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Guest post: Road safety and speed limits

Road image. Picture courtesy of Google

Road Safety and Speed Limits Whether you’re just learning to drive or you have some experience under your belt, understanding the road safety rules and speed limits in Queensland is essential to safe travel. 48 people lost their lives in speed-related accidents in Queensland in 2011, making up just over 17 percent of the total road fatalities for the year. If injuries are taken into account, over 1,000 people lose their lives or are injured as a result of speeding every year. This is why learning to drive safely and staying within speed limits is absolutely essential.

Speeding Limits in Queensland Generally speaking, the speed limit in built-up areas in Queensland is 50 km/h, but this may be lower depending on how potentially dangerous the road is. If it is different, it will be clearly signposted, so if there is no speed limit you should assume 50 km/h. On roads between suburbs or towns, the limit is likely to be 60 km/h or higher. This could be up to 110 km/h, but will always be signposted.

School Zones In school zones, the speed limits are reduced at specific times during the day – ordinarily from 7am to 9am and 2pm to 4pm. These will be clearly signposted. The information below is just a general guide, as mentioned above the speed limit could differ depending on the relative risks of the road.

  • On 50, 60 or 70 km/h roads, the limit drops to 40 km/h.
  • On 80 km/h roads, the limit drops to 60 km/h.
  • For 90 or 100 km/h roads, the school-time limit is either 60 or 80 km/h. This is determined on a road-by-road basis.
  • The limit is reduced to 80 km/h on any 110 km/h roads.

The Speed/Risk Relationship Data from the Centre for Automotive Research at the University of Adelaide shows that there is a clear relationship between the speed at which you drive and your level of risk on the road. Generally speaking, your risk of an accident roughly doubles with every 5km/h faster you drive between 60 and 75km/h. So driving at 65 is twice as dangerous as driving at 60, and driving at 70 is twice as dangerous as that. You’re over 10 times as likely to have an accident driving at 75 km/h than you are at 60, and at 85km/h your risk is over 50 times greater than at 60.

L-Plates and P-Plates In 2007, the government changed the licensing requirements for drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 because they’re twice as likely to be involved in fatal crashes as older drivers. When you have a Learner License you must display an L-plate on your vehicle at all times. After you pass your practical driving test, you can upgrade to a P1 licence, and you receive a red P-plate. When you advance to a P2 licence (after a year on a P1 licence) you have to pass a hazard perception test, and you receive a green P-plate.

Tips for Safe Driving Before you head out on the road, you should remember some important tips for safe driving. Check the Suncorp site for more tips!

  • Obey the speed limit. As covered earlier – speed limits are there for a reason. Suncorp-funded research revealed that 18 percent of drivers caught by speed cameras in Queensland didn’t even realise they were speeding.
  • Leave plenty of distance between yourself cars in front of you.  Generally speaking, staying three seconds behind the car in front of you gives you plenty of time to react in the case of sudden braking. Use a stationary object beside the road to work out how close you are.
  • Always check your mirrors before manoeuvring. Remember your mirrors before you turn, change lanes or perform any sort of manoeuvre.  
  • Merge carefully. When a single lane is merging into another, drivers in the new lane already have the right of way. If two lanes are merging into the same lane, any drivers in front of you have right of way.
  • Keep kids in the back. The airbags in the front of cars aren’t designed for children, so keep them in the back and stay safe!

Conclusion Drive according to the speed limit and remain aware of potential risks to stay safe on the road. If you leave adequate space between yourself and other vehicles and don’t drive too fast, your chances of an accident reduce dramatically. Safety is paramount, so don’t let your standards slip!

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