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I would like to share some thoughts
about electric and autonomous cars.
Firstly, electric cars could only be a
positive thing for the city and people
who drive short distances, but not for
those driving long distances just yet.
As for autonomous cars, most people
can’t drive a vehicle responsibly
anyway, so it could only save lives. But
will they be the sole domain of wealthy
people? The cost right now is too much
for most of us. Personally, I won’t buy
either one, as I love driving and there’s
no possible way I can afford it.
Mark Aylott, Rosemeadow
I have just read the latest Open Road
letters. One, in particular, caught my
eye, highlighting (quite rightly) the
concerns about charging electric
vehicles in remote areas of Australia.
I recently returned from a 6700km
motorcycle ride with three mates that
took us through outback NSW and
Queensland. While we were cooling
down in a Normanton pub, we ran into a
man called Doug. Why is this relevant to
electric vehicles? Well, Doug has just
built a large solar panel power farm, and
part of that infrastructure includes a
couple of electric vehicle charging
stations. Indeed, that very afternoon a
Tesla was due to drop in for a charge
before continuing to Karumba.
So, yes, remote Australia is an issue
that will require some thought and
supporting infrastructure. However,
when there are people like Doug around
prepared to develop alternative energy
options in remote areas, the solutions
may become less and less of a problem.
I think Doug deserves to be
congratulated for giving it a go
where others may fear to tread.
Richard Owen, Newcastle
In recent editions of Open Road, there
has been much discussion about
autonomous vehicles and their ability to
reduce road injuries and deaths, as well
as lower our carbon footprint as
individuals and as a nation. There’s a
real possibility that people currently
unable to drive – due to physical and
mental handicaps – will have the same
freedom of movement that the able-
bodied community now enjoy.
However, will it then be possible to
reduce or remove the so-called ‘traffic
calming’ measures? Driving over some
speed humps is enough to jar the false
teeth from my mouth! The streets of
many suburbs these days are now more
akin to obstacle courses. Perhaps
this could be an added and unseen
advantage of the computer age,
resulting in a smoother ride for all.
G. Hall, Birrong
Diamonds are a girl’s best
friend? Maybe not...
Every year, people in NSW and the ACT make more than 1.7 million
calls to the NRMA. As well as mechanical problems, our patrolmen
in the last year made 3767 rescues of babies or pets in locked cars.
However, sometimes the callouts are more unusual than others.
NRMA patrolman Steve Hedger recently went to help NRMA
Member Rebecca Pascall on the south coast because her car
wouldn’t start. Steve was expecting a regular mechanical job,
until he put his hand under the bonnet. As he lifted it up, he was
confronted with a 1.4-metre-long diamond python, sitting on top
of the engine. Once everyone recovered from their surprise, a local
snake handler was called who released it back into the wild,
uninjured from its adventure.
I’ve been driving around Sydney’s roads
for a long time. In more recent years, I’ve
noticed that almost all adults, if they have
jobs involving being on or near roads, will
wear a bright yellow/orange T-shirt, vest
or other garment to warn motorists of
their presence. From road workers to truck
drivers, delivery men, Telstra engineers
and surveyors, they all make it easy
for the motorist to see them and drive
carefully around them.
Yet, schoolchildren also use the road
and are more unpredictable than adults,
but they continue to wear dark school
uniforms, which are hard for drivers to
distinguish, especially on rainy days.
We have 40km/h speed restrictions for
vehicles around schools for 90 minutes
twice a day, when children are often
on the road, but outside the restricted
time and area they’re still around bus
and train stations while on their way to
sport and other activities. They should
have those reflective vests or, at least, a
large patch on their backpacks, which is
inexpensive and would make them more
visible to motorists.
Klara Dumont, via email
8/12/17 12:00 pm
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