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DRIVE ARRIVE SAFELY
Sunraysia Daily Saturday, April 1, 2017
Stay alert behind the wheel
COMPLACENCY on country roads can lead
to tragic consequences.
That’s the message from New South Wales
Roads and Maritime Services is keen to get
out to motorists ahead of the Easter school
Just because you live in the country doesn’t
mean you are somehow safer than other driv-
ers, it warns.
“There’s a growing amount of research
showing that country drivers can take big
risks on their local roads,” an RMS spokes-
“In NSW, a high number of fatal crashes
involve country drivers driving on country
roads. The message is that all of us need to
stay alert to the road conditions and monitor
Often when people travel they can find
themselves in unfamiliar territory and on
roads they do not know.
RMS says if drivers follow the following
advice, they should maintain control and mi-
nimise the risk of having an accident.
Know your limits
“Just because a road is signposted as a 100
km/h zone doesn’t mean you have to drive
that fast,” the RMS says.
“Regulate your speed according to the
“Road conditions can change quickly in the
country. Even if you’ve driven on a road hun-
dreds of times, you never really know what’s
going to be around the next bend.”
Stay on the road
“If you do make a misjudgment and hit the
soft edges of a country road, it’s important
not to overreact,” the RMS says.
“Don’t jerk the wheel or brake heavily.
“Take your foot off the accelerator to slow
down and then ease your wheels back onto
the road while holding the steering wheel
Dirt roads can also become treacherously
slippery in the wet. The advice here is to slow
down and allow a longer stopping distance.
The local wildlife
“Hitting an animal becomes a much great-
er prospect at dusk and in the evening,” the
“Remember that some animals become
hypnotised by the glare of your lights.
“If you do spot an animal in your path you
should brake, flash your lights and hit the
horn – don’t swerve.”
Swerving to miss an animal at reasonable
speed is a recipe for rolling your car.
Sunset, night, rain
Always turn on your lights when conditions
affect your capacity to see the road and sur-
This usually happens around sunset and sun-
rise, at night or in rain or fog.
“Slow down and keep an eye out for other
vehicles ahead of you or at intersections,”
the RMS says.
“If an oncoming driver dazzles you with
their high beam, slow down, lower your gaze
to the road immediately ahead and use the
road markings to keep your bearings.”
Driving in the country requires concentra-
tion and tired drivers crash on country roads.
“Nearly 80 per cent of fatalities occur on
NSW country roads. Research shows that
driving between 10pm and 6am is associat-
ed with four times the risk of a fatigue crash
than at other times during the day.”
The message here is avoid driving at times
when you would normally be asleep, take
regular breaks and always monitor the early
warning signs of driver fatigue.
Even if you’ve driven on a road hundreds of times, road conditions can change
quickly in the country.
• POOR concentration
• TIRED or sore eyes
• SLOW reactions
Signs of fatigue behind the wheel
• FEELING irritable
• MAKING fewer and larger steering
• MISSING road signs
• HAVING difficulty staying in the lane.
When you recognise these signs, the
only thing to do is pull over and rest.
Explore Victoria’s Alpine region
HIT the road and head for the hills these school
holidays – the Victorian High Country, that is.
It is a region rich with gourmet delights,
family run wineries and non-stop adrenaline
The Visit Victoria website contains a fan-
tastic itinerary taking in the best of the Great
Alpine Road, so you can explore at your own
pace, perhaps over a couple of days.
The 339km self-guided drive begins in Wan-
garatta and ends in Metung, on the beautiful
The road explores Victoria’s diverse land-
scapes, from “lofty mountain ranges, down
plunging valleys, into lush forests, and past
rolling vineyards along the way to the spar-
kling waterway on Gippsland’s coast”.
Leg 1: Wangaratta to Bright (76km,
about 1 hour)
THE Great Alpine Road starts in Wangaratta,
with its beautiful gardens, period homes and
love of music.
Waste no time getting acquainted with
the fine wine and local produce in the valleys
along this northern leg of the Great Alpine
Road, also characterised by spectacular scen-
ery and crisp mountain air.
At Milawa call in at the famed Brown Broth-
ers Epicurean Centre and Cellar Door, and
sample your way through the Milawa Cheese
Factory. Meet the bold young winemakers
who have poured new life into historic Ruth-
erglen, famous for its muscats and fortifieds.
Detour to Beechworth, a village built on the
wealth of the gold rush of the 1800s. Explore
the historic honey granite buildings, including
the courthouse where bushranger Ned Kelly’s
final trial began.
Grab a bite to eat and travel onwards to Mt
Buffalo National Park and its unique rock
Hit the road these school holidays and head for the hills – the stunning
Victorian High Country, that is. Enjoy bushwalking at Razorback in
Victoria’s High Country. Picture:
Mark Watson/Visit Victoria
FREE TYRE CHECK
these school Holidays
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