Road trauma can affect individuals who were directly and indirectly involved in a road traffic incident. Therefore, Injury Matters acknowledges that the figures above do not reflect the true impact of road traffic crashes on the Western Australian community.
How can we improve road safety?
The Safe System has been adopted in Australia as a model for improving road safety. The Safe System focuses on improving road user behaviour, improving road infrastructure, ensuring speed limits are appropriate for the safety of the road and improving the safety features of vehicles.
Reducing the incidence of road traffic crashes on WA roads requires individuals to action safe driving behaviours, including;
- Following WA road rules.
- Making sure all passengers are wearing seatbelts.
- Not driving if you are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
- Not driving if you feel tired.
- Removing potential distractions from your vehicle.
- Buying a safe vehicle.
- Regularly maintaining your vehicle.
- Being aware of the needs of other road users (i.e. pedestrians, cyclist and heavy vehicles).
For more information about safe driving behaviours visit the Road Safety Commission’s website.
What happens if you are involved in a road traffic incident?
If you witness or are personally involved in a serious road traffic incident and require urgent medical assistance, call 000 immediately.
Regardless of how someone was involved in a road traffic incident, they may feel the effects of road trauma. Whether they were the driver, rider, pedestrian, passenger, witness, first responder, family member or friend, the incident can leave the individual feeling stressed, overwhelmed, helpless and vulnerable.
It’s important that the individual recognises that they have been through a stressful event and that they need to give themselves time and space to acknowledge what has happened. There are a number of ways people can support their recovery following exposure to road trauma, including:
- Spending time with people who care about them;
- Maintaining a normal routine as much as possible;
- Ensuring they are sleeping, eating well and exercising where and when possible;
- Avoiding using alcohol and/or drugs to ‘numb’ their feelings; and
- Talking to someone they trust about what they have been through.
The majority of people deal with traumatic experiences without professional help. But sometimes reactions to trauma can be unexpected, overwhelming and prolonged.
If you are worried or concerned about how you or someone else are coping, a trained professional, such as a psychologist, counsellor or medical professional can help the individual to cope with the trauma in a safe, confidential and non-judgemental manner.
Injury Matters’ Road Trauma Support WA service specialises in trauma and bereavement counselling and offers free, confidential services for anyone who has been affected by a road crash. Alternatively, support is available from:
- Lifeline (13 11 14)
- Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800)
- Crisis Care (1800 199 008)
- Grief Line (1300 845 745)
- Rural Link (1800 552 002)
Organisations and programs
Injury Matters Transport Resources
- Kidsafe WA – Resources
- HealthInfoNet – Resources
- WA Road Safety Commission – Resources
- WA Road Safety Strategy for Western Australia 2020 – 2030, Driving Change
- WALGA RoadWise – Resources
- Government of Western Australia. Driving Change. Road Safety Strategy for Western Australia 2020-2030. (2020).
- Road Safety Commission. WA Road Fatalities 2020. (2021).