Spring has sprung, and September has generously brought us both lovely warm weather, and the easing of COVID restrictions in our region.
While life returns to the new normal and we can leave our homes for the first times in weeks, you may find yourself taking longer drives and feeling a bit out of practice.
Well, September is also Rural Road Safety Month, a timely reminder of the risks we face when driving on our roads.
I recently learnt a shocking statistic. While only 16.5 per cent of Australians live in rural areas, deaths on rural roads make up a staggering 65 per cent of the national road toll.
Unfortunately our region has played its part.
Last year too many in our community had their lives changed forever because of 42 serious road accidents.
As a close-knit community the trauma of a road accident is felt our family and friends, our colleagues, the many community groups we're a part of, and our emergency responders.
And it changes all of our lives.
But the thing that truly needs to change are our behaviour.
It's an important time to focus on making sure that we all are making an effort to lower this number.
Accidents on rural roads are only more likely because drivers simply take more risks.
With 915 kilometres of roads stretching across our region it's easy to be lulled into a false sense that you won't be caught by police when driving dangerously.
The reality is that being caught and dealing with a fine should not be your biggest concern.
The risks of dangerous driving, and the trauma you'll leave with the ones you love, is the reason you should think twice.
The risks being taken are choices.
This month, and for all other months of the year, I ask you to pledge to make the smart decision.
And make sure to take care when making your way through our gorgeous region.
You can take the road safety pledge, and learn more about good driving behaviour at: arsf.com.au/rrsw-home.