5 essential items to keep in your first aid kit

Having a well stocked first aid kit in your car is a handy item at all times, because you never know when you might need to administer immediate care for yourself or others on the road. However, a kit that doesn’t have the right essentials isn’t going to be much use, so it’s important to create yours carefully.

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Handy items you should always have in your car

When you’re out traveling, you never know what emergencies or unexpected events might occur. Even though it’s impossible to predict what could happen on any given day, being as prepared as you can will certainly go a long way towards your safety and that of other drivers as well.

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Tips for driving on different terrain

Having a car means you can travel far and wide, over terrain both familiar and unknown. However, when you’re out on the roads it’s important to remember that different conditions will often require extra special care in order to avoid accidents and negotiate hazards successfully.

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The AAA calls for improved infrastructure funding

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) is calling for a greater focus on infrastructure funding across the country, in the hope that it will support better roads in every state and territory.

“The current approach to road funding is clearly broken with crippling congestion in the cities and inadequate and unsafe highways in many rural areas,” AAA Chief Executive Andrew McKellar said in a March 25 statement.

“Reform of current approaches to funding for our roads and transport infrastructure is a national priority.”

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NSW road funding maintenance at historic highs

Though it’s compulsory to obtain a CTP green slip for your vehicle, fewer NSW drivers may end up claiming under the scheme with road maintenance funding at an all-time high in 2013 to 2014.

NSW Government, Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay announced that funding for road maintenance and minor improvements to roads and bridges within NSW, including council-owned infrastructure, has hit record levels.

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Who are the green slip insurers in NSW?

CTP green slips are compulsory in NSW.  You can not register your vehicle without first purchasing a green slip.

Seven insurers are licensed to issue greenslips in NSW.

Currently, the seven insurance licenses are controlled by five companies.

An overview of the insurers is set out below.

AAMI is owned by Suncorp.  As at June 2012, AAMI had a market share of 8.8%.  AAMI provide an online quote and purchase facility, and you are able to deal with a consultant over the phone. AAMI does not offer discounts on other products for purchasing a ctp green slip, and do not offer additional at- fault driver cover.

Allianz had a market share of 12.6% as at June 2012.  Allianz Group also operates the CIC Allianz licence.  As at June 2013, the combined market share for the Allianz group was16.7%.   Allianz offers the added feature of At-Fault Driver Protection, however there are exclusions, including motorbikes, drivers aged under 25, and vehicles more than 10 old

CIC Allianz
CIC Allianz is the second licence operated by the Allianz Group.  As at June 2012 CIC Allianz had a market share of 4.2%.

GIO is owned by the Suncorp Group, which also owns AAMI.  As at June 2012 GIO had a market share of 12.7% and as at June 2013 GIO and AAMI had a combined market share of 21.8%.  GIO offers Driver Cover Plus with some green slips as their form of at- fault driver cover. This excludes motorbikes, drivers aged under 25 (unless also comprehensively insured with GIO) and vehicles with a GVM exceeding 4.5 tonnes. You can obtain a quote and purchase green slips online, and the website provides information on branch locations. GIO also offers some discounts on comprehensive insurance.

NRMA Insurance
NRMA has the largest market share, with a market share of 35.3% as at June 2013.  NRMA offers at-fault driver cover, except for motorbike riders. Phone and online quotes and purchase are available.  NRMA operates the most extensive branch network of all the insurers.  You can visit their website to find your nearest branch.  NRMA also offers mutli-policy discounts on other products.

As at June 2013, QBE had a market share of 19.9%.  QBE do not offer any form of additional at fault driver cover. Quotes and purchase are available online,and brokers and agents are used to distribute products – QBE will help you find your nearest. No discounts are offered on other products or services with the purchase of a green slip.

The final insurer is Zurich, with a market share of 6.2% as at June 2013. Zurich offer CTP At-Fault Driver Insurance with some green slips, with some exclusions, including for green slips issued quarterly or every six months. No online purchase is available, but Zurich will help you find your nearest broker or agent.

A full comparison of at-fault driver cover, discounts and ease of access for purchase for each of the insurers is available on this site.  A green slip price comparison is also available.

New agreement may benefit road users

Have you ever found yourself pleased with a bargain offer of eight, 16 or even 40 cents per litre off your next fuel bill from your supermarket docket?

According to the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), inflated supermarket docket offers are not actually as beneficial as you may think. In fact, in a media release, the AAA asserted that supermarket docket offers decrease competition in the fuel market and could actually end up costing consumers more in the long run.

