I am often grumpy, just asking my colleagues. But I’m rarely more grumpy than I am after driving through Melbourne’s suburbs, fresh from difficult encounters with dangers often forgotten on four-wheelers.
I am fortunate enough to have driven on five continents and over 50 countries, which has given me plenty of context to form a fuzzy view of Australian driving.
An almost complete lack of driver training here – as eloquently described by our friend Steve Pizzati – has produced a subset of Australian drivers who are both angry and timid, overconfident yet ignorant. Dunning-Kruger is a prime example.
It can be terrible out there, I’m sure you’ll agree. After doing a quick office poll, here are some behaviors Specifically provoke us.
Don’t some people know that you shouldn’t sit in the right lane unless passing?
Those who occupy the fast lane below the speed limit – either because they don’t know it or are self-appointed by the road police – cause a lot of frustration there.
They cause traffic to back up and make mistakes from cranky people stuck behind. Just try doing this on the Autobahn and see how long it takes before the 7 Series pushes you out of the way.
It’s perfectly fine to drive below the legal limit if that’s what makes you feel comfortable, but don’t hold people back while you’re at it, please.
The inefficient use of the flash manifests itself in every way.
There are motorists who believe in telekinesis, because they change lanes without notifying those around them.
Then there are also those who point out and right away change lanes, as if using that little stalk near the wheel instantly clears your path on all sides.
Let’s not forget the people who drive with their lights on for just a few minutes by accident, ignoring the second guess they’re doing it all and the errands behind their backs.
Worst of the bunch? People who come to a traffic light have multiple lanes and only stop once at a red light, remember to direct on the right. If you had given us some notice, we could have moved to another lane, so as not to get stuck behind you while you wait for a clearance…
Am I the only one who often has to brake in the middle of the road?
You must give way to a vehicle already there that you are in danger of hitting. This often manifests as giving way to the right. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
However, many people stop when they should, or go when they should, reducing the inherent efficiency of detours to begin with.
I get it, it’s sometimes difficult to tell if your lights are on if the road itself is well lit. Furthermore, not everyone’s car has a sunset sensor.
However, for all of this, I can’t remember any recent night commute where I haven’t seen a car or three people trudging along without lights or using spotlights. daylight instead.
Or perhaps worst of all, high beams hit oncoming traffic.
When driving at night, just take a microsecond to consider your surroundings. Check your lamp stem and assembly, and monitor the light pattern directly in front of your grille. All your answers can be found there.
Australia has really strict speed restrictions, in which departments issue fines if it’s just 3km/h over the limit.
That means you may find yourself caught between a rock and a hard place: speeding beyond the designated speed limit with a dual-cab driver at high visibility practically hitting your bumper or speeding to change lanes and risk fines from hidden cameras.
But beyond those scenarios, many Australians have adjusted, gratuitously regretting, just because.
The hardest part is when the culprit is driving old cars with poor brakes and callused tires, but in any case, it’s an annoying and dangerous thing.
This category is associated with poor instruction, but definitiveness is key on the roads.
If you see a gap, deal with it promptly. If you need to cross a lane or two, signal clearly and seize the opportunity when it presents itself. And if you’re getting to the end of the lane, don’t shoot ahead of the queue and pivot everyone with an apologetic final move.
Melburnians are so poorly matched that we have traffic lights that allow individual cars to pass through major highways now…
I know, I know, you really wanted to see how many likes that Insta story got. Don’t do it, stop completely.
Anyway, not while driving, one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the phone, eyes and mind occupied while your car gets closer and closer to me over a double line.
Also not when the lights are stationary, because you will be slow to absorb them when they turn green because you are paying attention elsewhere.
Simply put the device down, use it hands-free, or pull over.
Have you ever waited an age for an overtaking lane, only to find the slow car ahead matched your speed when you finally decided to cycle through them?
Is it a manifestation of a misplaced sense of ownership of the road? An inferiority complex? Just a tiny feeling? Why do this?
Take a trip somewhere in regional Australia, and if you don’t once come across someone really trying to stop you from passing them, I’ll eat my flat cap clean.
Hey, do you drive trucks? A bus? Kudo to you and thanks for your important service.
Otherwise, you don’t have to veer into a parallel lane to have enough room to turn. I don’t care how big your car is.
You also don’t have to imitate the Scando movement, turning one side before turning the other. You are not a Finnish protest star, you are a business consultant.
Ah, irony, you say. Thin-skinned journalists complain about road rage!
Guilty. But even so, there are people who are truly fuming, who scream, rave and scream, and in some cases, physically threaten those around them.
If you are the kind of person who flips the bird or tries to get to the side of other passersby, you should jump into the nearest crate and never go out.
How about you? What upsets you there? I want to see the comments shoot out!