The scariest moment

Police - Merging Vehicle Ruleby Senior Constable Michael Brantz

Early last month I endured the scariest day of my life so far.  Now, given that I am a police officer, you are probably expecting me to recount a story about some wild brawl, an axe wielding madman, or perhaps the time I came across a Caboolture footy team doing nude burpees on Teewah Beach – all of which I have experienced!  No it was nothing like that, in fact I wasn’t even working on this particular day.

It was the day I found myself standing in the foyer of the Gympie Department of Transport office, staring at my eldest child as she proudly held up an A4 sheet of paper declaring she had received a learner driver’s licence.

My pride in her achievement quickly turned to fear later that night when I took her for her first drive around the backstreets of Brisbane.

All those things that experienced drivers take for granted are new to a learner, like multi-tasking – i.e. braking as you approach an intersection while indicating, checking for other cars, avoiding the car parked on the side of the road just up from the intersection, checking your mirrors, changing down gears and brake, brake, brake harder, BRAKE!!!

I must add here that she is doing very well, and I may have embellished my fear level somewhat to grab your attention.  In fact, there is one aspect of driving where she is better than me already, and that’s knowledge of the road rules.

Let’s just say there were a couple of blank looks or ‘I’ll have to look that up’ responses as she quizzed me on some of the more obscure road rule questions on her learner’s practice test.

I would like to bet that I am not alone here. The fact is that once we get our driver’s licence most of us are never tested on the road rules again for the rest of our lives – despite driving being one of the most dangerous activities we undertake.

Given that the majority of us are using the road every day (this includes cyclists and pedestrians) it’s certainly in our best interests to know the rules.

Ultimately road rules are developed for the safety of all road users.  You need every advantage when you’re out there on our roads, because there are drivers out there that have no regard for your wellbeing.

In previous articles Mick and I have shared stories about the reckless, dangerous and intoxicated drivers we have encountered.

In fact, just the other day we received information about a reckless driver travelling from Inskip Point to Rainbow Beach. This bloke was on his way back to Maroochydore despite having all sorts of trouble keeping his car on the left side of the road – not surprising given his breath alcohol concentration was 0.188%.  That’s another one off the road for a while – how many are left?

If you feel like you need a road rules refresher, there are a number of excellent resources currently available online to help you out – the Department of Transport and Main Roads site at www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Safety/Queensland-road-rules is a great starting point.

To kick off your revision here are a couple of rules that I regularly see broken around town…

  • You must secure / lock your vehicle before leaving it parked on a road.  Your vehicle is considered unattended when you are more than 3m away from it – Penalty $48-
  • You must not drive a vehicle with a person or animal on your lap – Penalty $284-