Letters to the Editor October/November 2020

Welcome to RACQ Clubhouse, a place for members to have their say and find out all the news and views from RACQ.

Road scare unreported

Towing a caravan along the Maryborough-Cooloola road recently, we were knocked off the road by a semi-trailer overtaking on a curving, damp road and over an unbroken white line, in the direction of travel. The front bumper of the truck rammed into our driver’s door, knocking us sideways, down a camber, into a full 180-degree spin, with the van jack-knifing severely. Despite no injuries, we called the police, who did attend but advised that as there were no injuries involved this was actually a “non-reportable” accident. The car was in fact a write-off, the van had $20,000 damage and we could easily have lost our lives, yet it is unreportable (i.e. we will not even be a statistic). How can road traffic accident data accurately reflect issues regarding road safety if accidents, such as ours, are not reported? Together with the local state MP and the Department of Transport and Main Roads, we are looking for ways to rectify this. As it is no longer in the Queensland police remit, perhaps there could be a “non-injury road accident responders unit” comprised of people skilled in assessing the scene and gathering relevant data while also offering support and guidance to those involved in a terrifying incident. 

Life-savers thanked

On 20 June, my wife and I were travelling south-east Queensland in our caravan. That night, in a rest area, I suffered what I now know was a heart attack. We drove to Biggenden hospital the next morning, on my wife’s insistence, where I was feeling like a time waster. In hindsight, I should have listened to her and rang 000. A few hours later I was being transported to Bundaberg’s Friendly Society Private Hospital by ambulance. Three days later I was in the RACQ LifeFlight helicopter to St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane, for an emergency triple bypass. All the doctors, nursing staff, pilot and crew of the RACQ LifeFlight helicopter and ambulance were outstanding. How lucky we are to have these facilities. Thank you all for saving my life.

Show some patience

My daughter is learning to drive a manual. Sometimes she stalls at traffic lights, and without fail she will be beeped by the driver behind her before she has even had time to restart the car. Are people blind to the L plates? Do they think that their awareness of the car not moving is more keen than the learner driver and their supervisor combined, and that the beep is somehow helping? Are the roads now filled with a generation of drivers who don’t understand that manual cars can stall and stalling is a common problem for inexperienced drivers? We live in a fast-paced world of distraction but it would be nice if people could pay enough attention to realise the driver in front of them isn’t distracted, just inexperienced, and that a moment of patience would be more helpful than a beeping horn.

Red-light rage

I have noticed – repeatedly and regretfully – the increase in “no left turn red arrow” traffic lights. Why? Obviously, it is to allow pedestrians to cross the road before a driver turns left. Again, why? The road rules have never allowed a driver to run over a pedestrian simply because the driver has a green light! A driver must give way, so why install that red arrow?  When there are no pedestrians the arrow simply holds up the traffic flow. Who in government had the bright idea to hold up traffic unnecessarily and spend money unnecessarily to install these red arrows?

Member says thanks

An RACQ membership can mean many things to many people. A member since 1958 when driving a small Austin Tourer convertible car in his youth, my dad Dennis Horner believed in the RACQ club and kept his membership continuously until his passing earlier this year. Legions of cars – the beloved Tourer, an EJ Holden Wagon, FB sedan, Toyotas, a Volvo, a cantankerous Kombi and finally a 1992 VP Commodore Wagon – all received the RACQ “special touch” over the years. He read your wonderfully informative magazine from cover to cover and welcomed the advice and reviews. Another satisfied and proud member. Thank you, RACQ team.

Electric vehicle doubter

The future of motoring is not “undoubtedly electric” (Aug/Sep 2020). Emissions reductions by Australia will have no impact on any warming; and reductions in other Western countries are far more than offset by growth in emissions in China, India and other non-Western countries, which will become increasingly economically dominant, as well as politically assertive. The overall costs (including for rare metals) and lesser convenience of electric vehicles, particularly in our vast country, will always count against them. 

Tyre advice

It seems an acceptable practice when buying a new trailer to select either new or used tyres. I recently bought a new box trailer and took the cheaper second-hand option in the belief such tyres came from trade-ins, wrecks or the like, and met with some inspection standard. On the second use of my trailer I experienced a flat tyre which upon being taken for repair revealed it was irreparable due to separation of layers, two previous repairs and that the tyre was 11 years old. My grievance representations with the manufacturer met with indifference and a shrug of the shoulders – I made the wrong choice. I promptly replaced all three tyres. Lesson learnt. My advice is that unless you can verify the used tyre to your satisfaction, take new tyres every time.