A common occurance each year during snow season is the wrath of the speed camera.
Each year countless people die on our roads or risk serious injury by taking unnecessary risks while travelling to their destination.
The yearly pilgrimage to Mt Buller in Victoria is a key example of the risks involved in driving. The three hour journey is a fairly simply one, but with high traffic loads on roads that are normally unused, people begin making stupid mistakes when overtaking and driving in dicey conditions.
You must remember that overtaking is no light-hearted task. Overtaking requires commitment and forethought. One of the major traits of overtaking accidents and fatalities are lack of room and underestimating the vehicle’s power when it’s loaded with passengers and luggage.
When your vehicle is loaded with luggage and passengers, its performance dramatically decreases – even for high-powered vehicles. You need to allow extra room to perform an overtake with a full load of passengers and luggage.
If you are about to overtake, follow these key steps to ensure a safe overtake manouver:
- Wait until a long stretch of flat, open road.
- Fall back from the vehicle in front and check that there is no traffic approaching.
- If there is traffic in the distance, either hold off or wait until there is a suitable gap for an overtake.
- If you’re in a vehicle with an automatic gearbox, gradually apply throttle until your car is accelerating at it’s maximum capacity (high revs).
- If you’re in a vehicle with a manual gearbox, drop back to a suitable gear, allowing for enough acceleration before a gear change.
- Once you have suitable sped up, begin indicating and proceed to overtake.
- Remain committed to the overtake and safely pull back into the correct lane while indicating.
If the unimaginable happens and you suddenly need to pull back into your lane, DO NOT panic. Immediately ease off the accelerator and begin braking and merge back into the space behind the vehicle you had just attempted to overtake. Don’t hope and pray that your car will be able to complete an overtake if a vehicle is approaching.
Once you have overtaking down pat, you need to keep a vigilant eye on your speedometer. Victoria has the strictest road laws in the country and breaking them will put an end to your snow holiday in no time.
Police police the roads in marked and unmarked police vehicles. In addition to uniformed police, private mobile speed cameras operate on the roadside.
While there is no conclusive evidence that speed cameras save lives (in fact, the road toll has sharply risen this year despite the additional speed cameras), you’re better off sticking to the speed limit to avoid penalties.
One thing that does save lives is concentration and keeping an eye on the road. Predict what other drivers are going to do and leave ample braking room in the event you need to stop in an emergency.
It’s not worth risking your life this snow season to simply arrive to the entry gates 10 minutes before everyone else. Take your time and relax. That way everyone has a safe trip and makes it home safe and sound.