Raising the BARR – Week ending 21 September 2018

Driving as a team will be more important than ever

There is currently a trial to have all vehicles on NSW roads slow down to 40kmh when they are approaching flashing red and blue emergency vehicle lights – Police, Fire, Ambulance.

Of course, this is designed to make the work of our emergency service workers much safer.  And on that, we can all agree.  In any case, it has been my experience in 30 years of driving that people slow down around flashing lights already; as a caution, to sticky-beak and out of fear of being booked for speeding themselves.  But that natural tendency to slow down is now law.

But here is the thing that we all need to be very mindful of, particularly on high speed roads – trucks take a long time to slow down.

I have written before that our road users need to be treating each other as though we were all playing a team game where we want everyone to win.  It is obvious that we all want to use the road, get to where we are going and arrive safely.  We can do this by creating space to help each other merge, by making allowances for errors, by being mindful of the needs of drivers in front of us, beside us and behind us.  After all, none of us individually or personally own the road.

If you spot a flashing red and blue light on the road please take a moment to look for, and think about, any trucks and large vehicles that might be around you.  You might need to quickly weigh up the need to get your own speed below 40kmh and the ability of the nearby large vehicle to match your rapid slow down.  This might require you to shift lanes, or take a longer time to slow down or perhaps even just leave a much larger gap between you and the car in front of you just in case you need to create extra space for something coming from behind.  Keep your eyes on your rear vision mirror and your side mirrors.

Of course we want our emergency services workers to be safe, but I also want you and your family and our heavy vehicle drivers to be safe too.

A financial quickie from NSW Budget

The NSW Government is patting itself on the back about a budget surplus this year.  One might assume that this means that they are spending less money than they are receiving as income.  Wrong!

In NSW this year the NSW Government will borrow $10.5 billion – that’s $10 500 million dollars.  Sure, at the end of the year they expect to have $3.5 billion left over, but seriously, we are $7 billion ($7,000 million) further in debt as a result.  If you borrowed $105 from a bank, spent $70 and still had $35 in your wallet, would you think of yourself as being (a) financially ahead; or (b) in debt to the bank?