Traffic police officer of 21 years in Live Blog
9.20am: POOR decision making and lack of concentration are two of the biggest contributors to accidents in Central Queensland.
Senior Sergeant Ewan Findlater of the region's road policing unit said these two issues, along with lack of knowledge of road rules in certain situations, were part of the driving experience Central Queenslanders needed to work on.
"We are coming into a time of year where we see an increase in traffic flow and traffic accidents," he said.
Snr Sgt Findlater said the fatal five contributors to road accidents, including fatalities, were - fatigue, drink driving, seat belts, speeding and distractions.
Snr Sgt Findlater will be a panelist in a Live Blog session starting at 1.30pm today.
He said in the 27 years he had been in the Queensland Police Service, 21 of which have been working in the traffic branch, the worst part of the job was after attending the crash scenes.
"The worst thing about going to a bad accident is knocking on people's doors," Snr Sgt Findlater.
He said he was supportive of The Bulletin's Drive Safely online campaign. "Anything that can contribute to road safety and lower road traumas is going to be fully supported by us."
11.45AM: CAPRICORNIA police are out in force in the lead up to Christmas and the holiday season with a local traffic operation and participating in online Drive Safely campaign.
The head of Rockhampton's Traffic Unit, Senior Sergeant Ewan Findlater will join the Drive Safely campaign tomorrow in a Live Blog session from 1.30pm to answer readers questions about road rules.
Meanwhile, Operation Spearmint started today and will continue until February 1, 2014.
Acting Inspector Steve Hall stated that in 2013 there have been 28 fatal traffic crashes in the Capricornia District which resulted in the deaths of 30 persons.
"This is simply too many tragedies that could have been avoided," Acting Inspector Hall said.
"Some of the causal factors for these crashes involved drivers disobeying road rules and not driving to the road or traffic conditions at the time."
"During the operation, the public can expect police to be anywhere , anytime with a focus on the fatal five: speeding, fatigue, failing to wear seat belts, drink or drug driving and distractions like mobile phones or navigation systems," Acting Inspector Hall said.
Police are urging everyone to consider road safety their responsibility.
For more information about the Fatal Five & fact sheets go to www.police.qld.gov.au/News+and+Alerts/campaigns/fatalfive.htm
FRIDAY: HE'S the head of Rockhampton region's traffic division and he's seen more than the average Joe on Central Queensland roads.
Now, Senior Sergeant Ewan Findlater is joining the Drive Safely campaign by answering readers questions about road rules in a Live Blog session on Tuesday, starting at 1.30pm.
Meanwhile, with many school children finishing up for the year today, here are some Drive Safely travel tips courtesy of the Department of Main Roads and Transport, who is running its own driving campaign.
The department's campaign, Join the Drive, has a website, a Twitter account (@jointhedrive), a Facebook page and a Youtube account where people can submit items such as videos to promote why they want people to drive more safely on Queensland roads, drop pins on a map to show where support for the campaign is coming from (only three from Rockhampton as of 4.10pm today) plus many more features.
Have you got the green light to go?
Be prepared before wild weather strikes.
In a moment, Queensland weather can change unexpectedly creating dangerous situations. Don't embark on your journey unprepared. Be equipped with information and resources, so that you can travel safely wherever your journey takes you.
For up-to-date information on road closures, road works and road conditions visit the Traffic and Travel information website at 131940.qld.gov.au or call 131940.
On the road
Before you leave make sure you have planned your trip. Don't forget to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive.
Some tips to help you plan before you hit the road:
- Make sure your vehicle is safe to drive by maintaining your car regularly.
- Pack your car with enough water and food.
- Plan some car games for kids so they are entertained on the drive.
- Don't drink and drive, or drive hungover.
- Ensure you get enough rest so you don't drive tired.
- Share the drive by alternating who drives.
- Prepare an evacuation plan before you leave home and tailor it to suit your holiday destination.
- Carry a hard copy map incase your electronic devices run out of battery.
- Prepare yourself for different types of disasters that start from wild weather - visit qld.gov.au/emergency/dealing-disasters/disaster-types for more information.
