The Road Ahead : December 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 66 THE ROAD AHEAD DEC 2014/JAN 2015 MEMBER ESSENTIALS | NEWS SUMMERTIME BRINGS HOME FIRE RISKS WITH TEMPERATURES SOARING across the state, fans and airconditioners have been hard at work keeping Queenslanders cool. Ironically, these devices can be a potential fire risk if not maintained properly. RACQ Insurance research* showed faulty electrical appliances and fittings, including fans and airconditioners, were the cause of more than 14 percent of home fires last year. RACQ Executive Manager Insurance Communications Mike Sopinski said Queenslanders should be aware of the potential fire risks posed by cooling devices, particularly those that have been stored for some time and may be overdue for a safety check. Mr Sopinski said improperly installed, damaged or misused equipment were frequent sources of preventable fires. "Before switching on these types of appliances, Queenslanders should check for damaged cords and blocked filters, particularly in older equipment," he said. "They should also be careful when buying second-hand appliances by thoroughly checking the unit is safe to use." The research showed December was the most likely month (14.29 percent) to experience a fire in the home. January (10.07 percent) and February (10.36 percent) were also high-risk periods. Many Queenslanders admitted to leaving fans on (45.5 percent) and airconditioners running (48.2 percent) while away from the home, which is a particularly dangerous practice. WHEN SHOULD OLDER DRIVERS HANG UP THE KEYS? THE DECISION TO hang up the car keys is a tough call for an older driver to make. It can often involve a delicate conversation if younger family members have noticed that their loved one is becoming less confident or safe behind the wheel. According to RACQ's Executive Manager External Communications, Joe Fitzgerald, helping older drivers and their families have this conversation was the inspiration for a new video on RACQTV. "For many older drivers, driving isn't only a means of transport, it's a symbol of independence. It's often something we don't think about or discuss, but there will come a time when we need to weigh up the ability to drive safely against having the freedom of mobility," Mr Fitzgerald said. The video includes a personal story and insight into the topic to highlight the warning signs to look for and what steps to take next. "Warning signs are not always obvious and can gradually increase over time," Mr Fitzgerald said. "Signs to look for include slowed reactions, aversion to night driving, a loss of peripheral vision, and a decrease in flexibility." For more information on RACQ's support for older drivers, visit racq.com/ olderdrivers. To view the video, visit youtube.com/racqofficial. BE PREPARED FOR HOLIDAY DRIVING DURING THE CHRISTMAS and New Year period many Queenslanders will be hitting the road for a well-earned break, but before you head off make sure you're well-prepared for a safe drive ahead. According to RACQ's Senior Road Safety Advisor, Joel Tucker, preparation goes a long way to ensuring a happy and safe road trip for the whole family. "A good place to start is having your car serviced and checking the oil, tyres and water," Mr Tucker said. "Plan your journey to allow plenty of rest stops and be aware of the potential for a slower journey on the busier holiday roads." When on the road, Mr Tucker said it was important to drive to the conditions and be considerate of your fellow motorists. "We all want to get to our destination in one piece, particularly at Christmas time, so remember to drive to the speed limit, exercise courtesy on the road, and stop for a rest break if you're tired. Even if you are feeling fine, a break of 10 minutes every two hours is strongly recommended. "With summer storms and cyclones common during the December and January period, it's also a good idea to check RACQ's Road Conditions Report regularly for updates." racq.com/roadtrips *THE RACQ INSURANCE RESEARCH IS BASED ON AN INTERNET SURVEY OF 1000 QUEENSLAND RESIDENTS CONDUCTED IN JULY 2014 AND AN ANALYSIS OF RACQ HOUSEHOLD INSURANCE CLAIMS DATA. THE SURVEY IS CONTROLLED FOR AGE, GENDER AND LOCATION (METRO/REGIONAL) TO ALIGN THE SAMPLE WITH THE QUEENSLAND POPULATION.
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