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Police bust 10 common driving myths

POLICE are putting an end to the urban myths spreading around the region like wildfire surrounding common traffic laws and regulations.

Bundaberg Sergeant Marty Arnold has busted 10 "myths" that are currently circulating on topics such as seatbelts, roadworks speed limits, restraining loads and mobile phones.

"There's quite a lot of people who don't have a good understanding of the law, or who are guessing," he said.

"There is a lot of misinformation out there."

Sgt Arnold said he hoped clarification of these rules would save people's lives - and money.

"We want to make sure they don't become unwitting victims of an infringement notice," he said.

Sgt Arnold said drivers were getting far too complacent.

"People think crashes are only caused by hoons, drink drivers and young people," he said.

"But they are mostly caused by ordinary people making silly mistakes."

1. ROADWORKS SPEED LIMITS

Road works speed limits only apply if workers are present. INCORRECT.

When the signs are displayed the relevant speed limit is in force.

This may be due to other factors such as loose gravel, unmarked lines or changes in the road configuration.

It's not okay to speed through a road works zone and fines in excess of $1,000 apply.

2. SEATBELTS

It's okay to wear my seatbelt under my shoulder because it hurts my neck. INCORRECT.

A seatbelt must be worn and fitted correctly.

The sash that goes across your chest is designed to stop your body moving forward in the event of a crash.

A seatbelt worn under your arm will not prevent this and is a $341 fine.

3. TRAILER SHACKLES

You must have a new special kind of chain shackle for your trailer. INCORRECT.

This is a false rumour that was started on Facebook.

Conventional D shackles are okay as long as the shackle itself is suitable to prevent complete trailer detachment should your trailer come off its tow ball.

Most auto stores or retailers will be able to tell you what load rating the shackle is rated for.

4. RESTRAINING LOADS

I don't have to secure my load. INCORRECT.

The legislation states a load must be secured in a reasonable fashion so common sense would apply.

If you have many light items in your trailer, ute or even boats then a cargo net style cover or tarp would be a commons sense approach.

Heavier loads must be secured with a method suitable for the weight of the load.

It is recommended that ratchet straps or chains be used for heavier loads.

5. FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE

Have I left enough distance from the vehicle in front.

Tailgating is a common cause of crashes.

No matter how experienced a driver you are the laws of physics always win.

At 60kph your car takes a minimum of 30m to stop and at 100kph it's 70m.

If a car brakes suddenly in front or an obstacle appears in front unless you have left the above distance a collision would be unavoidable.

Remember the two second rule. A rough guide is one car length of space for every 10kph of speed.

6. MOBILE PHONES

It's okay to use my phones functions as long as I don't make a call. INCORRECT.

Touching or picking up a phone in any manner while on the road is an offence. This includes music, texting, social media or using your phone as a GPS.

If you want to use your phone pull over to the side of the road.

You must be off to the side of the road and parked.

Using your phone at traffic lights or while stopped on the road itself is also an offence.

It's not worth risking someone's life because you have an unhealthy need to always be on your phone or social media.

7. CRASHES

In there Bundaberg district alone, there is at least one serious crash a day.

No they aren't always young drivers, drunk drivers in fact the majority of crashes are caused by everyday decent people who just get lazy or take risks with their driving.

Small things like indicating or more serious things like speeding because you're late or making risky overtaking manoeuvres can have tragic consequences.

8. REVENUE RAISING OR ROAD SAFETY?

This is a contentious issue and police often get criticized for revenue raising.

There is clear evidence that crashes are caused by drivers who do the wrong thing on the roads.

The one thing that keeps a large portion of drivers doing the right thing is fear of fines and loss of their license through demerit points.

It's simple if you have this revenue raising view you're entitled to your opinion no matter how wrong I think it is.

The contribution of your hard earned money is voluntary, do the right thing and you won't have to contribute.

9. SPEEDING

I'm running late so it's okay to speed a bit. INCORRECT.

There is no such thing as safe speeding.

Every 5km over the speed limit you do adds 5m on your stopping distance and increases the force of the impact should there be a crash.

Speeding won't change the fact you are late and will only save you in most cases a minute but could cost you $1000 or even someone's life.

10. FATIGUE

I'm tired but I can make it home. INCORRECT.

This high risk gamble may work sometimes but one day it will go bad for you or the poor family coming the other way.

Fatigued drivers are just as dangerous as drink drivers and are often responsible for head-on collisions after having drifted onto the wrong side of the road.

Energy drinks and coffee are only a temporary solution and often cause extreme fatigue when the caffeine affects wear off.

Restlessness, yawning or heavy eyes are a danger sign that your body is telling you "I am about to go to sleep".

Pull over and rest, change drivers fatigue is a major killer on the roads.

Topics:  driving editors picks traffic crashes



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