Stay safe these school holidays

School holidays in our great state of Queensland can have some unfortunate side effects, in particular for road users. Increased traffic on our roads as families are out and about exploring can be enough on its own to increase congestion and driver frustration at peak times. Anyone who has been in the car with children recently would also be keenly aware that driver distraction is also likely to be on the increase during this time.

Here are some general tips and reminders for all road users to hopefully make this school holidays incident free for you and your family!

Child seat safety checks

Many of us may be under the assumption that our children’s car seats and restraints  are installed correctly, however this may not be the case. Why not utilise some of the community resources available to have your car checked for peace of mind!

Allow extra travel time

One great way to help avoid the frustration and stress of being stuck in traffic and rushing against the clock is to allow an extra 10 or 15 minutes in addition to your expected travel time, or check out your intended travel route on Google Maps before you leave to see any congestion that can be avoided by choosing an alternative route.

Look out for trucks

Some of us may not be totally aware of the extra space a heavy transport vehicle actually requires to manoeuvre safely on the roads and misinterpret their actions as aggressive or greedy… Although there are rogue drivers in all vehicle types, here are some tips to keep in mind when sharing the road with a truck as suggested by RACQ[1]:

  • Be aware of the comparison in size, mass and momentum between your one-tonne car and a 40-tonne heavy transport.
  • Recognise that heavy vehicles accelerate slowly. Try to be patient while the truck driver moves through 10 or more gears.
  • Don’t tailgate. Apart from breaching the traffic regulations and being dangerous, tailgating is counter-productive to overtaking and your windscreen and paintwork will last longer by avoiding stones that are thrown up by truck wheels.
  • Allow sufficient time to overtake. Heavy vehicles travelling close to the speed limit will take considerable time to pass, especially road trains.
  • Never overtake a heavy vehicle on a curve or crest. Be patient and wait for a suitable stretch of road. Most highways provide strategic overtaking lanes.
  • After overtaking a heavy vehicle, maintain your pre-overtaking speed. It is frustrating for drivers of heavy vehicles when the motorists who overtake them slow down, forcing them to brake and lose momentum.
  • Give way to buses when they are pulling out from bus stops on roads zoned at 70 km/h or less. Buses are required to display a sign on the rear of the bus to remind motorists of this rule.
  • Allow heavy vehicles plenty of braking space as they need more stopping space than cars. Do not cut in front of them when they are braking, for example, at traffic signals.
  • Keep an eye out for indicators. When a heavy vehicle is turning across your path, keep back from the intersection as the truck may require more space to make the turn.
  • Be especially alert when encountering vehicles with extra wide loads under police or pilot vehicle escort. Strict regulations apply to the carriage of these loads to ensure motorists are not unduly inconvenienced or placed at risk. Do your part, stay well clear of the vehicles and obey all signage and escort directions.

Courteous merging on highways

It may seem like common sense, but don’t we all know it when a merging lane is approaching – it seems like all traffic comes to a standstill! An effective strategy to deal with vehicles merging onto a motorway is to employ the ‘zipper rule’. This describes the routine of a one for one approach. Both streams of traffic allow one car to enter, then one car to continue, then one car to enter, and one car to continue and so on. If vehicles are also merging at the same or similar speed as the continuing traffic, this will all help to ensure the merging traffic only has a minimal impact on the overall motorway. Rather than the chaos that can ensue when vehicles are repeatedly cutting each other off across multiple lanes.

We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable school holiday period, particularly for those travelling on the roads over the next few weeks.

Get in touch with us

To request information about our available legal services, or to discuss your personal circumstances with one of our experienced lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact the Turner Freeman Lawyers Compensation Team on (07) 3025 9000.

Our Queensland offices are in Brisbane, Logan, North Lakes, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns.