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Driving Tips

Wide/Over-dimensional Loads
Whilst driving in the Bowen Basin you are bound to meet an oncoming “wide load” this may well be at night.

In recognition of this McAleese Transport and the Mining Industry Road Safety Alliance [MIRSA] assisted by members of RAAG, produced in 2011 a DVD that was distributed to Tourism, mining companies, and training companies.

McAleese Transport also kindly sponsored a three month TV campaign alerting motorists on how to deal with wide loads while travelling in the Bowen Basin region.

The DVD can be viewed on the RAAG web site under Wide Load Education.

As Queensland Police Service are warning of an increasing number of wide/over-dimensional loads all travellers in the Bowen Basin must add significant time allowance to trip times.

You will experience delays, this may impact fatigue management plans, and you need to accept that you will have to be patient.

  • Beware of hidden culverts in long grass
  • Be aware of soft shoulders
  • Monitor channel 40 if you have it available
  • Be very aware road pilot instructions are a legal directive for your safety
  • Be aware cameras in vehicles are monitoring traffic movements, and footage will be used as evidence.
  • Suggest to your employer to use the “On the road with Wide Loads” video with employee inductions.

Daytime Headlights

Significant research, especially in Europe, has gone into the evaluation of driving with daytime headlights.

Known overseas as DRL’s (Daytime Running Lights), the research is somewhat skewed toward Queensland arterial roads, as road conditions seldom replicate the Bowen Basin arterial roads. Seldom was the testing  done on narrow, undivided, winding roads with an extremely high ratio of trucks to light vehicles, poor road surfaces, rated as per www.iRAP.org as one and two star rated roads.

It is interesting to note that in many countries with much better road systems than Australia, authorities have mandated DRL’s.

RAAG commends the many companies that have auto low beam lighting when the engine is running. Surprisingly though, many employees in their private car, neglect to turn their lights on during daylight. Even more surprising, is the number of motorists who do not turn headlights on in poor visibility, raining, foggy conditions. Recently a fiery commented: “strange, it’s nearly always drivers in dark cars that are the main culprits…….”. Pictured below is the diagram on the side of a shipping container giving explanation as to why to drive with day time headlights illuminated. The overtaking car usually gets off scott free, the innocent car, pictured light blue goes bush to avoid a head on collision, hits a culvert, a tree or overturns. Much better, it is illustrated that the overtaking vehicle aborts the manoeuvre and pulls back, as the driver can easily judge the distance to the vehicle headlights coming towards him. This often applies to vehicles entering a main road from a side street, or driveway, if a car with headlights on is approaching; the entering driver can easily see the approaching car and will wait. 

More info:


Stock on Roads

RAAG was approached in 2011 by QR National after a spate of serious injuries and fatalities in the Bowen Basin from collisions with stock on roads.

Statistics show most collisions are at night, many of the fatalities are motor cycle riders.

Depending on the area, deer can also be a problem, be extremely careful at night on unfenced roads.

The sooner authorities are alerted to stock on the road the less the risk to other motorists and stock owners can take action to repair fences and get stock contained.

“If there is danger to other road users, stop in a safe place, report location of stock on triple zero”.

Blind spots

Seems a simple problem, learned while learning to drive…….

However, in the Bowen Basin there are huge numbers of contractor vehicles with serious blind spots.

Some motivated employees from one company decided to show just how serious this is.

See this descriptive power point, on RAAG web site under blind spots, ideal for inductions, apprentices, employees new to these vehicles.
See power point presentation

Power Naps

We will keep it simple; see numerous web sites “power naps” and “circadian” for much more detailed research:

  • When you start to feel drowsy, many triggers for this as individuals vary, start looking for a safe place to get right off the road, this may be only half an hour into the journey if leaving early in the morning.[If drowsy leaving site, power nap in the car park before leaving]
  • Stop in a safe place ASAP.
  • If you have a caffeine stimulant, now is the time to take it, takes approx 20-25 mins to enter blood stream.
  • Secure vehicle, possibly set alarm on your phone for 15-20 minutes ahead.
  • Close eyes, in the driver’s seat.
  • After max 15 minutes power nap, get out of car, walk around the car at a minimum.
  • Extremely important, have a good drink of water. [Dehydration adds to fatigue] a splash on your face will also help a lot.

A reminder a power nap is no substitute for a good night’s sleep, but may get you home or to work in one piece. (Approx 50{86d006f64218e9eb1d6d9f60f707596bd77134dd18cba6bb501419d6a9d6d38b} crashes are on the way to work)

Always get a good night’s sleep before commencing a long trip. Share driving, minimise risk, catch a bus, remember personal health can affect fatigue, plan rest breaks.


Vehicle Spacing

Why do we include this?…… A recent survey of motorists asking suggestions to improve road safety, had numerous responses stating tail gating as a major problem, crash statistics also confirm this.

Solutions suggested; Teach people the correct spacing……

Correct spacing is minimum three [3] seconds at any speed, increase spacing in poor conditions, towing etc.

