25 June, 2022
Locals urged to drive to conditions
WITH foggy conditions returning to the region and cooler, drier winter months increasing the likelihood of wildlife coming close to the road or jumping in front of vehicles, motorists are being warned to drive to the conditions.
Police are urging motorists to turn on headlights or fog lights when driving in foggy conditions and stress overtaking is not an option when fog is present.
Police say every day is different, and motorists should be aware of changing road conditions, and adjust their speed and driving behaviour accordingly.
Acting Inspector Kyell Palmer of the Tablelands Patrol Group said every driver was responsible for making good decisions behind the wheel.
“There are things we can do every day to ensure our travels on the road are safe for us and other road users,” Inspector Palmer said.
“This can include driving to the weather and road conditions and travelling at the posted speed limit.”
Acting Inspector Palmer said that with the cooler nights and warmer days at this time of year, fog was often present in low lying areas.
“Motorists should ensure their vehicle is visible to others both ahead and behind by using low-beam headlights,” he said.
“Having your lights on allows you to be seen from the front and rear, as your taillights will also be on.
“Use fog lights if you have them, but never use your high beam lights.
The beam reflects off the fog and comes back at you, making driving difficult.
“Do not drive with your parker lights on, as they are not reflective enough.”
An Atherton motorist told The Express he was nearly part of a head-on collision when a yellow sedan overtook him during heavy fog near Ravenshoe recently.
"I saw him come behind me, then next minute he was beside me and there was a car coming so I hit the anchors and had to lock up my wheels so he could get past and back in – it was a close call and just a stupid thing to do when there is thick fog,” he said.
Long-time panel and paint business owner Paul Jerome said it was vital drivers were cautious and focused, especially at night when animal strikes were more likely.
“You can have cattle on the road, and then there’s pigs which don’t give at all and cause a lot of damage,” he said.
“People need to be more careful and some don’t even want to drive at night.
“We used to get vehicles damaged by animal strikes all the time when we did insurance work, mostly damage to the bumper bar or radiator and so on.”
Mr Jerome said many people opted for bull bars to protect their vehicles, and now road shoulders were wider in many places along the highway, it offered some buffer between animals at the side of the road and vehicles.
Acting Inspector Palmer also warned that speeding was also a big factor in accidents and increased the likelihood of injury or death when a crash occurred.
“It is not safe to speed in any circumstance,” he said.
“If the weather, traffic or road conditions are poor, you may need to slow down, increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front, and travel below the speed limit to stay safe.
“Leave sufficient distance between you and the vehicle in front of you so you can stop safely if necessary avoid a collision with the vehicle in front.”
Acting Inspector Palmer said motorists should also adjust their driving behaviour when driving through roadworks.
“Roadworks are a part of travelling on the roads and it is important we take extra care when driving through roadworks,” he said.
“This is for your safety and the safety of the road workers who are improving our roads.”
Acting Inspector Palmer advised that when driving through roadworks drivers must:
Move into the correct lane (or designated area) as soon as possible
Slow down (to the reduced speed limit if one has been posted)
Look out for road workers and follow road workers’ instructions
Follow the directions of the traffic controller if one is present
Watch for vehicles entering or leaving the area
Follow all signs
Keep a safe distance from all vehicles, barriers, equipment and road workers.