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Journeys : October November 2009
Street-smart Opinion We asked: Do you think that people who have an automatic driver's licence should have to do a driving test to get a manual licence? Robert W. Scanlon Mr Greg Goodman Group Chief Executive Royal Automobile Club of Tasmania GPO Box 1292 Hobart 7001 Dear Mr Goodman My wife and I have just retur ned home from a road trip, driving our 740iL BMW from Hobart, across the Nullarbor Plain to Perth and back. We planned the seven-week trip to see the countryside and visit family and friends along the way. I have been an RACT member since 1966 and have only on rare occasions needed to call for roadside assistance -- but it was on this trip that the tr ue value of our R ACT Ultimate membership was realised. Driving west late one after noon, we were approaching Eucla, a small service township on the Eyre Highway, near the border between South Australia and Wester n Australia. Eucla is 1200 kilometres west of Adelaide and 1400 kilometres east of Perth. We stopped at a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Great Australian Bight and my wife Pat said that she could smell something bur ning. I didn't think too much of this because there was a camper with a fire near the car-park. However I noticed as I drove off that I had no power steering and that the alter nator light had come on. Then the car computer flashed a war ning that the engine coolant temperature was rising. I immediately stopped the car and opened the bonnet to investigate. As expected, the fan belt had broken and disintegrated -- obviously the cause of the bur ning smell. I pondered what else would be w rong, because I did not expect a fan belt to fail. I found that the engine fan was quite un stable, which made me suspicious that the water pump had failed, causing the fan belt to break. This diagnosis was confir med by Western Australia's R AC mechanic in Eucla. With the car bonnet up, another traveller stopped to see if we were all right. I asked him to see if he could get someone from Eucla to come and tow us in. We waited only about 40 minutes when Shirley Fowler, wife of Rod Fowler, the R AC's authorised towing serviceman, ar rived to No, not really because I'd imagine that people who did want to go for a m anual licence would already know how to drive a manual. Tara Hodgson Fern Tree Yes, because it doesn't matter how much road experience you have, there is the physical aspect that takes away concentration, until you get your coordination linked up with the clutch pedal. You definitely need to be off the road to train first. Pete r Hayes Hobart Ireckon they should do a test, for the safety of drivers and pedestrians. Jasmin Newham Mornington Peninsula Yes, so they know how to do it properly, for safety. Talissa Heron Risdon Vale Idon't see why it should be any different here in Tasmania from South Australia. There you're allowed to drive either, it doesn't specify. I've occasionally had to drive a manual, it's good to know both I guess, for an emergency. Fuchsia Millevoi Adelaide It's a tough one but yes, it's pretty dangerous switching over if you're not used to a manual. It is a different skill-set. Andrew Bauden Adelaide Photos and interviews Kelly Madden Pat and Robert Scanlon In our community October / November 09 14
August September 2009
Dec Jan 2010