Last year VicRoads decided to start using South Gippsland as a proving ground for some ridiculous ideas that could potentially be expanded to the rest of rural Victoria if they proved successful, which no doubt they would, given that no one would be able to dispute the findings. What happened is that the speed limits on several of our roads were reduced from 100kmh to 80kmh and what’s bizarre about the change is that the decision was supposedly based on statistics dating back to the 1990s suggesting that these roads had an unacceptably serious accident rate (I lost the link to this reference and I think it’s now been carefully removed, but I saved a PDF copy). The thing is, the statistics that I found revealed nothing of the sort. Additionally, long-term residents who have lived 20 and more years along these very roads have no recollection of such accidents. In a relatively small community, that’s generally a far better indicator of reality (which I’ll cover later). But from much anecdotal evidence, this change has nothing to do with accident rates.
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.