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Kings Highway Holiday Safety for a young driver?

By mcmc - 22 December 2011 36

Wanted to know what other rioters thought of the Kings Highway safety.

My 17 year old daughter wants to drive to Pambula mid-January, but I have said no – it’s too dangerous for a new P-Plater.

I am going to drive her instead… at that time of the year it is busy and with little mountain experience and impatient drivers on the road it’s only going to end in disaster.

However, I haven’t driven on it in about 10 years, so I was wondering what it is like in terms of safety and traffic in the summer holidays.

Would you let your 17 year old drive on it? Interested to hear what you think!

What’s Your opinion?


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36 Responses to
Kings Highway Holiday Safety for a young driver?
harvyk1 9:24 am 22 Dec 11

I’m with the others (although I might be like you when it’s my daughter wanting to do the trip).
I first did the trip down the kings when I was your daughters age, and over Christmas. The big risk would come from friends in the car egging her on. So make sure any friends going with her won’t pressure her into driving faster than she feels comfortable with (especially around corners).

Also tell her not to be pressured into driving faster than she wants because the guy behind is impatient. There are quite a few overtaking area’s along the highway, and provided she doesn’t speed up in them most people won’t care.

Tell her if she is only doing 80 km/h when not at overtaking lanes, she should not speed up to 110km/h when there is an overtaking lane. Lots of slow drivers do just that because typically overtaking lanes are big and “safe”

qbngeek 9:16 am 22 Dec 11

I recommend you let her drive down and back so she does actually learn. If you do it she will never understand.

I also recommend you go down there with her beforehand, but let her drive down and back in her car. In her car is the important part as you will be able to see if there are any issues with the car. If you are not able to go that far before the big day, I would take her for a few drives from Gordon to Weston via Cotter. That will give her some idea of how to handle winding roads adn there are some surprising off camber cresting bends that throw you off if you are not paying attention.

The last thing I would recommend is make sure her car is safe. I will reapeat that, make sure her car is safe! Check the tyres, brakes, fluids, clutch (if applicable) and make sure it is driving okay. A sensible new p-plater in a well maintained car is not going to have any issues, a sensible new p-plater in a sh1theap that has brakes that overheat on the way down and lose their efficiency or the engine overheats on the way up and they have no idea what to do can be a disaster. Pay particular attention to the tyres, don’t buy the $30 chinese special deal at Kmart Tyres. In the wet, on that mountain, a good set of tyres can keep you out of the barriers, even at low speeds.

I grew up on the South Coast, so I have done more than my fair share of mountain driving in that area.

Deref 9:00 am 22 Dec 11

I well-remember going through the same angst when young Derefette took off on her first drive along the Kings Highway (better called the Kings Goat Track). It was a daunting experience for Mrs Deref and me. One piece of advice we gave her was not to be intimidated by the tailgating morons into driving faster than she knew was sensible. She made it.

poetix 8:58 am 22 Dec 11

I think I’ll get in some premature worry for when my daughter is old enough for all this. You can never start too soon.

Seriously though, if she’s competent, let her try it on her own. Many people would be more nervous with Mum or Dad in the car, watching everything they did.

AG Canberra 8:50 am 22 Dec 11

Classified said :

I drove the King’s Hwy when I was 17, and had no problems. I’d been taught to drive on mountains, though (techniques such as using the same gear to go down a slope that you would to go up), and was also taught to get the hell out of the way of other vehicles doing the wrong thing.

Do the drive with her, but let her do the driving. Take your time, enjoy it. Despite its reputation, the Kings Hwy isn’t really that bad.

+1

As a 17 yr old I made regular trips down the coast – but the first two were with my Dad as ‘instructor’. Gave him a bit of reassurance once he knew I knew what to do out on the open road.

nobody 8:49 am 22 Dec 11

It’s just like a lot of the safety adds we see, and the questions I’d consider are. Will there be a car load of distracting idiots with her, or some supportive friends. Do her relatives drive responsibly and give a good example, or do they drive like maniacs. Will they travel during the day, or late at night. Will her friends pressure her into driving them even if she has had a drink, or will they make better plans.

