1 November 2018

Dangerous Canberra driving caught on camera could have had ‘tragic outcome’

| Glynis Quinlan
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A still from a video of dangerous driving on William Hovell Drive which was posted on the Canberra Drivers Facebook site.

Extreme tailgating on William Hovell Drive which has been caught on camera has been labelled ‘dangerous’ and ‘irresponsible’ while also highlighting an ongoing issue on Canberra roads.

Dash-cam footage of the risky driving has been posted on the Canberra Drivers Facebook site with the heading ‘What a tool’ and shows a man in a black car crossing double lines to overtake two cars in the face of oncoming traffic.

He then tailgates the car with the dash-cam, swerving from side to side multiple times in a clear attempt to get past despite the busy traffic. However, the intimidating behaviour proves ineffective in terms of the driver in front who can be heard saying “What are you going to do?” and “You’re on camera … smile”. The video below is shared from the Canberra Drivers site.

ACT Policing called the driving “dangerous” and said it posed risks to other drivers.

“Using a vehicle to harass or intimidate other road users in this manner poses a risk of serious injury to all involved,” an ACT Policing spokesperson told Region Media.

“Drivers need to be mindful that they are sharing the roads with other road users, and that the safety of all road users is paramount.”

NRMA NSW/ACT spokesman Peter Khoury was appalled at the driving shown on the video.

“It’s dangerous, irresponsible and shows a lack of driver courtesy. It’s all of the things we don’t want people to do,” said Mr Khoury.

“It’s a safety issue – he crossed double lines into oncoming traffic. And it’s a form of road rage.

“If they’d mistimed that crossing into oncoming traffic it could have had a tragic outcome.”

Mr Khoury said that past NRMA surveys of members have shown that tailgating is the “biggest aggravator” on ACT and NSW roads.

A still from the video showing the extreme tailgating.

It is a bigger concern for drivers than ‘not letting drivers merge into lanes’ (second biggest) and ‘slow drivers hogging the right-hand lane’ (in third place).

A survey of over 1,500 motorists in the ACT and NSW which was carried out in 2012 found that 69 per cent of respondents had been tailgated and over half (51 per cent) had another driver intentionally cut in front of them.

Mr Khoury said that members consistently tell the NRMA that tailgating is both frustrating and dangerous.

Speaking to Region Media about road rage in June, ACT Officer-in-charge of Traffic Operations, Station Sergeant Marcus Boorman, said that Canberra drivers have problems with patience and a sense of entitlement.

“We have a very good road network around the ACT and we don’t have the volume of traffic that other big capital cities do and so our gridlocks aren’t like Sydney and Melbourne,” Station Sergeant Boorman said.

“I think Canberrans are used to getting everywhere fairly quickly, they don’t have to travel great distances and I think sometimes they get a little bit frustrated when they’re slightly inconvenienced.

“I think another issue in the ACT which can cause road rage incidents is people who want to travel so closely behind the car in front. I’ll just push this person along, push this person along – they tailgate. So that person slows down, so they get frustrated and they make poor decisions.”

According to the ACT Policing spokesperson, 50 traffic infringement notices have been issued for tailgating so far this year.

The ACT Policing website says that a traffic infringement notice of $367 and one demerit point may apply if a driver is stopped by police for tailgating. If the incident is referred to court, drivers can incur fines of up to $3000 plus court costs.

Drivers can also be charged by police for ‘menacing driving’ with penalties of up to $15,000 and 12 months imprisonment.

The ACT Road Rules Handbook says that motorists should keep a gap of at least three seconds or more between their vehicle and the one ahead.

“Police would like to remind road users to always give yourself time to react to sudden changes in driving conditions by leaving a safe distance to the vehicle in front of you,” the spokesperson said.

Are you concerned about the amount of tailgating on Canberra roads? Let us know about your concerns and experiences in the comments below.

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I’m a fairly new driver on Canberras roads. I use Gunghalin/tuggeranong parkway each day. The constant extreme flouting of the rules amazes me. Drivers going 10km over is so common I barely notice now, but it’s the 20-30km an hour over ones that leave me shaking my head. I find the worst time is of an evening after 10pm. I always get overtaken by at least two or three cars doing 20-30km over the limit.
Every time I pray there’s a mobile speed van up the road, waiting to wipe the inconsiderate smile off their faces, but there never is … except occasionally on weekends when the overtime is so much better than daytime patrols.

Queanbeyanite11:39 pm 08 Nov 18

I think Canberra drivers tailgate otherwise they will be ‘leapfrogged’. If you leave a 4 second gap with the car in front that space is fair game for the impatient driver behind to overtake and cut in very close. If you learnt to drive here you wouldn’t know any better. As many other commenters have said; if they’ve only booked 50 drivers this year then there’s your problem right there

Ive seen that black subaru forester before too, drives like a tool pretty much every day… but since Canberra has NO POLICE TRAFFIC PATROLS… like EVER, then this tool can drive like this forever, and ever, and ever…..

Absolutely, I get tailgated quite often because I sit bang on the speed limit. When I was a new driver, it was quite intimitating but now I stay my course and if my tailgating tormentor gets too close, I start to gradually slow right down until they get the message and back off.

This can be quite a good ploy, Christof. But you need to watch out for the road-rage types like that black Forester driver who, when they DO get past, will cut in and brake right in front of you just to show you they’re the boss….

The trouble with many speedometers; they actually record a higher speed than the car is going, so sitting on its marked speed, might actually be below the speed limit. Varies with car.

Below is a link to another recent example on the Canberra Drivers Page. I am sure we all have our theories about the why. https://www.facebook.com/880903861938933/posts/2434266929935944/

Not that it excuses the driver of the car being such a tool, but the bike lane splitting is illegal and dangerous. If you choose to do it, you kinda accept the risk.

The person is not mentally suitable for driving. Do they still have a licence, and if so, why?

I reckon the best way to reduce problems on the road would be to psych test people when they apply for and renew licenses. Screen out people with bad attitudes like aggression, excessive risk taking etc.

I have to ask if the good sergeant kept a straight face when he said 50 drivers had received infringement notices so far this year?

I think that pretty much sums up why we are experiencing an epidemic of dangerous driving. The police effort is lacklustre and the Ministerial oversight is somewhere between disinterest and ineffectual.

People like myself have given up on even bothering to report instances of dangerous driving, instead making sure we leave ourselves plenty of space and expect to see the worst. Usually I am not disappointed.

Bloody cyclists! I pay road tax!

I drive along that road almost every day, although what that person was doing was overly stupid, most of the tailgating that goes on down there is a result of somebody doing 70 in the 90 zone, even heading downhill. Every morning you see somebody driving along at 70 or less, with nobody in front of them and a mile of cars backed up behind them. Police that too and a lot of these incidents will go away.

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