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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.