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Journeys : Oct Nov 2010
October / November 2010 13 In our community continually dr iving on the limit, mistakenly thinking they can, because a sign says so. Motorists have stated that the signs are stupid because they don’t tell you what the speed limit is. Many mature-aged drivers may recall the old de-restriction signs that were located on the outskirts of many rural tow ns across the countr y. The signs meant that you were leaving the built-up area, and that the default rural speed limit now applied. The old de-restriction signs have exactly the same meaning as the current End Limit signs. So if you drive past an End Limit sign while entering a rural area, the default rural limit of 100km/h applies. How is that confusing? Finally, remember the slogan for when the urban default limit changed from 60km/h to 50km/h? ‘If there is no sign, the limit is 50km/h.’ The same applies for the rural default limit: ‘If there is no sign (or posted speed limit in this case), the limit is 100km/h.’ I don’t want to sound like a know-it-all, but everyone will agree that road safety is very important, and that knowing the road rules is a crucial part of safe driving. Taking the time to revise the road laws ever y once in a while is always beneficial. Andrew Newton Norwood More on signs The debate about speed signs has yet to mention another problem. Our speed signs are being used to do two quite different jobs, without disting uishing between them. We need signs to tell us when the speed limit changes (as we approach a town, for example). We also need signs to remind us of a speed limit, such as at intervals along busy arterial roads in cities, especially near side roads where entering traffic needs to be informed of the prevailing limit on the road they have just entered. But the reminder signs need to be different from the change signs. Perhaps they could be smaller (the UK does it this way and it is very effective). I find the current system a distraction. Every time I approach a full-size reminder sign I find myself wonder ing what the limit was before reaching the sign. This takes some of my attention away from the road and also serves to undermine any familiarity that would other wise develop regarding the speed limit in force along that road. Doug Nichols South Hobart Praise for Drive Smart course Ican’t resist promoting a fantastic little driv ing course that I completed just today. Conducted over several Saturday mornings, it involves a mix of expert input, lively discussion, e xcellent films and best of all, actual driving experience where you sit with instructors in their cars while they demonstrate what they preach. On the last day, you get to drive your own car with your personal instr uctor alongside who coaches you as necessar y on driving skills covered in the course, as well as any aspects you par ticularly request (I asked for practice in braking and corner ing). Participants in my course ranged from newly-licensed to seasoned dr ivers. The instr uctors were all highly experienced, friendly and keen to help. We had a really good time in the classroom and in cars and I can only think that if more motorists did this course we’d have far fewer letters to the editor bemoaning poor driving habits. Amazingly, it is very inexpensive. As a result of this course, I understand (and love) my car and being a safe and considerate dr iver more then ever! The course is called ‘Drive Smart!’ and is run by the Australian Institute of Advanced Motorists (Tasmania) Inc. My best tip is – go for it. There’s even a skid pan session still to come – wow! Carol Emden Claremont Car crashes are no fun There has been a lot of talk on how to reduce the roll toll, a lot of money spent on research, upgrading the safety of motor vehicles, improvement of roads and looking at what factors cause the horrific deaths on our roads. Inattention has been identified as a major factor of death and disabilities in motor accidents as been highlighted by the opinions of your readers. So, how does one major insurance company make fun of the fact that if you Twitter, read a map, dry your hair or even move your seat while driving, you could have an accident? Instead of the car nage that these crashes normally cause to the drivers, passengers and pedestrians, they portray them smiling and laughing in the street after their accident because they have insurance. Instead of the true results of car crashes, there’s just a bunch of happy drivers, singing, smiling and excusing their inattention as a fun part of life. This car insurer seems to have an agenda of sucking-in people who have never been involved in a real motor vehicle accident. Waine Whitbread Wilmot Monorail over the Derwent? After reading Street Smar t on ‘should Tasmania have a passenger train service’, I think we should have a monorail from the outer suburbs of Hobart to the city. It should include the Eastern Shore – a monorail could go over the Tasman Bridge and not interrupt the flow of traffic. Marlene Kelly Travelling on Carol Emden wins a $50 travel voucher for her letter on the Drive Smart course. We welcome letters on any motoring or travel- related topic. Keep them brief – we reserve the right to edit. Contact us by post, fax or email and please include your postal address.
Aug Sep 2010