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Driving is differnt here in country Pennsylvania

By Sgt.Bungers 4 July 2009 25

I’m over in the US at the moment for a short stint of summer camp work.  Been for a few drives… the driving style here in northern Pennsylvania is very different to home in Canberra.  Just trying to work out why…

Country road speed limits are 45-55mph here, roughly 70 to 90km/h.  In the ACT or surrounding NSW, roads of this quality would be 80km/h to 100km/h.

Interestingly… most drivers here seem to average 80 to 90km/h on all of these roads.  The driving style is far more relaxed. There’s very little tailgating or general agressiveness.  After speaking with locals, enforcement of speed limits is also relaxed… with most local officers letting you get away with 20mph (30km/h) over the limit before pulling you over. There are no speed cameras.

Overtaking on double yellow lines though illegal, is normal practice when safe.  Other drivers do not get angry about this and from what I’ve seen tend to slow down to allow the faster vehicle to pass.

In towns, speed limits are 25-35mph, same as home.  Though it’s the norm to sit at 15-20mph.  It’s not uncommon for drivers to stop for a pedestrian trying to cross the road even if they’e not on a pedestrian crossing.  That said… it also seems to be the norm that many drivers wont stop for pedestrians at all… be they on a crossing or not.

Right turn on red is permitted at every set of traffic lights unless sign posted otherwise.  Very few intersections have left turn arrows.

There are bike paths in towns and cities, but there are very few adult cyclists using them.  Interestingly, there are many roads without foot paths.

So is the driving style far more relaxed here because drivers aren’t nannied to death… treated like adults?

Or is it because everyone is terrified that any person on the road could be carrying a gun… so they respect each other a little more? 🙂

What’s Your opinion?


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Driving is differnt here in country Pennsylvania
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4 way stop signs would require drivers use courtesy and brains. People around here struggle with the 3 way stop signs (which are dead easy and very effective).

ant 10:25 pm 05 Jul 09

American drivers are on the whole a courteous lot. Just never drive in New York city though, they’re lunatics. Country drivers are usually more laid back… some of the drivers in SLC were most un-christian in their attitudes, too.

In the US, they have 4-way stop signs. Imagine that here. (they work very well).

Pelican Lini 9:13 pm 05 Jul 09

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Traveling at anything less than the speed limit plus 10 seems to provide an open invitation to aggressive tailgating.

So use the left hand lane…

VY I meant to mention in the previous comment that it doesn’t matter what lane you go in, the tailgating is still the same.

Hercsie 8:40 pm 05 Jul 09

I wonder how many straight roads though residential areas in Pennsylvania have – in the last 3 months – had 3 cars leave the road and in 2 cases actually crash into houses.

Happened on Ellenbourough st in Lyneham

youami 8:00 pm 05 Jul 09

I have never had a problem with driving in Canberra. I think that it is a combination of drving on exceptionally good roads matched with very little traffic. I come from Sydney and believe that my skills having developed from negotiating heavy traffic on a crap road system in Sydney and greater NSW gives me an edge for driving on a good road system here in the ACT. Aggressive drivers in ACT? Perhaps. And no, it doesn’t mean I am one of those tailgaters! 🙂

And if we are talking ACT drivers, remember that on average every 5 years 40-50% of Canberra’s population move in or move out (refer to ABS), so when we talk about ACT drivers we really are talking about Australian drivers who have come to the ACT!

And as far as suggesting that it is ok to travel at 30km/h over the posted limit just because the feeling is more relaxed is ridiculous! It is the same as saying that ACT drivers are aggressive! C’mon, speed limits (whether one considers them inappropriate for the road or not) is a *limit* they are not advisary regardless! Unbroken lines in the middle of the road are also there to let you know it is not safe to overtake! I don’t think you can suggest that driving is any different anywhere.

Finally, to answer one of your questions, whilst roads in ACT are good, yes we are nannied! The arrows at lights are ridiculous! They are not necessary at all times and certainly not at all lights.

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