National

The West Aussie Wave: As thousands of West Australians hit the road for the WA Day weekend, slow down and wave to fellow travellers

The West Aussie Wave: As thousands of West Australians hit the road for the WA Day weekend, slow down and wave to fellow travellers

For the first time in more than two months, West Aussie families are free to escape to anywhere in the State besides the Kimberley.

The momentous opportunity, allowed by the State Government just in time for the WA Day long weekend, will see tens of thousands hit the road in a mad dash for freedom.

But the much-anticipated removal of the State’s police-manned roadblocks restricting travel has prompted a word of caution and calm from authorities.

7News Perth’s Susannah Carr is getting behind the campaign to bring back the ‘West Aussie wave’.

“It’s not a competition to get to your destination this weekend — don’t make it a race to get to the hospital,” Road Safety commissioner Adrian Warner said. “There is no better time to remind road users that kindness, courtesy and safety will be paramount to sharing the roads safely.”

The warning comes on the back of the launch of a new road safety campaign aimed at bringing back “the West Aussie wave” — a time-honoured tradition on many country roads that is, unfortunately, on the brink of extinction in Perth.

Timed to coincide with the start of this WA Day long weekend, the Kindness Travels campaign hopes to reduce serious and fatal crashes — some of which are caused by impatience and road rage — and encourage drivers to lift a hand in response to an act of kindness or as a display of contrition after making a mistake on the road.

It’s not a competition to get to your destination this weekend — don’t make it a race to get to the hospital — Adrian Warner

“I know from personal experience how aggressive behaviour on the roads can be unsettling for the person on the receiving end and the consequences of that behaviour can be long lasting,” Mr Warner said.

“We have a beautiful State, I encourage people to get out and see it but everyone needs to concentrate when they’re behind the wheel ... and get behind Kindness Travels. A simple wave of thanks can make someone’s day.”

7NEWS presenter Rick Ardon.

Teaming up with the State Government, Seven West Media and other media outlets to promote the Kindness Travels message are much-loved 7NEWS Perth presenters Rick Ardon, Susannah Carr, Samantha Jolly and Angela Tsun, who have lent their famous faces to the initiative — along with perennial favourite Fat Cat. The WA Police State Traffic Division reminded drivers “police will be on the roads this long weekend, enforcing double demerits to ensure all members of the community remain safe”.

“Motorists are reminded to take additional care with the wet roads and stormy conditions,” a spokesman said.

Travel restrictions to the Kimberley, East Pilbara and 274 Aboriginal communities remain in place, with Premier Mark McGowan hopeful parts of the Kimberley — including Broome — will be opened after the Commonwealth lifts its biosecurity zone on June 5.