Gippsland Road Rules

After having travelled Gippsland roads for over 40 years and now living here, I’ve always suspected that tourists and other visitors, local and overseas, don’t have a very good understanding of Gippsland road rules. So I thought I’d put pen to paper (figuratively speaking) and outline a few of the most important rules applicable when driving along Gippsland roads. Now some may wonder what I’m talking about as aren’t the road rules all the same everywhere in Australia? Not so! Gippsland road rules differ somewhat from those elsewhere, especially in metropolitan Melbourne and major regional centres, so it’s important to understand what these differences are if you’re to have a safe and enjoyable journey while visiting or travelling through Gippsland.

Gippsland Road Rules - Driving Safely

Gippsland Road Rules – Driving Safely

First off, double lines separating any road means that you should drive at between 10-20 kmh below the posted speed limit in order to be safe. That is, if the posted speed limit is 100 kmh, you should endeavour to drive between 80-90 kmh at all times, preferably the lower speed. The same applies where you have a solid, unbroken line on your side of the road and a broken line on the other side of the road. If there is a broken line on your side of the road and an unbroken line on the other side, this indicates that it’s now safe to resume the posted speed limit. This is especially important if a large number of vehicles are behind you and/or you are towing a large caravan, boat, horse float or similar, or driving in a convoy. If second in line and you decide to overtake the lead vehicle, where the broken lines are on your side, make sure that you either leave the overtaking until shortly before the broken line ends or overtake at a speed just slightly more than the vehicle you’re overtaking and, once past, resume driving at 10-20 kmh below the posted speed limit.

Gippsland Road Rules - Road Markings

Gippsland Road Rules – Road Markings

Gippsland Road Rules - Road Markings

Gippsland Road Rules – Road Markings

You will at times encounter situations where the road becomes a double carriageway and you will be notified well in advance by warning signs along the way and once more just before you enter the double lanes. When you encounter one of these situations, it’s now safe to resume the posted speed limit just before you enter the double lane and it’s quite safe to travel at least 10 kmh over the posted speed limit while on the double carriageway. That is, if the posted speed limit is 100 kmh, you are encouraged to travel at 110 kmh or more, especially important if you are towing. If you choose to overtake a vehicle, you should endeavour to remain next to that vehicle until you reach a subsequent warning sign indicating that the double lane is ending and, just before the double lane ends, you should overtake the vehicle to your left and then reduce your speed to 10-20 kmh below the posted speed limit, preferably the lower.

Gippsland Road Rules - Double Carriageways

Gippsland Road Rules – Double Carriageways

Gippsland Road Rules - Double Carriageways

Gippsland Road Rules – Double Carriageways

Gippsland Road Rules - Double Carriageways

Gippsland Road Rules – Double Carriageways

When you approach curves on Gippsland roads, you’ll often notice a series of arrows indicating the direction of the curve and they are a further indication that cautionary speeds should be applied. Ideally, you should at all times drive well below the posted and advisory speed limits (those with a black number on a yellow background) when negotiating curves that display these arrows. For example, if the advisory speed limit is 75 kmh, you should maintain a steady 60 kmh until you have fully negotiated the curve. However, resuming the safe 10-20 kmh below the posted speed limit should not be done immediately, but should be reached in a progressive manner, preferably waiting for a broken line on your side of the road, indicating that it’s now safe to maintain the posted speed limit.

Gippsland Road Rules - Corners

Gippsland Road Rules – Corners

When coming into Gippsland townships and you will see a sign indicating a speed limit of say 60 kmh, this is only an advisory sign indicating the minimum speed that you should be driving once past that sign. If you’ve been maintaining the suggested highway speed, such as 80 kmh in a 100 kmh zone, you should continue at 80 kmh into the township. You will of course encounter other drivers that will be driving at the posted 60 kmh speed limit or lower, but unfortunately there’s little that can be done about these inconsiderate drivers. Once past the township, you are again advised to speed up at the earliest possible time and resume the safe 10-20 kmh below the posted open road speed limit.

Video – Never mind the speed limit, they’re in a Smart car

Video – And always be on the lookout for these

Video – And keep an eye out for these

Video – And these

Gippsland has many roadworks in progress all the time, it’s essential because our roads have deteriorated so much. When you come to a roadworks, you will see signs placed well before the roadworks warning you of the roadwork ahead (sometimes so far ahead that you begin to wonder if they have been forgotten to be picked up). The posted speed limit of 40 kmh is only advisory and 20kmh is far more sensible. Once past the roadworks, where the speed signs indicate the end of roadworks and normal speeds can be resumed, you should progressively increase your speed over several kilometres before resuming the ‘recommended’ speed. Sometimes roadwork signs are put in place for no apparent reason, perhaps just to check whether they actually work or such and this happens from time to time in various locations.

