New research reveals very few will get out their tyre-changing kit — or even know what that is.
Drivers under 25 are more likely to post about their situation on social media, as Gold Coast friends Leah Heritage and Molly McMahon did when they chronicled their recent flat tyre experience.
Despite already being the most vulnerable group on our roads, young drivers are putting themselves at further risk of serious road trauma by allowing basic safety essentials to go unchecked, the research reveals.
Leah was in that situation when her dad texted her back saying he warned her to check her tyres a week earlier. The girls had been trying to get to a picnic with friends and had no idea what to do.
The data from Driver Safety Australia shows three in four drivers under 25 are driving a car more than a decade old, but most of them don’t undertake regular checks on it, either leaving it to someone else or naively believing a warning light will alert them to any safety issue.
Young drivers are two times more likely to blow $50 on a meal out with friends than fix a broken headlight or worn windscreen wiper.
They’re even more likely to spend money cleaning their car than they are fixing a critical safety issue.
Alarmingly, the research also shows two in five drivers under 25 have knowingly driven a car with a safety issue.
Driver Safety Australia boss Russell White said the frightening research was not only endangering the lives of young drivers but road users more generally.
“Car crashes happen in an instant, and in that moment having a car in safe condition can be the difference between life and death,” Mr White said.
“Every driver has a responsibility to ensure they’re taking precautions to keep themselves and those around them safe.
“Whether that’s tyre tread and being able to brake in time or having adequate vision in different weather conditions with working wipers or headlights.
“On top of these safety concerns, there’s also the added risk of being stranded when broken down on the side of the road. We continue to see serious injuries and fatalities as a result of being struck in high-traffic areas, which can often be avoided.”
The research shows attitude isn’t the problem but a lack of skills and knowledge.
While a third of young drivers said they didn’t know anything about basic car checks, almost the same amount believed being able to maintain their vehicle was an important skill that every driver should know.
Most were willing to learn, which is why Driver Safety Australia has teamed up with Supercheap Auto in a new campaign to educate young drivers.
“Check It” is an Australia-wide initiative that will raise awareness around the importance of undertaking regular vehicle safety checks.
On March 30, free training will be provided across Supercheap Auto’s 278 Australian stores, and tutorials are also available online.