BEST OF 2021: Are Canberra drivers becoming more aggressive?

Zoya Patel 354
Man honking a horn

It doesn’t take much to bring out the worst in motorists. But is it getting worse? Photo: Region Media.

Year in Review: Region Media is revisiting some of the best Opinion articles of 2021. Here’s what got you talking, got you angry and got you thinking in 2021. Today, Zoya Patel takes a look at the ‘mean streets’ of Canberra.

I never thought I’d say it, but the streets of Canberra seem to be becoming meaner these days. In the last month, I’ve experienced or been told about incidents on the roads that are more than just annoying, they are borderline sinister if not illegal.

A few weeks ago, a car tailgated me while I was driving at the speed limit on the Barton Highway, coming from Murrumbateman to Gungahlin. The driver ducked around me at a lane merge and went over the double lines to cut in front of me. I beeped my horn (because it was flat out dangerous). He slammed on his brakes – causing my car to skid to a halt and my passengers to dangerously jolt into their seat belts before he sped off. I was shell shocked. It was more than just aggressive, it was downright dangerous.

Then this week, a friend was driving behind a car towing a trailer with various items in it when one of the tables stacked on its side flew out of the trailer and impaled her car, jamming into the radiator. By some immense fortune, the car didn’t flip or skid, and she was able to stop without being injured. But the other driver drove off! They didn’t even check to see if she was OK and uninjured. They were clearly more concerned about avoiding a fine for their unsecured load. My friend is stuck with a massive bill and no witnesses.

READ ALSO: Man allegedly wheels away $70,000 in cash from University of Canberra Supermarket

And on another recent occasion, on the Federal Highway as it filters into Watson, I watched a car and a motorcycle engaged in a clear bout of mutual road rage, careening around each other, with the car getting closer and closer to the motorcycle in a way that looked extraordinarily dangerous. Both were clearly at fault, but the consequences could have been extremely dire, and the risk didn’t seem worth them making whatever point it was they were trying to.

Are we losing sight of how dangerous the roads can be and letting our emotions take over? These incidents are genuinely scary because any of them could have resulted in death if just one thing went wrong – if the road was a little slippery, if the car tyres were just on the wrong side of worn out, if the driver was a little less capable …

After the near-miss with the rude driver who cut me off and then almost caused a collision, I was jumpy in my car for weeks, scared that I would somehow offend another driver and have them react in an equally extreme way.

But those nerves are nothing compared to when I tow a horse float, which I do most weekends.

I anticipate people speeding past me, cutting in front because, God forbid, their schedule be put back by the two minutes they might have to wait to overtake safely. It puts us all in danger and really doesn’t seem worth it.

Maybe it’s always been like this, but compared to driving in other cities, I always felt Canberra drivers were generally more reasonable and calm. Our lack of traffic (compared to bigger cities) created a more sensible culture of driving because everyone can always get where they need to go, and usually within 20 minutes.

Is it just me, or are drivers getting more aggressive? Are we becoming complacent about how risky dangerous driving is and the consequences it can have? Do we need to change the way we monitor and police the roads, or is it time I invest in a dashcam and assume the responsibility myself?

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
354 Responses to BEST OF 2021: Are Canberra drivers becoming more aggressive?
Peter Ogilvie Peter Ogilvie 2:04 pm 13 Jan 22

I firmly believe that most people are psychologically unfit to have a driver's license, purely due to their demonstrated attitude behind the wheel.

Richard Carne Richard Carne 1:04 pm 13 Jan 22

Peter Ogilvie Maybe you don’t drive down the Clyde too often - ACT platers are the majority when it comes to the craziest of ‘petrol-heads’ on mountain roads: double the recommended speed limit or bust!

Richard Carne Richard Carne 1:00 pm 13 Jan 22

I think most people drive faster than they used to. More drivers tail-gate too especially the diesel/AdBlue guzzling utes and 4WDs.

Steve Austin Steve Austin 7:43 am 12 Jan 22

Too many stupid cyclists clogging up the flow of traffic, too many apartments being vomited up unleashing hundreds of new cars onto existing suburban roads...