Roadworks? What Roadworks?

Roadworks? What Roadworks?

Video – Roadworks irks – nothing happening for days.

Now all of these rules apply even when we have beautiful summer weather, where the roads are dry and visibility is not an issue. When such may not be the case, as in Winter, your driving should be adjusted to suit the conditions, preferably reducing your speed by 20-30 kmh at all times. If you follow all of these rules, you will provide all road users a pleasant driving experience throughout Gippsland and residents and the like will applaud you for your considerate driving. And once you’ve returned back to the suburbs, don’t forget to follow the metropolitan road rules. Please come and visit again.

Footnote: Just in case someone does not understand sarcasm, these are not genuine road rules that I’ve talked about, but how some people appear to interpret road rules in their every day driving in Gippsland.

6 thoughts on “Gippsland Road Rules

  1. Shawn K.

    One moron too many, eh? : )

    Some driving behaviour is universal. A local bridge gains about 30m of elevation while on a curve, but it can easily be driven at the posted speed limit. Unfortunately, it’s too confusing or scary for 1 in 20, who jam their brakes at the sight, resulting in several accidents a month from the distracted phone users that follow too closely. I avoid that mess during peak traffic.

    Btw, reCAPTCHA working well on Android.

    Reply
    1. Ray Post author

      Not so much morons, but unskilled, cautious to the extreme and oblivious to other drivers aplenty. The very elderly, who are quite numerous, I can understand, but it’s the not so old drivers that I can’t comprehend. We have one section of road that has long, sweeping, bends and rises maybe 100m, and 95% of drivers slow down from 100kmh to around 80kmh until they reach the overtaking lane and then speed up. This is massively frustrating to all the heavy vehicles that have to slow down and then struggle to get back up to speed.

      That’s good news about reCAPTCHA, I was worried that it would be a pain.

      Reply
  2. Shawn K.

    I used to drive big things, and you’re right. Unintelligible disruptions to the flow of traffic are hard to predict, and safely driving large, heavy vehicles demands predictive thought. I also think mindless mobile device usage has increased the hazards. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to ride my road bike with the confidence I had 30 years ago. No amount of bright clothing and flashing lights can overcome the lure of a Facebook update.

    What’s required to obtain a license in Oz? In the U.S., very little is demanded of a person, and it shows. From my memory of Germany, they take driving seriously (like most things), and it’s viewed as a privilege worthy of true instruction. I also recall that Germans don’t take pity on drunk drivers, with permanent revocation an option for repeat offenders.

    Reply
    1. Ray Post author

      It looks like reCAPTCHA put this one in the spam bin. I’m not sure why, given that the others haven’t been affected. Hopefully it won’t happen again.

      I can pick from a mile away when someone is using their mobile phone when driving, the tell tale signs are so obvious. There’s been a fair spate of young drivers deaths our way and, given where they have happened, you can only conclude that they were distracted and that usually means they were on their phone. The police never reveal the cause, or probable factors involved and, if a mobile phone was being used at the time (easy to find out), they should make this know so that maybe it will sink in to those young and old drivers that keep doing this. I regularly see mother’s racing their kids to school with a mobile phone jammed in their ear (it’s roughly the time when I take our hounds for a run) and I just don’t understand it.

      Our license requirements aren’t anywhere near the level required in most European countries, the one’s that I know of anyway. But they have become a bit more involved with a requirement to undertake a long period of practice with a licensed driver after obtaining their learner’s permit. The practice involves filling in a log book covering time of day, duration and that they have driven in all conditions, rain, dark etc, but it’s known to be rorted because it’s s such a ‘burden’ for parents. Once they obtain their license to drive solo, they are on a provisional license for three years which involves a number of restrictions such as drinking (zero blood alcohol level), no passengers at certain times (to avoid peer pressure idiocy) and no driving infractions. Unfortunately, the actual formal driving test usually doesn’t involve such things as merging onto freeways, leaving freeways, overtaking and whatnot, and this shows when they have to face the reality of things like peak hour traffic.

      Reply

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