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.
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.