    Richard Carne Richard Carne 10:44 pm 13 Jan 22

    Steve Austin Ha! Human reproduction - a “too many people” problem!

    Steve Austin Steve Austin 2:40 pm 15 Jan 22

    Richard Carne the myth that there are too many people has been debunked over and over, with regards to Canberra, there is a congestion problem from pathetic government and its greedy developer mates fuelled by a hot housing market... simples..!

Liz Lyell Liz Lyell 2:37 am 12 Jan 22

Yes I think the Dash Cam's a good idea! You never know when stupidity will strike.

Brian Kilgannon Brian Kilgannon 9:42 pm 11 Jan 22

Worst drivers in Australia. Since when is it optional to not stop at a stop sign. Cops never enforce the rules, really poor form Canberra.

Simeon Vipond Simeon Vipond 7:56 pm 11 Jan 22

Not just Canberra all over

Joshua F. Johnson Joshua F. Johnson 2:27 pm 11 Jan 22

Yes, it’s the byproduct of congestion. Clogged roads and turning a small community it to a deracinated metropolitan city.

Sskye Denise Sskye Denise 12:27 pm 11 Jan 22

Definitely more aggressive!! I don't think it helps that there are so many bad drivers on the road aka older generation, Asian and Indian ethnicity, their lack of awareness and confidence is actually a major frustration and hazard...

    John Faulkner John Faulkner 1:33 pm 11 Jan 22

    Sskye Denise you forgot to mention the young hoons withe overpowered cars on the roads

Brae Smith Brae Smith 12:01 pm 11 Jan 22

No they don’t know how to drive at all🤣🤣🤣🤣

Funny people

    Brae Smith Brae Smith 3:13 pm 11 Jan 22

    Jack Houston mate I’m the best there is. Hilux drivers tho 🤦‍♂️

Iliya Talevski Iliya Talevski 11:00 am 11 Jan 22

Yes aggressive and impatient me included.

Brendan Charlesworth Brendan Charlesworth 9:23 am 11 Jan 22

All expert drivers on this page, why is it always 'other' Canberra drivers?

Ravinder Singh Ravinder Singh 9:06 am 11 Jan 22

Stay in the left lane if you drive 60 in the 80 zones. or unless you are turning. Very frustrating!

Ben Allen Ben Allen 7:16 am 11 Jan 22

Worst drivers in the country and I’ve lived in every state but NT and Tassie. Worst by far

psycho psycho 1:17 am 11 Jan 22

Many Canberra drivers do not even see pedestrians, let alone consider their needs to know where the driver plans to go. However, other Canberra drivers are delightfully considerate. Like all places there’s a mix of good and bad drivers, with most in the middle.

What does seem to be specific to Canberra drivers is the belief that it’s fine to speed well over the limit, to ignore stop signs and fail to use indicators when turning. Again, there’s a positive side in that most Canberra drivers do stop at pedestrian crossings, unlike many from other places.

Pentti Muhli Pentti Muhli 9:28 pm 10 Jan 22

Canberra is where other people from Australia come to learn how to drive well ^_^

Julia Ross Julia Ross 9:02 pm 10 Jan 22

Definitely more aggressive and impatient.

Jaffa Groube Jaffa Groube 8:09 pm 10 Jan 22

Canberra drivers are so self centred and self-righteous with little consideration for others let alone seeing what is going on around them.

    Sue Stewart Sue Stewart 4:30 pm 11 Jan 22

    Agree - they have their own agenda without "reading" other drivers better.

Peter Miller Peter Miller 7:57 pm 10 Jan 22

Always been yobs.. nothing has changed

Rodney Hartley Rodney Hartley 6:04 pm 10 Jan 22

Lockdown has made people less patient and much ruder and what's with idiots stopping across intersections like coming out of fyshwick onto Canberra ave towards manuka/Kingston and blocking the intersection just because they don't want to wait for the lights to change again definitely going to be roadrage there soon

« Previous 1 8 9 10

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site