Chief Executive of the AAA, Andrew McKellar, stated “the supermarkets have not been providing shopper docket offers as a form of charity but rather as a mechanism to distort the marketplace”.

Thus, an agreement labelled by the AAA and accepted by major supermarkets to stop providing these offers is “a step in the right direction”, and will increase competition in the fuel market.

Mr McKellar indicates that reduced competition due to supermarket docket offers could ultimately mean the consumer spends more elsewhere.

Customers are offered discounts in return for spending a certain amount on their groceries, with higher fuel vouchers offered for a more costly supermarket spend.

In addition, these fuel discounts can make it difficult for those in the petrol industry, as such offers could decrease competition between competitors until Australians are utilising only the select few fuel retailers that are involved in the shopper docket scheme.

However, Mr McKellar believes that motorists realise reduced competition could end up costing them more money in the end.

“Motorists are smarter than the supermarkets think”, he said.

This is backed up by a survey conducted by the AAA indicating that only 42 per cent of motorists who used supermarket dockets actually believed they were saving money.

Motorists looking to save money in the long run could be better off getting a green slip comparison than using such dockets. Getting 40 cents per litre of your fuel bill doesn’t compare to getting caught in a tricky situation without ctp insurance to cover you!

Take a look at NSW claims statistics

CTP insurance is a necessary part of car ownership.

Though we hope you’ll never have to make one yourself, plenty of Australians end up claiming on ctp insurance every year.

The New South Wales Government Motor Accidents Authority Annual Report 2012-2013 period takes an in depth look at who is claiming on ctp insurance and why, according factors such as age, gender, and type of vehicle.

This provides great insight into who’s making (and causing!) claims most often, as well as what these claims actually end up costing.

According to the data collected in 2013, the age group causing the highest proportion of injury crashes are aged between 26 and 49 years old, with 45.3 per cent of recorded injury crashes attributed to them. However, this age group also makes up the largest number of NSW licence holders, with 44.7 per cent of total licence holders coming from this group.

This age group also made up the highest total claims cost, sitting at 45.1 per cent.

Closely following this age bracket were the 17 to 25 and 50 to 69 age brackets, accounting for 25.6 and 19.9 per cent of injury crashes caused, respectively. Other age groups were significantly lower, with those aged over 70 responsible for 5.1 per cent and those under 16 responsible for 0.3 per cent.

Overall, the 17 to 25 age bracket made up 25.3 per cent of total claims cost and 50 to 69 accounted for 22.6 per cent of NSW claims cost.

In terms of likelihood to cause a crash based on gender, males appear to be the most frequent. Of injury crashes recorded in the 2012 to 2013 period, 59.4 per cent were caused by males, 29.1 per cent caused by females and 11.9 per cent were unknown.

Drivers are the most likely road user to make a claim, making up 49.5 per cent of total claims. This was followed by passengers, and pedestrians. Pillion passengers are the least likely road user to make a claim, however, they account for the second highest average cost per claim at $216,900.

This is topped only by riders, who cost an average of $227,200 per claim.

Three checks you should do every season

Prevention is the best measure when it comes to road safety. This is why it’s essential to check your car every season to ensure it’s in effective working condition – don’t wait until you take it to the mechanic!

Here are three checks you should do every season:

Check oil levels

Your vehicle’s oil level is essential to the efficient running of your engine. According to the National Roads and Motorist’s Association (NRMA), if you regularly use your car for trips shorter than 20 km, contaminants such as water vapour and gases can end up in the oil and cause it to lose its protective qualities.

Cars traveling more than 20 km per drive may be able to break down these contaminants due to heat. However, it’s still worth checking (and changing, if necessary) your oil. Automotive lubricant company Castrol Australia suggests changing your oil every six months or every 5,000 km. Check your car’s manual or handbook for guidelines and any specifications you need to know about.

Check your tyres

Tyre checks should be done on a regular basis, but it’s a great idea to do a thorough, overall check at the start of each season. Look for overall tyre quality with no uneven wear, check your tyre pressure, and consider booking in for a wheel alignment and wheel balance. It’s also a good idea to get your tyres rotated at the start of each season. Bridgestone Tyres recommends a rotation every 5,000 to 8,000 km of driving.

Renew your registration

Letting your registration run out can mean your vehicle also has no ctp insurance – not to mention it’s illegal! Take note of your vehicle’s registration expiry date and renew your registration before it expires.

To do this, you’ll first need a ctp green slip. Compare green slip prices and pick the best deal for you, get a vehicle safety check and then renew over the phone, by post or in person at a motor registry.