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Journeys : Dec Jan 2010
Member in focus Why did you join the RACT? While mid-winter camping, our motor home developed a flat battery -- I wonder who left the lights on? Despite the attempts to assist by passers-by, I had to resort to calling R ACT and was required to pay for the call-out. In that moment, we decided we would become members. What's the most memorable time you've been helped by being part of the RACT? Upon retur ning from holiday, I discovered my vehicle could not be unlocked remotely or with the key, owing to a flat battery (no lights left on this time.) Of course, not being able to enter the vehicle, the bonnet couldn't be raised to access the battery. Watching the RACT man patiently remove bits of the vehicle to access the starter motor was an edification. Tell me about your current car. My current vehicle is a lightning-blue 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer. I have bought Mazda previously but this time my intentions were to be patriotic and buy a non-imported vehicle, only to discover after the purchase that Lancers are also fully-imported. What is your biggest motoring gripe? I have to say, the lack of commonsense among drivers to drive to the condition of the road. Also, the lack of using indicators to advise other road users of their intentions, rather than telling me what they have already done. They are the ones that annoy me most. After the family photos, what is your most precious material possession? I had to think hard about this question -- my passport, driving licence and my computer, which keeps me in touch with my friends and family spread throughout Australia and overseas, can all be replaced. So I guess I would have to say the carriage clock given to me by my 100 year-old aunt in England. What is your most memorable holiday moment? There are so many -- a sunset dinner on Savaii in Samoa with my friend Nancy, motorcycling on Rarotonga, the views in the Swiss Alps, standing beside a geyser in New Zealand, spending time with my brother in the UK, the temples in Thailand, having a visa problem with immigration in Singapore -- but if I had to choose one, it would be standing on the Athabasca Glacier in Canada with Nancy. Where do you plan to spend your next holiday? Having just returned from a hectic European tour, something a little more relaxing seems to be in order, possibly another cruise or a rail trip in Australia. Colin Benbow is a retired public servant who lives in Shearwater. Colin has been a member of the RACT since 2006. Photo and interviews Kelly Madden legislation will not change the attitude of the hoon driver and I can only suggest that the way to improve the situation is to make it a requirement that lear ner-drivers have a minimum number of lessons with a qualified driving instructor before sitting their driving test -- and then have a re-test after five years, followed by a re-test every ten years after that for the rest of their driving life. A licence is a privilege, not a right. Road r ules change, cars change, people change -- and even if such measures were introduced tomorrow, it would be 25 years before we could say that we have a driver-education program in place. It would be a brave government that introduced this, but someone needs to grasp the nettle and do something about it on a state, nay, a national level. We need to breed out the present generation, and this would be one way to do it. I still get 30-year drivers going through stop signs without stopping because 'there were no trains coming.' True! I also think there are some people who should never be allowed to get their hands on high-tech equipment such as cars and video-cameras, but how we weed them out is another problem. We need a concerted plan of attack, conducted by experts, to combat the road safety issue, and not just Band-aid measures by a few opportunists, if we are to see any significant reduction in road crashes. If the same number of people were dying of swine flu as are being maimed and killed on the roads, gover nments would be in a spin to do something about it. I also seem to remember that a discount on car insurance was offered to members of the Institute of Advanced Motorists in Britain. Now, there's incentive! Worth checking up on, eh? I like the old saying 'nice people make safer drivers.' There are lots of nice people still driving around Devonport, whom I taught to drive many years ago. All of the above is my ow n opinion, based on a lifetime of driving. Mark Seaton In our community 13 December 09 / January 10
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Feb March 2010