THE horrendous images we have seen on television and in newspapers in recent days should make us all think twice about our driving behaviour.
Pictures of burnt-out cars, vehicles slammed into trees and injured people being loaded into the back of ambulances are the last thing any of us want to see at this time of year.
But that has been the tragic reality for too many families this Christmas and we must be asking why.
Specifically, why has this year proven such a terrible one on our roads after the holiday road toll had been in steady decline for almost a decade?
Perhaps we thought the bad days were over. Perhaps it’s a matter of complacency. Perhaps it’s a matter of inattention.
Perhaps it’s a combination of all those things, and more.
What we do know, however, as NSW Police’s Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy has pointed out, is that the current death toll is running at more than one fatality a day.
In every instance, police and coroner’s courts will be left to gather and assess the evidence to determine how each crash occurred.
But each and every death should be a warning to drivers, passengers and pedestrians about the potential dangers on the road.
It’s a message police have been trying to get through for years: Fatigue, inattention, speed and stupidity can all cause fatal crashes.
Christmas and the summer holidays also bring their own added risks. Roads are busy and drivers may attempt to push through fatigue or dangerous conditions in a bid to get to their destination just that little bit sooner.
Every holiday period there are stories about drivers being arrested for travelling at high speed or when they were well over the drink-driving limit.
The question has been posed time and again, yet police are still left asking: Was it worth your life?
Would arriving just a few minutes later have really mattered that much?
There are families who this year woke on Christmas Day to the heartbreaking reality of having lost a loved one and, sadly, it is likely there will be more who will face the same tragedy on New Year’s Day.
Taking risks on the road is simply never worth it.