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Bus drivers educating Canberra drivers on traffic light etiquette?

By Watson - 27 September 2011 33

I was driving North on Northbourne Ave yesterday towards the Dickson intersection at 2.45pm. There was a fairly long line of cars in the lane to turn right into Antil St, so I decided to go straight instead. As I approached the red lights, I noticed the bus driver getting out of his bus. I pulled up at the lights and this is what I saw:

    The bus driver went round to the driver of the first car that  was stopped about 2 metres from the white stop line.
    He gestured towards the line
    He walked off and the first car moved forward 2 metres.
    (Up until then I was guessing that the bus had a mechanical issue and was asking for space so it could park on the median strip)
    The other vehicles, including the bus, closed ranks
    The arrow went green and a split second later – a New York minute! – the second car in the line beeped. Just a short, non-aggressive beep.
    The first car moved off immediately, all the other vehicles followed very closely, including the bus, and the whole line managed to get through the intersection before the light even turned orange.

Cars being slow to take off at the lights and leaving 3 car lengths between their car and the car in front of them is definitely one of my traffic pet hates. I am too polite to beep, but I often yell “Wake up!” very loudly, which is probably much ruder if my window’s open. So a bus driver seemingly educating drivers on this was very funny. But I think what gave me the most pleasure was that NY minute beep. Never seen anything like it in Canberra!

What’s Your opinion?


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33 Responses to
Bus drivers educating Canberra drivers on traffic light etiquette?
MonarchRepublic 3:51 pm 27 Sep 11

fernandof said :

Henry82 said :

The road rules specify you must maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. AFAIK if a car rear ends you, and you roll forward and hit the front; you’re responsible for the damage to the car in front because you didn’t leave a safe distance (i could be wrong though). Having said that, an excessive gap isn’t good. I was taught that you leave a 1 car space until the car behind you stops, then move up.

As a thumb rule, I leave enough space to see the back wheels of the car in front. In a typical sedan that’d be about a meter-and-a-half. That said, I do leave a smaller space when driving in Sydney and I’m quite happy with the relaxed attitude of Canberra drivers.

You beat me to it. I was taught as a general rule of thumb, that if you could just see the where the tyres of the car in front touched the ground, you were at a good distance. Of course, this does not work well with all cars, but for your average hatchback or family sedan, I found it useful. At the very least, I got a feel for what was the right distance, and dont have to give it thought now.

On not getting many cars through the green lights – from my experience the right hand turn from Northbourne onto Barry Dr is a bad one – more often than not not many cars get through. Yes, it doesn’t stay green for all that long, but so often, the first few cars take a long time to start moving. Must get lulled into a stupor of inattention with the long waits between green.

Ceej1973 3:49 pm 27 Sep 11

Cars being slow to take off at the lights and leaving 3 car lengths between their car and the car in front of them is definitely one of my traffic pet hates. I am too polite to beep, but I often yell “Wake up!” very loudly, which is probably much ruder if my window’s open. So a bus driver seemingly educating drivers on this was very funny. But I think what gave me the most pleasure was that NY minute beep. Never seen anything like it in Canberra!

And that goes for roundabouts too. They sit at the line in the left lane waiting for an invite or something whilst cars from the right in the centre lane, indicating to turn off to the right. There is a reason for 2 lanes, to promote smooth flow of traffic through roundabouts. Needless to say, the ones who sit there and ignore the other cars indicating (whilst all the cars to the right go around the roundabout),usually end up travelling at 20+ km/hr over the speed limit once they finally move off. I did a polite quick “beep beep”, not “hoooooooooonk” , to one of these procrastinators the other morning, and got the finger, death stares plus the works. I am starting to wonder if its worth my while being polite, maybe instead I should be like everyone else and abuse the crap out of day dreamers.

fernandof 3:09 pm 27 Sep 11

Henry82 said :

The road rules specify you must maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. AFAIK if a car rear ends you, and you roll forward and hit the front; you’re responsible for the damage to the car in front because you didn’t leave a safe distance (i could be wrong though). Having said that, an excessive gap isn’t good. I was taught that you leave a 1 car space until the car behind you stops, then move up.

