Home' Journeys : Apr May 2016 Contents stopped so the road was still greasy. He took off from
the lights heading north, showing off, and managed
to lose complete control. We sat back, driving slowly
as this kid hit the kerb, went up on the median
strip, got back off it then kept driving with a very
embarrassed expression up the highway, I reckon.
A little further up near the K-Mart lights, I saw a
wheel come off a car and head up into the bushes.
I could see smoke ahead and brake lights coming on
really hard. Just in front of me was a four-car pile-up.
I was fortunate to avoid it – but only just.
Later that day, I was coming over the Tasman Bridge in the far
left lane and I noticed a large container up ahead, not moving.
Turns out it wasn’t even on a truck, it had slipped off and was
sitting in the middle of my lane as I approached at 70 km/h.
I had just enough time to hit the anchors, skidding to a halt
with locked brakes. Further up the road I saw the truck driver
standing beside his truck with its missing container, scratching
How far back does your love of four-wheel-driving go?
We’ve been four-wheel-driving since the days before we had a
four-wheel-drive! These trips used to take a long time because
we kept getting stuck. We went to Fortescue Bay before there
was a road in. There used to be an old track further north, up
an old fire trail. We went down in the summer so it wasn’t too
wet but there were still a lot of holes and creeks. We took Dad ’s
car and us bigger boys (I had four brothers and one sister), had
to keep getting out to gather sticks and logs to cover the holes
to get through. We’d all have to get out and push. My uncle and
family of five came behind in their car – a Kombi van with a
dinghy on top. They were pretty adventurous times.
Ever had fire coming out the back of your car?
Well, yes! It was a ’66 Ford station wagon – my father’s old
car. We were coming back from Safety Cove from a camping
trip. I heard this noise in the back of the wagon just up out of
Dunalley. The wheel bearing had let go, and in older-model cars
nothing holds the wheel to the car, so it comes out past the mud
guard. Next thing the brake f luid catches on fire. All six of us
boys in the car leap out – the back seaters leap through the front
doors and we throw gravel and dirt onto the f lames to get it out.
That was one crazy day.
Where do you plan to spend your next holiday?
I’m a big believer in seeing my own country before seeing
others, so most of our holidays are in Tasmania. We are off on
the boat later in the year though to Cape York. It’s on the hit list
of every four-wheel driver.
Photos and interview Alice Hansen
article ‘Let’s prevent
accidents, not just
As Peter suggests, raising
awareness of inattention is
easier, more effective and far more
economical than curing the consequences
of driver inattention.
On the following page I read a report on the new light-controlled
intersections on the Brooker Highway in the vicinity of the
Showgrounds. Great idea, excellent design and provision for the
future in the laying of a third lane through the intersection, ready
if the highway is expanded to three lanes.
However, this is where I think the two articles show opposing
outcomes. I want to focus my attention on the ‘short third lanes’ at
the existing light-controlled intersections on the highway.
Currently, these third lane sections pose crash-encouragement
qualities. The third lane is an open invitation for those wishing
to show others how to get past three or four cars by diverging into
the third lane, then on the green light, or even when the light is
already green, speeding ahead of those in the left continuous lane,
before having to merge back into the two-lane road, hoping that
all drivers are aware of the merging rules. This is repeated at each
successive set of intersections.
The demerging, rushing ahead and remerging causes unnecessary
additional risks and increases the potential for crashes – it would
be misleading to call them ‘accidents’.
Using these short lanes to demerge left-turning traffic on one side
of the intersection; and to merge entering traffic on the other side
is necessary. But in my view, there is another vital and practical
need that these short lane sections could fulfil. They could be
marked as EMERGENCY VEHICLE ONLY lanes, giving these
vehicles priority passage. It would separate emergency traffic
from routine traffic and ease confusion about how to give way to
emergency vehicles, where sometimes none exists. Road markings
such as hatching and appropriate signage would advise drivers.
There are similar examples of BUS ONLY sections of road.
It seems the losses of a minority could be gains for the majority –
reduced tension, less aggravation and smoother traffic f low, as well
as helping drivers maintain that all-important attention, without
needing to react to impatient mergers – and as I propose, helping to
ease emergency vehicles through tight spots on the highway.
As part of the enforcement, it could be made an infringement event
for non-emergency vehicles to use these short third lanes.
What do other RACT members think?
APRIL / MAY 2016 Journeys 9
IN OUR COMMUNITY
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