DRIVERS are being urged to take care after a shocking surge in road fatalities has led to the worst start to the year for lives since 2013.
So far 31 people have been killed in road collisions, the worst start since 31 lives were lost to the end of March 2013.
RAA Safety and Infrastructure senior manager Charles Mountain said there had been a tragic spike in fatalities on regional roads, with 26 deaths to date, compared to 13 during the same time last year.
"Night-time crashes and weekend crashes are also significantly greater than for 2019 so far, while the number of males killed has jumped from 16 this time last year to 23 in the same period,'' he said.
"This horrendous toll is a timely reminder for motorists to be focused on the task of driving.
"Make sure that your concentration is undivided, be aware of your surroundings and the behaviour of other drivers as their focus may not be where it should be.''
Mr Mountain is urging road users to pay particular attention when approaching intersections on regional roads and be aware if approaching vehicles are slowing down.
"Don't assume other drivers will do the correct thing,'' he said.
Mr Mountain said national figures show almost half (44 per cent) of fatal regional crashes are single vehicle run-offs.
"Don't drive if you're over tired, feeling unwell, and particularly if you've been drinking or taken non-prescription drugs,'' he warned.
"All road users can play their part by being safe and not contributing to the number of lives wasted in road crashes.''