Your views Aug/Sep 2021
Our readers share their thoughts on rest stops, roundabouts, road trauma, driver education, plus more.
Rest at risk
Judith-Anne Tahir, Deloraine
The signs on the Bass Highway and other roads give motorists the safety message: ‘Rest and survive the drive’. The signs really resonate with us all, knowing full well by the accident statistics that fatigue is a big contributing factor. But where in Tasmania precisely are motorists able to pull out of the high-speed, frenetic road race that unfortunately is our lot when travelling major roads here? Farmers’ gateways seem to be the only option, which you’ll all agree is a most unsuitable choice.
On the mainland, highways have huge signs first to advise motorists of approaching rest bays – giving distances to the next one – then huge signs prior to the actual rest bays themselves. The bays are large enough in most cases to give rest to semi-trailers as well as other vehicles. These bays are quite frequent along all major highways.
When is something actually going to be done in Tasmania? We’ve been asking this question since moving here from the mainland in 2002.
A roundabout way
Daphne Longman, Dilston
In your April/May issue you gave information on roundabouts. However, this does not get through to enough people and there needs to be more education. They are meant to make traffic flow and not stop, just slow.
Launceston has acquired large and small roundabouts in the last couple of years. However, we have drivers who have no idea how to use them. Especially frustrating is the single-lane one on the northern side of the Tamar Street bridge.
People approach this roundabout from both north and south at excessive speeds – intimidating young and old drivers who do not have confidence in their skills. We end up with a very long queue. We wait and we wait, getting more frustrated.
Let survivors speak
John Hunter, Sandy Bay
Road safety is of primary concern. To address this, public awareness raising and education is by far the best strategy. For every death on the roads there are four others who are subjected to severe pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. We have concentrated far too much on road death statistics and not nearly enough on the agony and despair of these survivors. A long-term campaign targeting this still-living group will have much more impact.
Steve Willett, Spring Beach
The very informative police stats that you ran in the last issue – among them 2070 mobile phone offenders – indicate that inattention is a real problem. However, we are all missing the ‘elephant in the room’ regarding driver inattention, and that is those very attractive, big (and getting bigger) touch screens and buttons on the car dashboards. Lots of different information and entertainment available at the touch of the fingertip; plenty of time for distraction and inattention, instead of concentrating on pointing the vehicle in the right direction and at the appropriate speed, as well as avoiding contact with other vehicles, pedestrians and/or wildlife.
Mayday for Maydena
Melissa King, Glenorchy
I regularly travel the roads to and from Maydena. The trip from Westerway to Maydena is scary enough, the roads are narrow and winding. In winter, sections remain wet all day. I have lost count of the number of times I have nearly been wiped out by people cutting corners. If you can't see what is coming, why would you do it? Caravans, cars and cars towing trailers are just as bad, but the majority seem to be big 4WDs and cars laden with mountain bikes. Please stay on your side of the road.
Breaking bad habits
Werner Knuepfer, Kaotta
To make our roads safer we need high-standard driver education, affordable defensive driving lessons for everyone and government-run road safety campaigns with emphasis on courtesy and kindness. If our teenagers get driving education mainly from parents, they will inherit all the bad habits of their old folk as well. So, let’s make sure that our children become way better drivers than we are. This cannot be achieved with draconian speeding fines and limiting car speeds.
Questions for our car medic
Sometimes when I’m driving my steering wheel starts shuddering. What does this mean? Richard Evans, Richmond
If you’re feeling a wobble or vibration through the steering wheel, at speed, it’s most likely being caused by tyre imbalance. As you can imagine, due to inconsistencies during tyre and wheel manufacturing, wheels and tyres are not perfectly symmetrical and therefore not always perfectly balanced. When tyres are fitted to rims, a balancing procedure is carried out by adding small lead weights to the edge of the rim. This means that the wheels and tyre won’t produce any vibrations when turning at speed. As your tyres wear they will become imbalanced again, therefore it’s important to have tyres rotated (front tyres to the rear of the car, rear tyres to the front) and balanced during regular vehicle services.
Grant Page, Roadside Patrol