South Australian road users need to put safety first | OPINION, VIDEO

Stock image.
Stock image.

At the time of print, 79 people have died and 611 have been seriously injured on South Australian roads in 2016.

But that ominous road toll can change in mere seconds.

Entering a bend too fast in rainy weather; responding to a text asking what time you'll be home; swerving into another lane to avoid a kangaroo: your life can change - or end - in a heartbeat.

Despite those road toll numbers, the media's sharing of the tally as it tragically rises throughout each year is failing to impact on road users. 

It's as though we have become so used to hearing 'the road toll has risen tonight...' that we're now immune to the potential dangers and consequences of getting behind the wheel.

Particularly in regional South Australia, the ripple effect of a severe road accident is evident for lifetimes. In remembering those who reach the worst road accident fate, losing their lives, we often forget the long-lasting heartbreak endured by families and tight-knit communities.

Driving through regional towns, you'll see the tributes to dead mates: 'rest in peace' car stickers and stubby holders to commemorate those lost.

You'll probably also drive past the eerie, but often unassuming, spot that person took their last breath: indicated only with a tragic standard-issue black road marker, flower tributes and photo frames containing the face of the deceased. 

That's when it really hits home: a person lost their precious life there. A person; not just a black marker on the side of the road.

Bearing in mind that it's these human stories which most affect us, Fairfax Media South Australia will place a heavy focus on local road safety as part of its statewide drive. arrive.campaign.

Using our journalists across South Australia, we want to put the focus on road safety awareness and education in the lead-up to Christmas 2016.

We want to see our friends, parents, brothers, sisters, arrive at their homes safely. Every single time they use our state's roads.

Simply put, we want those horrifying road toll numbers to reduce dramatically.

So our plea to you is this: share stories from our campaign with your friends and families, and speak to them about safe road usage. Put down your mobile phones. Think of your loved ones - and others' loved ones - each time you get behind the wheel.

Because each time we get behind the wheel, we're putting our lives in each other's hands.