Driving is differnt here in country Pennsylvania

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? 🙂


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25 Responses to Driving is differnt here in country Pennsylvania
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VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 6:50 am 06 Jul 09

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 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 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 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 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.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 7:00 pm 05 Jul 09

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…

Ivan76 Ivan76 4:34 pm 05 Jul 09

Pelican Lini, I had Drake Brockman drive Holt in mind on that last post, in particular, the cars that pull out from MacNaughton, Cussen & Kinsella sts heading towards the city will just pull out & cut you off then slowly accellerate leaving you having to bereak considerably. This is almost a daily occurance driving on Drake Brockman dve for me, especially during peak hours.

Pelican Lini Pelican Lini 11:25 am 05 Jul 09

“In my opinion the drivers are terrible here in Canberra, they generally don’t stick to the speed limit rather driving 10kph under the speed limit and a bit to the left as to annoy the crap out of the person behind whilst encouraging dangerous overtaking..”

Ivan76, which area of Canberra do you drive in? Down south you’re far more likely to annoy the crap out of other drivers if you have the temerity to observe the speed limits.
Traveling at anything less than the speed limit plus 10 seems to provide an open invitation to aggressive tailgating.
I’ve often blamed this Canberra tendency to observe speed limits as advisory notices only for the number of tickets I’ve clocked up across the borders.

Wanon Wanon 10:36 pm 04 Jul 09

monomania said :

Wanon said :

Coming from Queensland, I was shocked by the driving down here. Queensland driving seems to resemble what Sgt.Bungers is describing over there. Everything on the road is uber agressive here.

I think we all know it. Canberra drivers suck.

So how come in 2007, the road deaths per 100000 people in Queensland were 8.61 and in the ACT were 4.12
and for every 100 million kilometres were 0.74 for Queensland and for the ACT 0.43, figures typical of previous years?
(Road Deaths Australia: 2007 Statistical Summary)

Because everyone leaves the territory every long weekend or holiday! 😛

I’d like to see the insurance claim stats too if you’ve got them, that would be more representative of the aggressiveness of Canberra drivers.

NB. I didn’t come from Brisbane.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:40 pm 04 Jul 09

Amzing what a bit of common sense and basic courtesy achieves, isn’t it…?

Joshua Joshua 9:06 pm 04 Jul 09

I lived in Texas for a while and found almost no road rage or inconsiderate driving. I also travelled around the US and found pretty much the same thing everywhere I went.

My theory.
High levels of handgun ownership (especially in Texas). When you can almost guarantee that the bloke in the car in front of you has a loaded weapon in their glovebox would you tailgate?

AussieRodney AussieRodney 7:18 pm 04 Jul 09

Come to think of it, why is it that Canberra drivers speed up in the rain? Is it something to do with not wanting to get the car too wet before getting home? Or do we somehow believe that in getting home faster, we won’t get as wet ourselves?

Having come to Canberra from Adelaide (where BTW courtesy reigns), I simply cannot fathom this one.

Spideydog Spideydog 5:30 pm 04 Jul 09

Wanon said :

Coming from Queensland, I was shocked by the driving down here. Queensland driving seems to resemble what Sgt.Bungers is describing over there. Everything on the road is uber agressive here.

I think we all know it. Canberra drivers suck.

Coming from QLD, I personally saw more than 1 crash a day without fail on Brisbane roads. From my observations, QLDers seemed to have trouble with the stick on the right side of the steering wheel ??? Roundabouts, changing lanes, turning, you name it. LOL

Canberra drivers have a rep for being speedy gonzalas’s !!!! Sooo many times while traveling up the Hume did I notice a car come up from behind at a great rate of knots and then fly past … one guess at what rego plates were displayed ?? ACT.

All states have reputations as such, some deserved, some not.

Spideydog Spideydog 5:22 pm 04 Jul 09

taco said :

Does ACT do better than other states and territories because we have odd demographics? perhaps the fact that we earn more on average could mean that we have more newer/expensive cars with better safety features?

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we have our fair share of crap cars on the road m8 …….

Ivan76 Ivan76 5:18 pm 04 Jul 09

Its because the roads in Canberra are so damn easy to drive on that we have less accidents per capita, not because of any particular thing Canberrans do that is better/different than any other state.

In my opinion the drivers are terrible here in Canberra, they generally don’t stick to the speed limit rather driving 10kph under the speed limit and a bit to the left as to annoy the crap out of the person behind whilst encouraging dangerous overtaking..

I would suggest that Canberra is also the rubbernecking capital of Australia if not the world. Hell if it’s a nice day down at Uriarra we have even been known to stop, take photographs and post em on here for all the virtual rubberneckers to enjoy..

taco taco 5:06 pm 04 Jul 09

monomania said :

And the ACT does better than any other state and territory by a large margin so perhaps the fact that we actually drive our vehicles rather than simply direct them about is a safer way of getting from A to B.

We actually drive our vehicles? I thought we just made sure nobody else uses our lane while setting the cruise control to the posted limit regardless of conditions.

Does ACT do better than other states and territories because we have odd demographics? perhaps the fact that we earn more on average could mean that we have more newer/expensive cars with better safety features?

monomania monomania 4:45 pm 04 Jul 09

The United States ranks 42nd of the 48 countries measured in the number of fatalities per capita, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Transport Forum. Australia, Britain, France, Germany and Japan all did significantly better.

According to a 2007 NY Times article.

And the ACT does better than any other state and territory by a large margin so perhaps the fact that we actually drive our vehicles rather than simply direct them about is a safer way of getting from A to B.

monomania monomania 4:24 pm 04 Jul 09

Wanon said :

Coming from Queensland, I was shocked by the driving down here. Queensland driving seems to resemble what Sgt.Bungers is describing over there. Everything on the road is uber agressive here.

I think we all know it. Canberra drivers suck.

So how come in 2007, the road deaths per 100000 people in Queensland were 8.61 and in the ACT were 4.12
and for every 100 million kilometres were 0.74 for Queensland and for the ACT 0.43, figures typical of previous years?
(Road Deaths Australia: 2007 Statistical Summary)

Tony Tony 4:23 pm 04 Jul 09

I found the same when living in Ashburn, Virginia for 3 months last year.
Canberra drivers ARE aggressive, dangerous and careless, with zero scene of consequence.

Also the police presence on the roads in the USA is far stronger than over here.

Wanon Wanon 4:08 pm 04 Jul 09

Coming from Queensland, I was shocked by the driving down here. Queensland driving seems to resemble what Sgt.Bungers is describing over there. Everything on the road is uber agressive here.

I think we all know it. Canberra drivers suck.

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