Reverse assist – more choices for your vehicle

Park Assist/ Reversing cameras are now a standard feature on many new cars. NRMA’s Motoring Advice team has been asked how good they are and if it is worth fitting after–market systems to cars without such devices? 

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BLINDSIDE: Most modern vehicles suffer from poor rear visibility, with some having blind zones in excess of 10 metres

From navigating your car into a tight spot to drastically improving rear vision, reversing technologies can help make driving easier and help reduce the risk of collisions with another vehicle, or anything else.

The market is filled with a range of aftermarket options to help improve rear visibility and prevent collisions. Knowing how each technology works can help you decide what is best for your car.

Reverse cameras

Reverse cameras are generally easy to install with options of hard-wired or wireless setup, depending on your vehicle. The camera can be discretely mounted  above or below a rear number plate to allow you to view real-time footage from an LCD screen which is mounted on or around the dashboard.   

Small children, animals and objects are easily obscured from view when behind, even the smallest of vehicles. By giving better visibility, reverse cameras can increase safety, convenience and give extra peace of mind. However, reading the screen and gaining confidence may require some practice.

Parking sensors

These are proximity sensors and detect objects in the path of the reversing vehicle within a defined distance range. The driver is alerted via audible beeps. Some systems may also incorporate a camera.  They are installed into the rear bumper bar of a vehicle. The devices use sensors that increase in frequency of the beep as an object gets closer, working from a range of approximately 0.3 to 3 meters.

Although these devices are useful aids, drivers should not rely on them to guide the car out of a tight situation. It’s important to keep in mind that these items merely ‘assist’ with parking and reversing of the vehicle. Responsibility for handling a vehicle safely still lies with the driver.

Does your car have reverse assist technology? Do you think it has improved your awareness and safety when driving? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Let’s shed some light on indicators

According to one of our recent Facebook posts, many motorists still don’t have a complete understanding of when to correctly indicate their intended direction of travel.  We’ll go through some of the questions we’ve received to hopefully shed some light on this “lost art”. 

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ON THE BLINK: A simple signal that does a lot of good.  

Indicating distance – How long should I indicate for? indicating distance

It’s important to indicate to let other motorists know what you plan to do. While there is not a specific distance, you must give plenty of warning by signalling before you turn or change lanes to avoid a collision.

Make sure your indicator is turned off after each lane change. If your indicators are not working, not clearly visible or your vehicle does not have indicator lights then you must give a hand signal when turning right or stopping.

Indicating at a Roundabout toni

Drivers approaching a roundabout must use their indicator if they intend to turn left or right, or make a U-turn at the roundabout. They must give other road users sufficient notice of their intent to turn.

There is no requirement for drivers to signal when approaching the roundabout, if they are going straight ahead. susan roundabout blinker

Just like exiting any road, drivers must signal left when leaving a roundabout, if it is practical to do so, and stop indicating as soon as they have exited the roundabout.

When travelling straight ahead on a small single lane roundabout, it may be impractical to indicate if exiting.

Although that little stick hiding behind the steering wheel should be used in the majority of instances, it is equally important to know when to indicate correctly to avoid further frustration.

Do you think motorists are using their indicator correctly – or at all? Please let us know if there are any other indicator questions you would like us to clarify. 

Replacing your car tyres – what to look for?

Whether you are looking for a slight tyre profile change or a complete wheel/tyre diameter increase, to comply with registration requirements, and for insurance purposes replacement tyres must meet the tyre designation as on the tyre placard of your vehicle. 

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KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: Referring to your vehicles tyre placard is an essential way to ensure that your vehicle complies with the manufacturers specifications.

Since 1973, all cars have been fitted with a tyre placard, which is usually located inside the driver’s door, glove box or fuel filler cap. The placard specifies the wheel and tyre combinations provided by the vehicle manufacturer as well as the recommended air pressure, load capacity and speed rating of tyres.

When considering the choice of a new tyre, refer to your vehicle’s tyre placard to ensure that your vehicle complies with the manufacturer’s specifications.

The choice of tyre will also depend on which characteristics you are looking for, including:

  • wet/dry grip,
  • off road capability,
  • noise reduction,
  •  or simply for fuel economy.

The NRMA has no specific brand recommendations. However, we suggest  you stay with a mainstream brand that you are familiar with.This may be as simple as replacing worn tyres with your car’s existing brand if you’ve been satisfied with them.