Map the distance, travel times and stops you plan to take using the Guide to Queensland Roads. You can also use Transport and Main Roads' online interactive map to find points of interest. These GPS locations for points of interest can be downloaded and installed on your GPS device, they include:
- Motorist rest areas - there are over 450 throughout Queensland for you to stop and rest.
- Driver reviver - stop and take a break every 2 hours on long trips.
- Scenic stops - such as scenic look-outs where you can have a break and enjoy the view and visitor information centres.
- Public RV effluent dump sites for those who are caravanning.
On your journey
When setting out on the road follow these key points to ensure a safe journey:
- Don't drive tired - warning signs of tiredness include yawning, heavy eyes, day dreaming and delayed reaction times.
- For long journeys, plan your breaks ahead of time by knowing where driver reviver stops and rest areas are.
- Regularly check for traffic updates and changes to road conditions.
- Make sure all passengers have their seatbelt buckled-up.
- Know the speed limit and follow it-. Llocal limits may change when driving interstate.
- Follow the road rules and obey traffic signs and lane markings.
- Share the drive by alternating who drives.
- Use your headlights/fog lights if visibility is poor, or pull over for a break until the conditions improve.
Stay focused on the road - here are some tips to help you avoid becoming distracted while you drive:
- Turn off your mobile phone before you get in your car - that way you won't be tempted to answer your phone.
- If you can't avoid having your mobile phone on, install a hands free kit - that way you can drive and talk on your phone more safely, but don't forget to keep concentrating on driving.
- If you have children with you in the backseat make sure they are securely restrained and have plenty of things to keep them occupied for the duration of the trip:
- have a selection of toys or pencils and paper to play with or books to read
- play games [see our checklist]
- play their favourite music
- provide a range of healthy snacks and drinks (avoid milk-based products if your child is prone to car sickness).
Plan regular stops to beat fatigue and let the kids burn some energy (at least a 15 minute break every 2 hours is recommended). If you do need to attend to your children during the trip, pull over and stop the vehicle before sorting out the situation.
If you're listening to CDs choose your music before you start your trip. If you're listening to the radio make sure the stations are tuned in before you set off so you aren't searching for a station while you're driving. If you need to change the music, stop your vehicle before you start playing with the buttons.
Driving in wet conditions
Water on the road can increase the danger to your journey, so follow these key driving tips:
- Ensure you have good tyre tread.
- Slow down.
- Double your distance between you and the car in front. This allows for greater reaction and braking time.
- Postpone your trip on unsealed roads.
- Check road conditions on the 13 19 40 website, with local police or RACQ.
- Turn on your lights.
- Know your road flooding signage and follow the direction of the signs
- Never drive on flooded roads. Even in a small amount of water the current can pick up your car and sweep you away.
Remember, if it's flooded, forget it!
Driving around bushfires
The bushfire season in Queensland generally occurs between late July and February. To help stay safe on the road around bushfires:
- always avoid travelling in areas where bushfires are burning - driving during a bushfire is a last resort
- follow advice given by police or fire-fighters if roads are closed
- stay tuned to local radio for updates on fire conditions in your area.
If you are caught in the path of a bushfire:
- Turn around and drive to safety - don't attempt to drive through.
- notify the Fire Brigade of your location by phoning Triple Zero (000) if time permits
- look for your closest neighbourhood safer place [http://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/neighbourhood-safer-places.html]
- turn on your headlights and hazard lights, as thick smoke may make visibility difficult on the road and leave the engine running so the headlights don't flatten the battery
- close all air vents and windows.
Tune into warnings
- Visit qldalert.com for Queensland Police Service, Queensland SES, power and water, public transport and more real-time updates.
- Read local emergency alerts on the Queensland Government Disaster Management page at disaster.qld.gov.au.
- Find weather forecasts and warnings at the Bureau of Meteorology site by visiting bom.gov.au/qld
Find information on fire bans and bushfire advice messages from Queensland Fire and Rescue at fire.qld.gov.au.