As Queensland’s road network grows, motorists will need to adapt to new driving situations, including tunnels.
Tunnels make travel more convenient. However, they are confined spaces that leave little room for error. Motorists need to pay particular attention to tunnel safety. Browse the tips and safety guidelines below to ensure you drive carefully in tunnels.
What are the main points to remember when travelling in a tunnel in Queensland?
When travelling in a tunnel in Queensland, you should:
- avoid changing lanes if possible
- follow the directions displayed on signage and watch out for any changes in the speed limit
- always follow the speed limit and always obey the Queensland Road Rules – all speed limits in tunnels are enforced
- keep a safe distance from the car in front (at least a two-second gap)
- try not to brake suddenly, especially in peak hour when traffic is heavier
- secure your load - penalties can apply for insecure loads in tunnels
- take extra care when merging and entering a motorway near a tunnel
- move into your exit lane with plenty of time to spare.
What should I do when entering a tunnel?
When entering a tunnel, always remember to:
- listen for updates or important traffic information on your radio
- turn on your headlights
- take your sunglasses off (unless prescription glasses are required)
- obey all traffic signs, signals and pavement markings
- avoid changing lanes if possible (this improves safety for everybody in the tunnel)
- keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, even if traffic is slow.
What should I do if my vehicle breaks down or I crash in a tunnel?
Never enter a tunnel if you suspect your vehicle is faulty. If you break down or crash:
- drive safely out of the tunnel if possible
- pull into a breakdown bay or find a safe place to stop on the side of the lane and out of the way of traffic.
- switch your hazard lights on
- call for help and wait in your vehicle (if it’s safe)
- use an emergency phone if one is nearby and you can reach it safely.
What should I do if I am caught in traffic while travelling in a tunnel?
Traffic jams are rarely pleasant but can be particularly frustrating in tunnels. Staying informed can help. Turn on your radio – most radio stations give regular traffic updates and you may hear specific updates about the situation in your tunnel.
Make sure you keep a safe distance from other vehicles, even if traffic is moving slowly. Turn off your engine if traffic is at a standstill or if you’re instructed to do so by an authorised traffic controller. Idling for long periods of time produces higher levels of dangerous pollutants.
What should I do if there is a fire in the tunnel I am travelling in?
Do not enter the tunnel if you see smoke ahead or have been warned there is a fire inside. Pull over and wait for instructions via radio or a message board.
If you are in a tunnel and see smoke or fire and have not received advice by radio or an electronic message board:
- pull over
- turn off the engine
- leave the keys in the ignition
- walk towards the exit.
If your vehicle catches fire, pull into a breakdown bay or the side of the lane and turn off the engine. If it is an engine fire, release the catch on your bonnet and spray the fire through the gap with a fire extinguisher, if one is nearby. Do not open the bonnet as oxygen will fuel the fire.
If you can't put a vehicle fire out, leave your keys in the ignition and use either a tunnel emergency phone or a mobile phone to call 000. Follow any instructions given to you. If in doubt, simply exit the tunnel as quickly and safely as possible.
Why are speed cameras located in tunnels?
Fixed speed cameras are installed on roads that have a crash history or a potential risk of speed-related crashes. The very nature of tunnels makes speeding through them particularly risky.
The most common hazard in a tunnel is a vehicle breakdown or crash that may cause a fire or result in serious injury. Crashes in tunnels can prove extremely costly in terms of human life, increased congestion, pollution and repair costs. Tunnels can also complicate the rescue efforts of emergency services personnel.
Speed cameras in tunnels encourage you to keep within the speed limit, which reduces your risk of crashing.