April Harwood, head of JAX Tyres & Auto marketing, talks with Caroline Falls from Fleet Auto News about some of the findings from a study of driver behaviour in regards to preparation for long road trips. The company’s 2020 Road Safety in Australia survey shows improvements over earlier years — tyre checks, wiper checks etc. This is an edited version of the interview. Click here for the full interview on our FAN podcast.
Firstly can you tell us about the study — how long you have been conducting it for; if you partnered with anyone to do it. Also, maybe tell us about the study — like the sample size and how many questions, and how the study is conducted — by telephone or in person?
We interviewed nationally a representative sample of just over a 1,000 Australians aged 18 years and older and we did that in the first quarter of this year. We have partnered with international polling group YouGov Galaxy. It’s a custom consumer survey. It was conducted online.
Let’s get into some of the findings of the latest study. Can you tell us about some of the key things you measured?
The key things that we are looking at with the JAX Tyres & Auto Road Safety report is which vehicle checks Aussie drivers actually make before going on a long trip; how often they get their routine safety checks done; how confident they are when they get those particular safety checks done; and, what gives them the most peace of mind.
What are those particular checks?
The most checked items we are looking at is tyre pressure we found that 84 percent of people this year are checking their tyre pressure. Now that’s an increase of 22 percent on 2019. Oil level is another check people do and that was 76 percent this year, which is a great increase on last year. Coolant in the radiator — we found 59 percent of people are checking that. Spare tyre pressure — we found 52 percent of people are checking that. Windscreen wipers — 48 percent check they are working. Tyre tread depth — 45 percent, which is an increase of 9 per cent from last year. And seat belts — 34 percent . Tyre tread pressure is a key area where people can improve.
Why do you think we are seeing improvements in some of the measures?
I think they are definitely improving. It comes down a lot down to awareness. Safety and awareness has definitely increased with motorists. Safety awareness campaigns run by the government, and media, also school campaigns with teenagers, that’s all having a positive impact.
A road trip in Australia, is I imagine, something most of us want to do as soon as we get the chance and as our options for overseas travel have suddenly diminished amid this COVID-19 outbreak. Can you talk about why so many Australians are jumping at the chance to go on a road trip this year?
Aussies around the country are really embracing the concept of the great Australian road trip. We are seeing a significant surge increase in the number of people willing to hit the road and see more of their own backyard. With recent events curtailing overseas trips, it’s definitely an opportunity to get out and explore Australia’s great outdoors.
— Caroline Falls is a freelance journalist. She can be contacted at email@example.com.