Drivers, mind your road manners
THE long-awaited completion of roadworks on the Ipswich Motorway has provided a much needed breath of fresh air to frustrated commuters.
The addition of a third lane and a slight increase of the speed limit - to 90kmh - have been credited with a significant increase in flow on the major road once labelled a car park.
But Ipswich's acting top traffic cop, Senior Sergeant Dave Silcock, has urged motorists not to forget the basics for avoiding an unnecessary motorway prang.
Acting Sen Sgt Silcock said police were still regularly seeing motorists tailgating and talking on mobile phones while driving.
He said these were two basic infringements that could lead to tragic consequences.
"The common thing to happen on the Ipswich Motorway is that something will fall off a truck, the car behind it stops to avoid it and the next car back hits them because they are following too close," he said.
"We see people still following at a car length at 80kmh.
"At that speed, you're covering 20m per second and the average reaction time is about two seconds - so you've hit the car in front of you before you've even had a chance to slow down."
Police recommend a following distance of 60m when travelling at 80kmh.
The speed limit on the Riverview to Gailes section of the motorway has been increased to 90kmh along the entire stretch.
This means all vehicles should stick to the left lane unless overtaking.
Sgt Silcock said police weren't sure if there were plans to increase the speed limit further.
"That's not a matter for police," he said.
Police have warned they will be enforcing the speed limit and, with modern, bright signage right along the highway, there are no excuses for not knowing how fast you should be going.
The early completion of Ipswich Motorway upgrade was expected to provide Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan with an extra $400 million to bring the budget to surplus next year.
Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese was due to announce the completion of the project - six months ahead of schedule - this week, resulting in a shift of $400 million in "milestone" payments from next year to this year.