18 December 2023

'Just calm down': drivers urged to use caution on Kings Highway this festive season

| Claire Fenwicke
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group shot with Kings Highway Drive Safe messaging

The Kings Highway Road Safety Partnership brings together Eurobodalla Shire, Shoalhaven City and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional councils, ACT Policing, NSW Police, Transport Canberra and City Services, and Transport for NSW. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Police officers are no strangers to reckless driving behaviour on the Kings Highway.

“This year alone, my constables have detected vehicles doing almost 170 km/h in the 90 zone, 146 km/h in the 90 zone – and these are all areas where overtaking is an opportunity,” Batemans Bay Highway Patrol Sergeant Angus Duncombe said.

As the festive season traffic increases on the stretch from Canberra to the South Coast, the Kings Highway partnership is being launched once again to keep travellers safe.

Four people were killed on the Kings Highway over the past year, with police ramping up patrols to target dangerous driving behaviour.

“Drive safely, drive to the conditions, take a break. In the grand scheme of things, the drive from Canberra to the coast is not a very long drive, but people get incredibly impatient,” ACT Road Policing Acting Inspector Mark Richardson said.

“Be aware there are people out there who probably don’t really care [about your safety] and only care about themselves, so just drive safely.

“If you all do the right thing, then chances are that you’ll get to your destination safely.”

READ ALSO Three dead after two fatal crashes on regional roads

As for those drivers who insist on doing the wrong thing, police have warned they have eyes everywhere.

“We are receiving a lot more complaints from the general public who do supply us with dashcam footage,” Sgt Duncombe said.

“That helps us when we are putting an allegation to a driver. It’s there in full colour and pretty much not one [person’s] word against another anymore.”

Act Insp Richardson called on that small group of “selfish” motorists to think about others when driving.

“We see it all the time, people get incredibly impatient, so they drive closer to the car in front of them, and that just puts added pressure on the car in front and increases the chances of them having an accident … of innocent people [being] killed or seriously injured,” he said.

“We’re trying to appeal to that small percentage of the population: just calm down, just drive to the conditions, try to be sensible and think about what you’re doing.”

NSW Police are allowed to seize number plates and vehicles for excessive speeding.

Motorists have also been warned to keep to roadworks conditions, particularly as a large number of repairs are currently underway following recent heavy rain.

“There are parts of our entire road network that have suffered over the past couple of months because of the weather events,” NSW Police Far South Coast Highway Inspector Will Collins said.

“Any road you don’t go down for two or three weeks has probably changed … so you’ve really got to pay attention.”

Overheating vehicles towing campervans or boats are a common issue, and everyone is urged to plan ahead in case they need to take a break or there are delays on the road.

Motorists have been reminded to check registration of their vehicles and anything they’re towing is up to date, and not to overload anything as it can impact on your vehicle’s ability to brake and turn.

READ ALSO ATSB releases preliminary report into plane crash north of Canberra that killed man and three grandchildren

Even though most of the Kings Highway is in NSW, the increased summer traffic is mainly due to Canberrans heading away for the holidays. This is why the ACT Government takes part in the initiative every year.

Transport Minister Chris Steel urged everyone to use rest stops, be patient and drive safely to and from their destinations.

“It’s not worth it to devastate a family over Christmas just because you wanted to get to your destination a bit quicker,” he said.

Double demerits will be in effect in NSW from Friday, 22 December, to midnight on Monday, 1 January.

Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on Riotact.

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cannedbeeria5:48 pm 18 Dec 23

The extra 10 or 20 minutes you gain by reckless driving is usually spent doing the grocery shopping on the way through. It really isn’t worth it.
And regarding this: “We see it all the time, people get incredibly impatient, so they drive closer to the car in front of them, and that just puts added pressure on the car in front and increases the chances of them having an accident ”
I have a cure for tailgaters…. If a car is following too closely to me, I check my speed, and then at the earliest opportunity let them overtake in safety. Then they can go and have their crash somewhere else. Slowing down and letting a faster driver pass safely costs nothing, and I get a far less stressful journey.

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