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An ode to Canberra Drivers

By johnboy - 13 September 2010 39

Blogger “Girl in the City” has posted a lengthy rant on the Canberra driver.

Then there is the driver who attempts to park but doesn’t quite manage to park (a) straight (b) in between their designated lines or (c) without scratching my car. Thanks, alot!!!

Then there is the driver that thinks they are so special that they have to talk on their mobile while travelling 100 kilometres an hour down a highway instead of calling the person back.

It goes on a bit, but are Canberra drivers really so bad? And what would fix it?

Canberra drivers

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An ode to Canberra Drivers
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Jethro 6:56 pm 15 Sep 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

I would hazard a guess that the people vehemently arguing against the ‘crap Canberra drivers’ argument would be local Canberrans who, having only driven on ACT roads, aren’t aware of the actual way one should merge or drive in traffic or give way.

You would be wrong. Thank you, come again!

Wait – before you go, could I interest you and your delicate associates a special one time deal on free Googling? It comes with a box of tissues so you can all dry your eyes after another harrowing day on Adelaide Avenue – sorry, I meant FURY ROAD.

Why would I have a bias against Canberra drivers in the first place? I came here with no preconceptions of Canberra drivers and no motive to label them as such. My observations would therefore have no bias either way.

Jungle Jim 11:04 am 14 Sep 10

farnarkler – I do occasionally get tailgated by low-life drivers, but often a glare in my rear view is all it takes to have them back off. I accept that it’s a dangerous situation to be in, but it honestly doesn’t happen to me that often.

The “actually dangerous encounters” I was referring to were more related to events which have resulted in the need for me to take evasive action.

One such example happened a few years ago on Kings Avenue, just before the bridge (coming away from russell) when someone changed lanes without looking. I was in a 1965 model car at the time and having to break and slightly turn away from this car cause my jalopy, sans ABS, to enter a 4 wheel slide. Luckily, I was able to keep my head and managed to stop and exit the road before someone took out my passenger. That to me is a dangerous encounter on the road.

farnarkler 10:22 am 14 Sep 10

Sepi in Milan traffic lights are instructions, in Rome they are suggestions and in Naples they are Christmas decorations.

pajumist 10:22 am 14 Sep 10

My frustrations would be substantially less if everyone remembered that indicators (not confirmators!!!) are not optional extras, they’re there for a reason and I don’t have friggin ESP!

Thoroughly Smashed 9:39 am 14 Sep 10

sepi said :

In Denmark I noticed the anticipate green lights – they basically go just before the green light. I was horrified, but i realised it works cos noone runs red lights.

Did you notice anybody indicating at roundabouts in Denmark? They certainly don’t on the other side of the Skagerrak.

Woody Mann-Caruso 9:35 am 14 Sep 10

I would hazard a guess that the people vehemently arguing against the ‘crap Canberra drivers’ argument would be local Canberrans who, having only driven on ACT roads, aren’t aware of the actual way one should merge or drive in traffic or give way.

You would be wrong. Thank you, come again!

Wait – before you go, could I interest you and your delicate associates a special one time deal on free Googling? It comes with a box of tissues so you can all dry your eyes after another harrowing day on Adelaide Avenue – sorry, I meant FURY ROAD.

sepi 8:50 am 14 Sep 10

In Denmark I noticed the anticipate green lights – they basically go just before the green light. I was horrified, but i realised it works cos noone runs red lights.

In Naples they just seem to iignore traffic lights altogether.

p1 10:32 pm 13 Sep 10

Jethro, I’ll take your challenge, and accuse you of quoting anecdotes as evidence. 🙂

I would suggest that the things that stand out about Canberra drivers are the result of Canberra specific road conditions. Nice big wide roads with little traffic has resulted in drivers who don’t like heavy traffic, can’t merge, and expect to be able to whatever speed they like.

I’ve found drivers in other cities have peculiar and equally irritating bad habits unique to their locale. People in the maritime provinces of canada, for example, almost never indicate.

farnarkler 10:15 pm 13 Sep 10

There’s probably a good market in Canberra for a rear facing camera and radar system which records the number plate and the distance between your car and the vehicle tailgating.

mobilephone 10:15 pm 13 Sep 10

It seems that there a alot of drivers who think round abouts are overtaking lanes and also drivers who think that the car in front of them is invisiable… enough to drive very close to them.

Jethro 9:56 pm 13 Sep 10

I always enjoy this topic.

I would hazard a guess that the people vehemently arguing against the ‘crap Canberra drivers’ argument would be local Canberrans who, having only driven on ACT roads, aren’t aware of the actual way one should merge or drive in traffic or give way.

