Traf­fic jam not time to blow your trum­pet

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By MARK HINCH­LIFFE

BLOW­ING your horn in traf­fic took on a new mean­ing for one com­muter re­cently seen prac­tis­ing his trum­pet while stuck in a Bris­bane peak-hour jam.

RACQ spokesman Mike Sopinski says it is the most bizarre traf­fic jam sight­ing their mem­bers have wit­nessed and ac­cord­ing to one road safety ex­pert it may not be as dan­ger­ous as it ap­pears. ‘‘Among the more com­mon com­plaints we have heard are driv­ers seen do­ing their hair, make-up, shav­ing/groom­ing, opening and read­ing mail, leaf­ing through the news­pa­per and even eat­ing break­fast,’’ Sopinski says.

‘‘One mo­torist re­ported to have been ob­served eat­ing ce­real from a bowl with a spoon while stopped at traf­fic lights.

‘‘How­ever, the most bizarre re­port we have heard about is the one con­cern­ing the mo­torist ac­tu­ally seen prac­tis­ing the trum­pet while be­hind the wheel in a traf­fic jam.’’

Cen­tre for Accident Re­search and Road Safety — Queens­land (CARRS-Q) Pro­fes­sor Si­mon Wash­ing­ton says that the in­ci­dence of dis­tracted driv­ing is more com­mon among com­muters than other road users.

‘‘Com­mut­ing is a rou­tine thing and peo­ple get fa­mil­iar and com­fort­able with the route, so they be­come com­pla­cent,’’ Prof Wash­ing­ton says. ‘‘They tend to dis­en­gage a lit­tle more in the com­mute to the point where they are not aware of the real risks.’’

How­ever, Prof Wash­ing­ton says the risks of dis­tracted driv­ing are less se­vere in com­mut­ing traf­fic.

‘‘The good side is that in heavy con­ges­tion the risk of se­vere in­jury is less be­cause it’s slower traf­fic,’’ he said.

‘‘But the down­side is if you have a crash in a com­mute there is a huge eco­nomic cost of de­lay­ing other com­muters be­cause of your dis­trac­tion.’’

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