Police preach patience

Static and roving police patrols will swarm Gippsland roads on the Labour Day long weekend as holiday-makers head to the coast.

Latrobe Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Peter Olorenshaw issued an early warning to drivers this week, urging patience.

“Before you get behind the wheel, make sure you’ve had enough sleep, be very conscious and aware of your route, be courteous and polite,” Act Sgt Olorenshaw said.

“Use the driver rest stops, there’s no hurry to get to the destination.”

The 6 to 9 March blitz on Latrobe, Baw Baw and Bass Coast roads will form part of a statewide police Operation Arid, focusing on speed, unlicensed and unregistered drivers.

Act Sgt Olorenshaw said local police would use extra speed cameras from Melbourne, along with automatic number plate detection devices, with the ultimate aim of reducing collisions.

“Motorcycles are particularly at risk. We’ll be concentrating on them, checking safety gear and making sure helmets and jackets comply with Australian design rules.”

Act Sgt Olorenshaw said between 2013 and 2014, there had been a 33 per cent reduction in serious injury collisions in the Latrobe Valley, however police would remain vigilant.

“We’ve got elevated levels of traffic driving through (the Valley).

“We’ll be targeting those back roads as well, because we know the public use those as rat runs to escape the majority of traffic.”

He urged drivers to be courteous on busy roads.

“I’d like to see people maintain hang back distance. If you’re travelling 100 kilometres per hour, you must have at least six car lengths between you and the car in front and if it’s wet, you must double that in order to maintain the safety margin.

“We’ll be booking for it.

“Also, people have forgotten about keeping left. That means on the freeway and the highway, when travelling 80km/h or over you must keep left unless overtaking or turning right.”