Safe driving tips if expanded to cover all aspects of four wheel motoring would fill more than half a dozen books which is a little beyond the scope of an article. It’s also unlikely that the drivers in most need of safe driving tips would bother to buy such a book. After all they know the basics and what more is there to be concerned with? Sorry guys but it’s true!
Lets examine then just one crucial aspect of driving skills, that of the importance of Speed Limits and how you go about adhering to them even when you might not be aware of their existence or the relevant speed pertaining.
This article is written from an Irish perspective or more accurately from that of an Irish Driver attempting to alert the visiting Tourist and Learner Driver as to the dangers of life on the road in Australia.
In Ireland and Britain driving takes place on the left which means that most drivers visiting from Europe or North America could need a little time to acclimatize.
Road construction and layout is not as advanced in Australia as elsewhere although the main road network has improved substantially in the recent past.
The same cannot be said for the rural road network in Australia and this is where the greatest difficulties with speed limits will be encountered by all inexperienced and Tourist Drivers alike.
Rural roads are frequently overgrown with hedges and trees that have not been cut back thus hiding the rather infrequent Speed Limit signs. Landowners or householders in the country areas are rather lax in their appreciation of passing traffic and speed limit signs where they exist are frequently completely invisible.
SPEED LIMITS GO METRIC
Ireland recently underwent a change to Metric Speed Limits and during this transition, which brings them in line with Europe but not the U.K, certain previously long established speed parameters were altered.
The maximum speed now on an Irish rural or secondary road is 80 KPH which translates to 50 MPH; down by 10MPH which is a substantial and long overdue reduction. Even at 80 KPH one would be exceeding the safety threshold on most stretches of Irish rural road.
In contrast, on Motorways in Ireland the new metric speed limit of 120K KPH is clearly visible as you would expect, although most drivers would exhibit a devil may care attitude. Speed limits are there for a reason but do not indicate whether it is safe to drive at that speed. You as the Driver have to use your skill to assess what speed you personally can drive at in any given situation.
THE OVERTAKING GAME.
When giving Tuition to new
Learner Drivers we always point out that if you are substantially below the speed limit at any time whether this speed is safe or not, you will be overtaken by reckless and poor drivers. It’s essential to be aware of vehicles approaching from behind when you are at or below the speed limit and try to assess by the body language of the driver whether they are preparing to overtake you.
You can expect to be overtaken by approximately 70 per cent of traffic following you if you are driving within the law or are exactly at the speed limit. This observation also applies to Dual Carriageways particularly, which carry a speed limit of 100 KPH which is about 2MPH more than the previous Imperial speed limit of 60MPH.
On an Irish rural road you can almost guarantee to be overtaken if you are adhering to the 60KPH speed limit (40MPH) which you will encounter as you approach civilisation, particularly if the road ahead is straight! Little or no consideration will be given to the approaching built up area speed limit of 50KPH (30MPH) and the inherent dangers of finding something in your path that requires emergency action.
Safe Driving Tips should be on the driving school in sydney curriculum for all Irish schools from primary level upwards. If this was implemented the statistics of Pedestrian and Young Driver fatalities would see a significant improvement in time. It is the responsibility of all drivers to set an easily recognisable standard and example to all other road users particularly the young.