Watch the rear of the car in front, as the rear passes a pole or sign count one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three, if the front of your car has passed the pole before three you are too close.


  • The fifth part of the Fatal Five.
  • Over 20{86d006f64218e9eb1d6d9f60f707596bd77134dd18cba6bb501419d6a9d6d38b} of all crashes are caused by distractions
  • Phones and texting are main killers
  • Changing CD’s, lighting cigarettes, eating are also a serious problem.

This picture mounted on a shipping container, drawn by a year four student says it all.

International research shows there is another part of the puzzle:

Does your company condone the use of Hands free phones?

The distraction is the same, driving demands full concentration.

Cruise Control Danger

  • Car manufacturers warn to NOT use cruise control on wet roads.
  • Cruise control can cause rapid loss of traction or a skid on slippery roads.
  • Car manufacturers warn against using cruise control in heavy traffic.
  • If you have a micro sleep, your car may still be accelerating as you hit the oncoming truck or tree.  (Fatigue related crashes seldom have braking skid marks)
  • Several countries establish it is illegal to use cruise control within city limits.
  • Be very aware, your foot position, it may affect response time to braking, this could be life or your death.


Heavy Vehicle Fatigue Management and “Chain of Responsibility”

Transport operators will be aware and comply with legislation; this is not of concern to RAAG Inc.

What is of major concern is lack of Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas, where drivers can actually rest; see RASP in RAAG web site.

Also of major concern is lack of knowledge about the “Chain of Responsibility” by many companies receiving goods.

Refer to:




Please refer:

YOUR LINK TO COMPLIANCE www.chainofresponsibility.com.au

Please call 07 3382 0341, Mb 0420 246 514 so we can talk about your level of compliance under COR.

This company specialises in COR and can provide up to date information.

Driving on flooded roads facts

  • The average car with doors closed is a sealed floating compartment; with tyres on each corner are additional PFD’s plus spare tyre and fuel tank an extra floating device underneath.
  • The fording depth of many cars is the sill depth, as computers are mounted at that height and not waterproof.
  • When the engine stops, windows do not go down, auto door locking activates
  • Fast flowing water has side impact on the car of many tonnes; no wonder cars float off culverts in seconds.
  • Remember the footage of cars floating in Toowoomba, why would drivers tempt fate often with babies or children strapped in capsules with no chance of escape.
  • You cannot see if a culvert has washed away, water may be metres deep, you cannot see objects lodged on the road under water.
  • A few hours wait for the water to go down is much shorter than a very long time dead.
  • Fines are staggeringly high for driving around a road closed sign, and you have no insurance.

“Don’t drive on flooded roads”

Safety Margins with Driving>

In no way can we replace a comprehensive defensive driving/low risk driving course, we recommend all drivers take one; the lessons learned will be life saving. Some tips to take with you are:

  • Driving approx 300mm from the fog line gives you vital life saving distance away from oncoming traffic, how often other drivers are distracted, or fatigued, and drifts over the centre line, do you keep a safety margin?

[Practice by watching the left mirror on straight roads, the fog line should be in line with the body work of the car]

  • Be prepared for an emergency hazard, drive with both hands 9-3 position, and thumbs out, hands well forward. [gives space for air-bag to deploy between arms, safety margin]
  • Keep seat belt firmly tensioned, an activated air-bag deploys up to 300kms per hour, if this hits you, or a loose arm, serious injury will result, keep arms straight ahead on wheel if an impact is likely!
  • Remind passengers of air-bag danger, keep feet on the floor, seat belt tensioned, imagine where your legs end up if feet near the glove box and the air bag deploys.
  • We emphasise again, if you are driving too close to the vehicle in front you do not have a safety margin.
  • Be aware of sunlight hazards early morning, late afternoon, decrease speed, drive according to visibility and conditions.
  • Learn how to scan for hazards when driving, this is not a natural, needs to be learnt and practiced
  • Drive according to conditions, Bowen Basin roads has very complex traffic movements, often in poor weather.

Fatigued Driving

Increasing evidence is showing lack of sleep on “days off” is causing many crashes on the way to shifts or during the first day back at work.

Some of the symptoms of fatigue you might feel and/or observe in others are:

  • Increased sleepiness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Temporary memory loss
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Irritability
  • Headaches and general body aches
  • Mood swings
  • Reduced hand-eye co-ordination
  • Drowsy relaxed feeling
  • Difficulty keeping eyes open
  • Excessive head nodding; and
  • Excessive yawning
  • If you feel or observe the above in a driver or an operator take immediate remedial action.

A fatal mistake can be waking another person in the car to take over the driving, it can take up to thirty minutes for a person to be fully alert, and there have been several fatal crashes of changeover drivers going back to sleep.

Plan your trip, plan fatigue breaks,

Allow extra time for wide load delays,

Allow even more time for road works delays.

Excuses to Police, “I’m late to catch the plane” will not get you off speeding fines and losing points or worse.


Kindly Supplied by the Australian Trucking Association