RACV people: the road rules expert

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Emily McClean

Emily McLean’s title as one of RACV’s senior engineers for roads and traffic masks her true worth – she can explain the roundabout rule.

I respond to member questions, whether it’s road rules, a parking fine or an issue they’re having. They might be having trouble with a road authority, or something’s happening to a road nearby and they don’t quite understand it.

I need to be able to explain road rules in simple terms, because they’re complex – after all, they’ve got to cover every situation on the road! Being able to distil that into a couple of sentences is often a challenge. My background is in civil engineering, I specialised in traffic and transport engineering at university.

I went through 600-odd pages of the old road rules and compared it with the new version to find out what had changed when the new rules came into effect on 1 July last year. VicRoads had made changes and hadn’t given us all the details. We realised that there were some issues with the rules and the way they were written.

We keep track of trending issues and will sometimes take them up on behalf of members, usually when we see more and more people coming to us about it.

It’s a challenge to keep abreast of what the new issues are. Autonomous vehicles are a huge one. They change the whole road-safety environment.

When people find out what I do, they always have a question. The rules we get asked about constantly are merging, roundabouts and U-turns. Always. For 13 years it’s been those three.

I can’t drive anywhere without noticing road hazards. I’m always looking at things such as the line marking and whether or not it’s right
for the situation. I can’t help myself.

One of the least known road rules states that you’re not allowed to leave your window down by more than two centimetres when more than three metres from your vehicle. It’s not considered secure. You can get a fine for it.

The best part of my job is that it combines engineering and creativity. It’s about speaking to our members, hearing their concerns and acting on their behalf to improve roads and transport.

Written by Jade Thrupp. Photo by Meredith O'Shea.
February 12, 2018

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