This is very often a topic that comes up for conversation when I socialise with other new Canberrans. We find relating our ‘what I saw happen on the road in Canberra today’ stories to be quite amusing. The number of ‘what the holy crap, that person didn’t really just do that?’ incidents that occur on the roads in the ACT are remarkable.

Every day I am amazed at the inability of people in this city to merge correctly, observe speed limits or following distances, use or change lanes correctly, exercise control over indicators, give way correctly or otherwise not do something which is plainly dangerous and incompetent. Yes, these things occur everywhere in every city and state, but the rate at which they happen in Canberra is not something I see elsewhere.

I am sure I will be flamed for this. I believe the last time I posted something about Canberra drivers I was shut-down with the old ‘anecdotes aren’t real evidence’ argument.

Woody Mann-Caruso 7:43 pm 13 Sep 10

the reason why ACT has a lower amount of fatalities is because most of the driving in ACT is on suburban streets, which aren’t that conducive to speeding

You don’t say (but have a look at the incidence of alcohol-related crashes in country areas and the role of articulated vehicles before you put it all down to speeding).

But surely, with all of our terrible drivers, we should be much worse off compared with other urban centres? I mean, given that we’re so badly trained and our behaviour is so poorly and ineffectively enforced, our fatal urban crash rate should be way over that for suburban streets in other states. Let’s do a quick check:

Fatal NSW metro crashes / (NSW metro population / 100,000) = 3.1

Oh – it’s the same as the ACT. So we’re back to where we started – given that we’re so bad at driving in urban areas – ‘truly terrible’, as it were – why isn’t this reflected in crash statistics?

I could so some stats for Queensland, but then I might have to show the dramatic drop in fatalities following the 1998 introduction of mobile speed cameras, and that’ll just upset some people.

bazinga 7:37 pm 13 Sep 10

Having moved to the ACT about a year ago the things that stand out here are tailgating and the kamikaze roundabout technique favoured by Canberrans. Give way to the car with the highest velocity.

p1 7:21 pm 13 Sep 10

Mimiboo said :

Woody Man Curuso – the reason why ACT has a lower amount of fatalities is because most of the driving in ACT is on suburban streets, which aren’t that conducive to speeding. In other states you have a lot of country roads, where the speeds are high and consequently a large percentage of fatalities occur.

I suspect it is somewhat more complex then that. Speeding on windy city streets is probably more likely to cause accidents then on open country one, and there are a lot more people to crash into.

A more valid argument you could have made might be that with a higher average income the average Canberristani drives a newer, safer car, resulting in less accidents and less injury when they do have accidents.

Mimiboo 6:12 pm 13 Sep 10

Woody Man Curuso – the reason why ACT has a lower amount of fatalities is because most of the driving in ACT is on suburban streets, which aren’t that conducive to speeding. In other states you have a lot of country roads, where the speeds are high and consequently a large percentage of fatalities occur.

farnarkler 6:07 pm 13 Sep 10

Jasere I can almost guarantee you that, if you drive along Elenborough St between Kaleen and Lyneham at the 60km/h limit, you will have some cretin right on your rear bumper who wants to go faster. It’s no wonder the mobile speed camera van is a regular sight along that particular stretch. They must make a fortune.

dollywolls 5:50 pm 13 Sep 10

Agree with farnarkler and others commenting on speeding and tailgating.

Having lived and driven in Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra, what really distinguishes Canberra drivers for me is their addiction to tailgating. Unless road conditions require otherwise, I drive at the speed limit. However, this isn’t fast enough for the plethora of dickheads on the road who leave barely two metres between them and me even when travelling at speeds of 80 kms and more.

Even when I’m one of a line of traffic that’s moving at less than the speed limit but still more than 60 kms, these neanderthals can’t resist driving so close that I can’t even see their headlights. Do they think I should drive OVER the cars in front or what?

Does Canberra have more than its fair share of idiots, bullies or both?

2.0 3:55 pm 13 Sep 10

rebcart said :

Mm, would appreciate an edit button on unposted comments. That should be “taken”, not “taking” – I WILL be getting a drivers’ licence. Eventually. When I can find someone to teach me to drive without my having to forego food for a year to pay for lessons.

Didnt you hear? you can get them out of Cornflake packets now, that’s where a majority of drivers get them from. At least then you can still eat…

Me no fry 3:14 pm 13 Sep 10

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

I wonder what miraculous, as yet unobserved factor……

What mystical energy….?

The answer – obviously – is Reiki energy.

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