All involved in horror Tilba smash were foreign tourists

Police have confirmed all involved in Saturday’s horror smash on the Princes Highway north of Tilba were foreign visitors.

Adding to the tragedy was that all involved were under the age of 20, including the 19-year-old female driver of the smaller Toyota Corolla sedan, who was killed, and her 19-year-old passenger, who today remained in a critical condition in Canberra Hospital. 

The nationalities of the deceased driver and her passenger are not known.

All four occupants in the other vehicle, an older model Toyota Land Cruiser, were German nationals and only one was admitted to hospital.

A spokeswoman for NSW Health said the female teenager from Bavaria in Germany suffered a cracked sternum and was currently in the Bega Regional Hospital’s surgery ward in a stable condition.

Initial investigations suggested a Toyota Corolla and a Toyota Land Cruiser crashed head-on on the Princes Highway just south of Brushgrove Lane, where the northbound lane widens into a passing lane, at about 1pm. 

The site of the collision in the southbound lane can be clearly seen on what is a newly upgraded section of the highway, known as the Victoria Creek bypass.

Narooma Police are urging all drivers to be cautious on the highway and for visiting and local drivers to be alert and to get plenty of rest before driving.

This is the second serious accident on the Princes Highway in the Tilba area over the holiday period, as a Victorian visitor lost control of his Subaru wagon 200 metres south of the Bermagui turn-off on December 30, crashing into an embankment, trapping his female passenger until she could be removed by rescue squads.

The female passenger was flown to Canberra Hospital with serious injuries, while the male driver and a child passenger in the rear were taken to Bega Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

National not-for-profit organisation Road Safety Education Limited (RSE) meanwhile today put out a statement warning of the dangers young people face on Australian roads at this time of the year when more young people are driving to visit families and holiday destinations.

“Getting behind the wheel of a car as a young driver or passenger is said to be among the most dangerous things a person will do in their entire life,” according to RSE chief executive office Terry Birss.

The organisation is intent on reducing road trauma among young drivers, by educating high school students through its highly acclaimed RYDA program, which provides powerful workshops to change the way young people think about road safety. 

RSE has strong support from corporate partners along with Rotary Clubs, whose volunteers coordinate the program in their local area.

Some tips to bear in mind:

Distance between your car and the car in front

Always keep a minimum three seconds gap between you and the car in front. When it's raining and/or foggy double the distance to six seconds no matter what speed you're doing.

Indicate early

Always indicate when changing lanes, 30 metres wherever practical, to advise other motorists of what you are doing. 

Eyes Ahead

Drive with your line of sight parallel to the road not looking down onto it. By doing this you see further into the distance so you can be better prepared if there is a problem ahead. It may even mean you can avoid a crash. 

Overtaking

Ensure you have enough room to go past the vehicle you are overtaking and not cut them off. Pick you time carefully as overtaking can be quite dangerous and making the wrong decision may result in a serious crash.

Driving at night

Driving at night requires more skill & concentration than at daytime due to your restricted vision. Oncoming headlights can obscure your vision and pedestrians can be near impossible to see. Leave a bigger gap between you and the car in front to allow for your reduced vision and reaction time. 

Road rage

Stay relaxed and try not to let other people's driving skills or decisions worry you. If another driver makes a mistake don't get angry - just concentrate on your own driving skills, behaviour and safety. 

“Drivers must remember that travelling during holiday periods can be more risky because of increased traffic volumes, congestion, tiredness, there are higher numbers of people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and people may be driving in unfamiliar environments,” Mr Birss said.

“Being courteous and flexible, remembering to share the road with others, allowing increased time for the journey, and scheduling frequent breaks can help drivers to stay safe during these high-pressure periods.”

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