As a thumb rule, I leave enough space to see the back wheels of the car in front. In a typical sedan that’d be about a meter-and-a-half. That said, I do leave a smaller space when driving in Sydney and I’m quite happy with the relaxed attitude of Canberra drivers.

Watson 2:58 pm 27 Sep 11

BlackIce said :

My first thought on this situation would be that the first car in the line was so far back that they were not on the pressure sensors that inform the controller for traffic lights that someone wants to turn right. Hence the long line of traffic and the bus driver taking the time to get out and indicate they should move up.

Possibly. I did once have that happen to me when I stayed back from the lights to wait in the shade on a hot summer day – with no one behind me. But I was much further back than she was.

troll-sniffer 2:57 pm 27 Sep 11

BlackIce said :

My first thought on this situation would be that the first car in the line was so far back that they were not on the pressure sensors that inform the controller for traffic lights that someone wants to turn right. Hence the long line of traffic and the bus driver taking the time to get out and indicate they should move up.

I was already composing this reply as I read down and you beat me to it…

milkman 2:57 pm 27 Sep 11

what_the said :

Ha ha ha what a legend!! God Canberras stuff around at the lights, I’m sure it’s half the reason we have ‘traffic’ here.

Absolutely. Long on pendantry and short on sense.

BlackIce 2:52 pm 27 Sep 11

My first thought on this situation would be that the first car in the line was so far back that they were not on the pressure sensors that inform the controller for traffic lights that someone wants to turn right. Hence the long line of traffic and the bus driver taking the time to get out and indicate they should move up.

Henry82 2:46 pm 27 Sep 11

The road rules specify you must maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. AFAIK if a car rear ends you, and you roll forward and hit the front; you’re responsible for the damage to the car in front because you didn’t leave a safe distance (i could be wrong though). Having said that, an excessive gap isn’t good. I was taught that you leave a 1 car space until the car behind you stops, then move up.

what_the 2:32 pm 27 Sep 11

Ha ha ha what a legend!! God Canberras stuff around at the lights, I’m sure it’s half the reason we have ‘traffic’ here.

Holden Caulfield 2:25 pm 27 Sep 11

arescarti42 said :

Solidarity said :

Can someone explain to me why some Asian drivers (always Asian) leave 5 or 6 carspaces between them and the car in front?

When stopped? I’ve never seen anyone do that, surely people would pull in in front of them.

Yes, I suspect what is being described is a “New York minute” or carspaces, which is probably more like enough space to fit one car but no more than two.

Erg0 2:22 pm 27 Sep 11

Someone once told me that they’ll happily stop well behind the car in front if there’s a nice, shady spot a couple of car lengths back.

arescarti42 2:14 pm 27 Sep 11

Solidarity said :

Can someone explain to me why some Asian drivers (always Asian) leave 5 or 6 carspaces between them and the car in front?

When stopped? I’ve never seen anyone do that, surely people would pull in in front of them.

Deref 2:13 pm 27 Sep 11

One of my pet hates too. The same thing applies to idiots who stop a car length or two behind the car in front at the beginning of a slip lane, preventing people who want to turn left from doing so.

Watson 2:13 pm 27 Sep 11

Solidarity said :

Can someone explain to me why some Asian drivers (always Asian) leave 5 or 6 carspaces between them and the car in front?

I once read this advice for women on “how to keep safe”. It included “Always leave a car’s length between you and the car in front when stopping at the lights so you can pull out if somone tries to hijack your car” or something to that effect. Maybe they all come from cities where carjacking is rampant? 😉

Solidarity 1:59 pm 27 Sep 11

Can someone explain to me why some Asian drivers (always Asian) leave 5 or 6 carspaces between them and the car in front?

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