CAR WARS DOWN UNDER

Southport Beach, Christmas Day, 1916. Two men. Two cars. The beach is now called Surfers Paradise. A world-famous beach, and a mecca for those chase waves. The cars are a Willys Overland and a Studebaker Six. Not that you would recognise them. They are speedsters – race cars – modified with lightweight bodies designed to go as fast as possible along the low-tide hard, flat sand. Those steering, Frederick Zina Eager and Alec Fraser Jewell had three things in common: Their fathers were both called Edward, both dads died early,… Read more

SEAT BELTS SAVE LIVES.

I’m now in my 57th year of driving, and have been wearing seat belts for every one of these years. Back in my earlier days not everyone agreed that seat belts saved lives. Some people choose not to wear them as a display of bravado, or because they think they will never have a crash, or perhaps they are simply simple minded. Then there are those who do wear a belt, but have it under their arm instead of over their shoulder. Or do up the belt but sit on… Read more

FRIGHTENING CAR TRIP

I had a truly frightening journey in a car this morning. It was on the eight-lane Brisbane to Gold Coast M1 motorway beside a driver I had never travelled with before. A pleasant lady in her forties who has been driving for many years so has had plenty of experience behind the wheel in a variety of cars. However, she wasn’t what we in the motoring game call a ‘driver’; meaning she had no real interest in what she was doing, simply regarding driving as a means of getting from… Read more

DRIVING LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW

The saying “He’s driving like there’s no tomorrow” has been around for many years. Referring to someone who feels their world is about to come to an end, so doesn’t care how they act behind the wheel, it paints a frightening picture in the minds of other road users. The driver’s ‘no tomorrow’ may be anything from a death in the family, to a relationship break-up, loss of a job, or a just diagnosed illness. All of which are extremely sad and destabilising – but are no excuse for driving… Read more

SHARING THE ROAD

Typically, two types of driver use country roads – those who are peacefully enjoying the scenery, and those who are simply getting from point A to point B in as short a time as safely possible. The faster drivers are normally either on their home turf, those enjoying the scenery are likely to be strangers to the area. Unfortunately the two types of drivers often get in each others’ way. Those who want to get on with their trip in a reasonably short time find themselves being frustrated by the… Read more

SAFER CRASHING

I don’t hear this statement as often as I used to, “They don’t make them like they used to.” The comment comes after a crash involving a new car and an old one. A rear-ender that’s resulted in a huge amount of damage to the front of a new car, yet has created only big dents in the back of the old one. The crash has usually been a small one, probably at a speed of under 15 km/h. A typical suburban bingle, usually caused by a driver’s inattention and/or… Read more

DANGEROUS EMPHASIS ON SPEED

I’m going to sound like a stuck record yet again on the subject of safe holiday driving. But so is everyone else when talking about road deaths and speed limits, so why should I be any different? These depressing thoughts struck me yet again as the Christmas / New Year period began and governments boasted about the number of new fixed and mobile speed cameras put into play. TV news programs kept up a running score on the tens of thousands of people booked for speeding, and another gruesome list… Read more

UNSECURED ITEMS CAN KILL

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) is urging drivers to check their luggage, indeed all items, are properly secured in their car. Saying that in a crash, loose objects can become dangerous missiles striking with a force up to 20 times their own weight. Professor Lynne Bilston, Senior Principal Research Scientist at NeuRA, recommends keeping all luggage below the height of the back seat or consider installing a cargo barrier. “All luggage needs to be properly packed and tied down so that everything is secure. You don’t want anything to be loose… Read more

IS MY AIRBAG SAFE?

The Queensland Government is showing strong and courageous leadership in issuing defect notices to owners of over 2000 vehicles fitted with dangerous ‘alpha’ type Takata a move that the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) welcomes and one that could lead to the cancellation of registration if ‘alpha’ Takata airbags are not replaced within 21 days. FCA Chief Executive Tony Weber noted that the decision is an effective response in the interests of the safety of motorists and passengers across Queensland. “We applaud the Palaszczuk Government for acting so decisively… Read more

THE QUEEN AND I

Watching the royal wedding and the arrival of the Queen in her special Bentley reminded me of an Opinion piece I wrote several years ago. It is repeated here for your enjoyment: One reason for writing a column voicing my opinions is find out what other people are thinking. Many agree with what I write, some disagree and say so, at times in quite a vehement manner. All of which is good fun. But I must admit to being surprised when I did an opinion piece some time back saying… Read more