Thumper 8:48 am 22 Dec 11

johnboy said :

And the number 1 rule for mountain driving:

Don’t be afraid to slow down.

Just because the arsehole in the commodore behind you has driven the road a thousand times doesn’t mean Mark Webber on his first meeting with the road would be going any faster than you.

Arsehole can wait for the overtaking lane.

Number 2 rule is you never know what’s coming around the corner the other way.

Having driven this road many a time, Rule number 2 is very important.

However, all said and done, it is just a road. It is not dangerous in any way. Drive to your abilities and not beyond. Anticipate what is going to happen, ie, curvy road on mountain, slow down. Leave a gap to the car in front of you. If some nob overtakes into that gap, then pull back further.

Seriously, it’s not hard.

In fact, I don’t know why I’m even posting this as anyone with a driving license should already know it.

Leinna 8:47 am 22 Dec 11

Pambula – Shouldn’t she be driving down Brown Mountain instead?

johnboy 8:41 am 22 Dec 11

And the number 1 rule for mountain driving:

Don’t be afraid to slow down.

Just because the arsehole in the commodore behind you has driven the road a thousand times doesn’t mean Mark Webber on his first meeting with the road would be going any faster than you.

Arsehole can wait for the overtaking lane.

Number 2 rule is you never know what’s coming around the corner the other way.

MrPC 8:40 am 22 Dec 11

+2 for Johnboy. Coddling someone will teach them nothing.

Kuku 8:39 am 22 Dec 11

I’m also in mcmc’s shoes…I’m the Mum of a newly minted p-plater and I can forsee this being an issue during the holidays. When my son was around the 100 hour level as an L, we drove to Batemans Bay a couple of times. This was in the middle of the day, limited traffic etc. It did not stop the idiots (mainly older men) driving on his tail abusing him and dangerously overtaking.

She needs to get experience but I’m with JB on this one. Do a road trip together and share the driving.

betto 8:36 am 22 Dec 11

I understand your concern, but did you take her to practice on these kinds of roads when she was on her L plates? My parents made sure I experienced challenging driving conditions on my Ls so that they felt confident that I had some experience in these kinds of conditions and hence they didn’t place any restrictions on me when I had my Ps. If you didn’t get a chance when she was on her Ls, then maybe do some practice now? I don’t think you should drive her… maybe drive with her if you are worried, as a passenger. She needs the experience!

You sound a bit fatalistic that your daughter doesn’t have the skills or sensibilities to drive safely on a challenging road…. is your daughter particularly irresponsible? Will she be travelling alone or with a carload of distracting friends? How much driving experience does she have (I’m from NSW with all the mandatory driving hours for L platers, I know the ACT rules are much more lenient)?

JessP 8:34 am 22 Dec 11

+1 for johnboy

Classified 8:29 am 22 Dec 11

I drove the King’s Hwy when I was 17, and had no problems. I’d been taught to drive on mountains, though (techniques such as using the same gear to go down a slope that you would to go up), and was also taught to get the hell out of the way of other vehicles doing the wrong thing.

Do the drive with her, but let her do the driving. Take your time, enjoy it. Despite its reputation, the Kings Hwy isn’t really that bad.

johnboy 8:23 am 22 Dec 11

No one ever learned how to really drive pottering through regulated traffic lanes in Canberra, driving winding roads yourself is really the only way.

Assuming she’s not an idiot I’d say she’d be OK if she’s going to be alone in the car, but if it’s going to be full of friends then the risk factors are starting to multiply.

If you’ve got the time between now and then maybe a better compromise is to do a road trip with her and share the driving before the big weekend?

I’m just wondering if “you’re not capable, give me the wheel” is the message you want to be sending at 17 rather than “let’s do something together while you build your skill”?

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