Police are preparing for Victorians to be out embracing the great outdoors across the upcoming Labour Day long weekend, with Operation Arid set to kick off on Friday 5 March.
The operation comes as high traffic volumes and an increase in recreational activities are expected to impact road trauma incidences.
Long distance road trips, cycling and motorbike riding, day trips and recreational activities such as camping and hiking in national parks are all forming part of the predictions for an increase in lives lost on Victorian roads over the weekend.
Police expect high volumes of vehicles to veer off main roads and travel along smaller, “feeder roads” towards campgrounds.
Cyclists and motorcyclists are also considered vulnerable across the weekend, with favourable weather conditions expected to see people go for prolonged rides and challenge their ability on unfamiliar roads.
With people able to catch up for celebrations and some events back on around the state, police are also anticipating that people will make the decision to get behind the wheel while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Operation Arid will target priority areas across the eastern and western corridors, popular holiday and tourist destinations as well as metro Melbourne.
The operation will run from 12.01 am on Friday 5 March to 11.59pm on Monday 8 March.
Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Libby Murphy said police will use every opportunity to be visible, to intercept and to educate drivers.
“We are expecting an increase in traffic volumes along roads that lead to national parks, as well as on and around highways. With Victorians heading out camping, hiking and enjoying our state, we anticipate that people will be driving on roads that are unfamiliar and in conditions that come with risks,” she said.
“With some events back on, we know people like to have a few drinks with their friends or choose to take illicit substances. Unfortunately, this often translates to people getting behind the wheel while impaired. Our message to those who choose to do this is that we will be extra vigilant; any unusual driving behaviour or breach of a road rule could indicate the driver shouldn’t be behind the wheel.
“We cannot be everywhere, but we ask that people take responsibility and help us ensure that everyone makes it home to their loved ones this long weekend,” she said.