With a decade of professional rally driving experience across Australia and New Zealand, Harry Bates knows what it takes to be safe when driving on and off road.  

Widely regarded as one of Australia's top talents, Harry drives for Toyota Australia in the Australian Rally Championship, with a career that started at the age of 18.  

Humble by nature, the now 28-year old is a father of two and passionate about road safety - both on the track and across Australia and New Zealand's roads.  

As part of our 2023 'All roads lead to home campaign', Harry shared insights into his career and what he does to prepare and practice so he is always performing at his very best when driving.  

"The most dangerous thing we do each and every day, is getting into our car and driving," says Harry. 

So when you're on the road, you have to make the activity of driving a vehicle your priority at that point. 

'In rallying, we're pushing things to the edge and always looking for the maximum we can extract from ourselves and the car.  

"On the road when I am driving, I am very conservative and conscious of the other road users around me. I'm never looking for opportunities to get to where I need to be quickly, and the priority is always safety. 

"One is a sport where the goal is to win, and the other is a daily activity designated to get me from A to B.  

"They are completely different disciplines but the big similarity between both, is the requirement for total concentration." 

It's this focus on concentration that forms the basis of Harry's simple tips whenever he is behind the wheel. 

Ventia's Christian Frost pictured with Harry Bates at our 'All roads lead to home' event in Melbourne.

Focus, distraction and fatigue 

"With 5,500 motor vehicle accidents every day on Australia's roads, no one wakes up and says I'm going to have a car crash today," says Harry.  

"The biggest thing we can do to be a safe driver is absolute concentration, and really focus on the task at hand when you are behind the wheel. That will save not only yourselves but the people around you. 

"At the end of the day, skill is irrelevant if you're not focused on the roads and others around you. 

Our goal should be 100% focus and we need to consciously work on it. 

"A green light, for example means 'go' but it doesn't mean it's safe or clear…you should always check left and right before accelerating. 

"For me, being a good driver is driving under the speed limit, especially in high pedestrian traffic areas. 

"I also acknowledge when I feel tired and stop and take a break, even if the journey is a relatively short one." 

Harry says that at the end of the day, skill is irrelevant if you're not focused on the roads and others around you. 

When it comes to distraction, Harrys says it's the one thing we can all get better at

"In motorsport…the smallest distraction can have an immediate and disastrous outcome, so staying in the zone is so important," says Harry. "But this also applies to everyday driving. 

"Distraction is a driving behavior, it's not a skills-based behavior and so anyone can improve with discipline." 


And why is driving safety for Harry important? 

"Home for me is where my family are, I have two kids and a beautiful fiancée," says Harry. "They are the number one people in my life. So, whether I am driving on the road or in motorsports, it's so important that all roads lead to home at the end of each day." 

Harry's final message to us all:

Be vigilant. Be aware of what you're doing and where you are. When you're on the roads, you have to make the activity of driving a vehicle your priority at that point.

Harry's number one priority is his family and getitng home safely every day.

Watch our video as Harry explains his simple tips and his 'why' for getting home safely every day.

For more on Harry and his rallying career, visit: https://www.harrybates.com.au/