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Journeys : Feb March 2012
On the edge As motorists we all like to think that we’ ll never suffer the inconvenience of a flat tyre or a breakdown – but, it happens. So, do you know what to do in a breakdow n situation? A recent study undertaken by the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine has concluded that risks exist when staying in the vehicle or remaining near the vehicle. The study relates to emergency lanes – we have few of them in Tasmania but that makes the results of the study even more important, as we pull over onto gravel or grass verges. In Australia in the past 10 years, there have been 29 deaths in emergency lanes, with another 12 deaths still under investigation. Most deceased persons were aged between 20 and 49 years and were predominately male. Heavy trucks were the most common counterpart vehicle, while passenger cars were the most common vehicle of the deceased. Some of the deceased were sitting inside their vehicles, others were near the vehicle pr ior to impact. Of the 29 case summaries that were used in the study, probably the most appropriate example for Tasmanian conditions is that of a vehicle parked off the bitumen, on a grass verge with the left hand indicator activated. The occupants were retrieving an item from the boot and while standing behind the stationar y vehicle, were str uck from behind by another vehicle. But it’s not just breakdow n situations that put us at risk. How many times do you see a vehicle parked on the side of a road for all manner of reasons? Answering a phone call, attending to a child, retrieving an item from somewhere in the vehicle – it’s all quite innocent stuff and we’ve probably all done it at some time, but it can lead to a fatality. We can avoid placing ourselves at unnecessary risk – is it imperative that you answer that phone call? Can attending to a child’s needs or finding that item wait until you reach a safe area like a car park or quiet street? If your vehicle does break dow n or you’re involved in an accident: • Move to the left as far as possible, pull into the emergency lane or onto the nature strip • Switch on your hazard and parking lights and stay well away from traffic lanes • Only if safe to do so, get out of the vehicle and move well off the road, preferably behind a guard rail • Never stand in between or beside vehicles close to moving traffic • Never tr y to cross a major road on foot • If you have no other choice but to wait in your vehicle, always wear your seatbelt The above tips are intended as a g uide only. Other precaution s may be necessary depending on the circumstances RACT goes to uni This year we’ll have a presence during the UTAS orientation program in Februar y, when RACT staff will have a Roadside van and information booth to bring our road safety message to students. R ACT Business Development Manager Pauline L aw says that international students in particular often need extra details and assistance on driving in Tasmania. “By being there during orientation, we can pass on helpful advice on Tasmanian driv ing and road safety issues, as well as giving students practical information on insurance,” she says. “Our patrol staff can also explain the facilities and capabilities of an R ACT Roadside van – people are always surprised at the array of specialised equipment that’s tucked away inside.” We’ll be there at the Sandy Bay campus from 12.30-2 pm on 23 and 24 February – callin,pickupaninfokitandsayhi! We have a copy to give away. To enter, write your contact details on the back of an envelope and mail to Kayaking, RACT Marketing, GPO Box 2271, Hobart 7000. Entries close on 5 March. $39.95 from The Tasmanian Map Centre, 100 Elizabeth Street, Hobart A ndrew Gregory’s detailed and beautifully-illustrated book is a valuable guide to sea kayaking (not white-water kayaking) in all regions of Australia. Featuring excellent maps, practical trip suggestions, notes on f lora and fauna, tips on gear and brilliant photographs, this book w ill stir novices and experts alike into grabbing a paddle, pulling on a spray-deck and getting out there. Life on the move February / March 2012 21
Apr May 2012