As an NRMA Member you can also receive discounts on tyres through Tyreright or Beaurepairs. Your local NRMA MotorServe or NRMA Approved Repairer can also provide guidance on the best tyres for your vehicle.

Do you know the location of your vehicle’s placard? Do you used this information when servicing your tyres? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

The most misunderstood road rules in country areas

As part of Road Rules Awareness Week 2015, Transport for NSW asked Road Safety Officers working in local government to highlight the issues they have found most misunderstood in their local area. These were the results for officers working in country areas.

STOP MEANS STOP: You must stop completely at a stop sign, before reaching the stop line.

STOP MEANS STOP: You must stop completely at a stop sign, before reaching the stop line.

1. Stopping at children’s crossing
These part-time crossings operate when the orange children’s crossing flags are present. This could be just before and after school hours, during school excursions and at lunch time. When approaching a children’s crossing you must stop at the stop line if a pedestrian is on or entering the crossing. Some of these crossings also have school crossing supervisors, and you must stop when they display a hand held ‘stop’ sign.

2. Giving way at T-intersections
If you are travelling on a road that ends with a T-intersection, give way to pedestrians or vehicles travelling on the road that you are approaching, unless otherwise signposted.

3. Stop signs and stop lines
You must stop completely at a stop sign, before reaching the stop line.

4. Overtaking
Overtaking is one of the riskiest manoeuvres on the road. There are a number of rules about overtaking to make it safer, including not overtaking across a continuous line and not overtaking a turning vehicle. It’s important that you have a clear view of any approaching traffic and that you can safely overtake the vehicle ahead.  All other road rules apply, including the speed limit, when overtaking. If someone overtakes you, don’t increase your speed, keep left and give them reasonable space to pass and then move back into the lane.

5. Default speed limits
The default rural speed limit, which applies in non-built-up areas without signposted speed limits, is 100km/h.

“Learning to be a good driver doesn’t end with getting your driver’s licence – it requires practice and staying up to date with the road rules. Driving is all about risk management and we need our drivers to not only develop the knowledge and experience but also the attitude to become safer and smarter drivers,” says Centre for Road Safety General Manager Marg Prendergast.

“Whether you’re a driver, rider, pedestrian, cyclist or passenger – we all have a role to play in keeping our roads and each other safe so make sure you know what the road rules are and stick to them.”

Do you agree that these road rules are often not followed in the country?

Road Rules Awareness Week and the Top 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules guide were launched in February 2013 following a community call for a clearer explanation of the road rules.

To learn more, call 13 22 13 or find the NSW Road Users’ Handbook.

The most misunderstood road rules in city areas

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As part of Road Rules Awareness Week 2015, Transport for NSW asked Road Safety Officers working in local government to highlight the issues they have found most misunderstood in their local area. These were the results for officers working in metropolitan areas:

No parking within 10 metres of an intersection unless signposted
You can’t park, or even stop, within 10 metres of an intersection without traffic lights – doing so could block another driver’s vision of oncoming cars or pedestrians.

Turning across unbroken lines
You can only cross a continuous dividing line when turning right at an intersection, entering or leaving a property (by the shortest route), or to angle park on the other side of the road.

Untitled-2Queuing across intersections
You can’t stop in an intersection and it’s against the law to enter an intersection if you can’t drive through it because it is blocked. Stopping and queuing is dangerous and could leave you in the way of oncoming traffic. You could also end up blocking the pedestrian crossing, putting pedestrians at risk – so only drive across when you know you can safely get to the other side.

Pedestrians crossing safely at traffic lights
The flashing red pedestrian light is a warning to finish crossing only. It is illegal to start crossing once the flashing red pedestrian light appears because it means that the safe crossing time for pedestrians is about to end. It’s important that you follow this rule so you’re not left on an intersection when traffic starts moving. If you haven’t already started crossing when the flashing red pedestrian light appears, you should wait to cross until the pedestrian light turns green.

Default speed limits
When it comes to speed limits, remember that in all urban areas the default speed limit is 50km/h, so slow down and look out for pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

Do you agree that these road rules are often not followed in the city?

Road Rules Awareness Week and the Top 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules guide were launched in February 2013 following a community call for a clearer explanation of the road rules.

To learn more, call 13 22 13 or find the NSW Road Users’ Handbook.