working so you alert other road users when turning or merging. Check headlights, brake lights and indicator lights regularly and replace when necessary.

- Manage fatigue and stay alert. While you can control your actions on the road, you can’t control the behaviour of other drivers. Be alert, anticipate other drivers’ actions and react quickly to stay safe. Long hours can lead to fatigue, which will slow your reaction times. Take adequate breaks and manage your fatigue.

Safe Transport Victoria has an ongoing safety program in which our officers conduct vehicle testing and roadside spot checks. Tyres, headlights, brake lights, and windscreen wipers are some of many roadworthiness items our officers check for.

And don’t forget that vehicle owners are required to have the vehicle undergo an annual roadworthy or safety inspection. But don’t just rely on the annual safety inspection – you need to assess your vehicles regularly to keep yourself and your passengers safe.

Chris Banks, Director Safety Operations and Policy, Safe Transport Victoria, urged drivers to check their vehicles and keep themselves and their passengers safe.

Safety issues such as bald tyres and faulty headlights increase the risk of accidents and injuries to drivers and passengers. Safe Transport Victoria has an ongoing safety program to inspect commercial passenger vehicles and ensure safety standards are being met.

“Don’t risk driving an unroadworthy vehicle – any vehicle with unroadworthy tyres can be taken off the road and the driver or vehicle owner can be fined.

“As the safety regulator for the commercial passenger vehicle industry, Safe Transport Victoria’s primary focus is the safety of drivers and passengers.

For more information on vehicle owner, booking service provider, and driver responsibilities, read the industry code of practice.