ARE you planning to get off the main highways when you leave home today for a family holiday?
Police are promising they will be waiting for you.
Bendigo's Highway Patrol are among the police units targeting the roads that link highways as well as holiday destinations and where many of the serious crashes happen, Senior Sergeant Ian Brooks said.
"People scream down the freeway with their cruise control set to 110/km, get onto smaller roads and think they can continue to drive the same way.
"They have also been driving for that hour-and-a-half from Melbourne. That's when the fatigue issues start to set in," he said.
"People have already had big Christmas Days, they've then got up early and packed up the family and they get on a road and push themselves a little bit harder to get where they need to be with less breaks.
"So that's the time people start to lose concentration or take those little risks, like driving 5km over the speed limit to get there a little quicker."
"We want to have a lot of visibility on these feeder roads to let people know we are there," he said.
While the Highway Patrol will turn its attention to smaller roads, all available police officers will be out in force across the road network.
More than 260 people had died on Victoria's roads by Christmas Eve, 25 per cent more than at the same time in 2018.
Six people have died on Bendigo roads this year.
Four were killed in cars, one was one a motorbike and another was on a bicycle.
In the wider region, another 12 people have lost their lives.
That includes seven in the Campaspe and Loddon areas to Bendigo's north, two in the Central Goldfields to the city's west and nine people in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges to its south.
The most recent of those crashes occurred last week on Fogartys Gap Road in North Harcourt.
Senior Sergeant Brooks is done pleading with people to behave themselves on the road and to heed messages about fatigue and mobile phone distraction.
"I'm now at a point where I say 'we just have to get this road toll back down'," he said.
"It's achievable, we have proven that in the past."
Senior Sergeant Brooks is pleased that the community has heeded messages about safety issued in the latter half of this year.
The statewide road toll has at times been on track to eclipse 2016's 290.
Just seven months into 2019 central Victoria's road toll was already higher than 2018's total of 13.
Since then, the rate of people dying has slowed.
Police officers' calls last weekend for people to stay vigilant had elicited a lot of positive feedback from people in the community.
Senior Sergeant Brooks believes that is a sign the public is taking a greater responsibility for stopping people dying on the road.
"It's not just family and friends of those who die for whom this is having an impact.
"We are losing valuable members of the community for what is really a moment's inattention or slightly too much speed."
As Senior Sergeant Brooks and his team prepare for the last push towards the end of the year, they have a message for the region's paramedics, CFA crews and SES personnel.
"I hope I don't see you, because that would mean we all would be responding to something," he said.
"But take care of yourselves. That goes especially for volunteers.
"We have CFA volunteers who turn out to road rescues when we all know their focus needs to be somewhere else at the moment.
"And our SES volunteers should not have to leave their families at this time of year to go and deal with trauma on our roads."