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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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25 Responses to
Driving is differnt here in country Pennsylvania
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Clown Killer 3:50 pm 04 Jul 09

Or is it because everyone is terrified that any person on the road could be carrying a gun…

Could be. I noticed New Yorkers were exceptionally polite on the subway – if some one bumped you they would always make a point of apologising profusely – I suspect that the inclination to drive up someones ar$e, weaving back and forth and flashing your high-beams would be reduced in a place where it could earn you a face full of lead at the next set of lights.

damnintellectuals 3:43 pm 04 Jul 09

Dude, you just compared a foreign rural town with a metropolitan centre. Of course it’s different. You’re in rural Pennsylvania. Tell me, did you notice the Amish are different, too, from the folks that live in Kambah?

Panhead 2:45 pm 04 Jul 09

California is like that except for the no tailgating bit. Californian drivers speed, tailgate, cut each other off ect.

Spectra 1:41 pm 04 Jul 09

Another possibility is that everyone’s terrified of being sued into the ground if they cause anyone any harm.

AussieRodney 1:21 pm 04 Jul 09

Remembering of course that what you have described as a right turn is of course our left turn, which will make much more sense to those of us who have not yet had the “pleasure” of driving on the wrong side of the road.

And your questions – yeah, bit of both, perhaps.

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