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Early indications are….

By Henderj66 - 18 March 2010 54

I have recently relocated to the ACT and currently living on the North-side and I was hoping that Canberrans can advise me on a very strange motoring phenomenon that seems exclusive to the ACT.

Having driven around and commuted in  many of the world’s largest cities, most of which are no where near as planned and as easy to get around as Canberra, I have been worried by a design fault that seems to be at epidemic proportions with ACT registered motor vehicles.  In other countries, the ‘indicator’ on any vehicle, does what it says on the tin, it allows other road users to be aware that the driver ‘intends’ to change lanes, turn left or right etc.  This has been a mainstay of production for many many years.

Imagine my concern, when driving around Canberra, that the ‘indicator’ does not mean the driver ‘intends’ to manoeuvre, but will move out, across, cut up or generally disregard any other user of the road at that time.  If you are in the path of one of these soon to be recalled vehicles, and you do not get out of the way, preventing an accident, you are then berated by the ‘indicator’ and usually introduced to some rather agricultural language.

Can anyone help me understand this alarming situation and suggest how I cope next time I am in the way of someone who needs to manoeuvre, immediately, at all costs….(repeat to fade….)

[Ed] Welcome to Canberra

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Early indications are….
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BimboGeek 12:15 pm 23 Mar 10

As a pedestrian and as a cyclist I tend to find religion every time I enter a roundabout or pass an exit on a busy road (say commonwealth av) that nobody behind me has indicated an intention to use. namu myoho renge kyo.

DavoDavo 2:39 pm 22 Mar 10

Indicating at roundabouts is a bit like the old question “how long is a piece of string?” – it depends.

Roundabouts are of different sizes and have more, or less, traffic than others, so what that means is that you have to use commonsense – oh, wait… The average driver (anywhere, not just Canberra) doesn’t have any.

fermion 11:16 pm 20 Mar 10

Mordd said :

Observing said :

Grrrr said :

The indicating-left-as you-leave rule seems pointless, too. Does anyone think it serves a purpose?

Yes, as a pedestrian, I think it does. And if people actually realised it served a purpose, it would mean I wouldn’t have to take a deep breath at a roundabout crossing and hope that by indicating right they actually don’t mean “I’m really not interested in turning right but hooning my car through your easily pulpable body…and anyway I’M safe in my car so tough luck.”

As a pedestrian crossing busy roundabouts, you really do have to cross your fingers and hope for the best in Canberra.

Oh hell yes, trying to cross roundabouts in Canberra or Queanbeyan can take ages as you never know which way anyone’s going regardless of the few that indicate. I have lost count of the number of times someone has indicated to go left or right then plowed on straight ahead through a roundabout almost bowling you over in the process as you dive for the median strip (if there is one) to avoid becoming their next hood ornament. Personally I think there should be an on the spot $500 fine for failing to indicate, hand a few of those out and you might get more people remembering what their blinker is actually for.

I once tried indicating left before I left a roundabout and the woman in the car on the left tried to drive in front of me. I guess you should stop indicating right at some point, but not too early or the same thing would happen.

JC 8:32 pm 20 Mar 10

CraigT said :

Here’s a clue: it’s a public road, and the lane is not *yours*. If somebody wants to change lanes, they are perfectly entitled to do so, and the safe-braking distance you have between you and the car in front means they can change lanes perfectly safely.

Yeah it is a public road, but when changing lanes you must still abide by give way laws. If a vehicle is in the other lane with a minimum safe distance between them and the car in front, then you cannot change lanes into that gap. You are only allowed to do so if there is a safe gap to enter. Entering into someone safe gap means they must adjust their speed to let you in which means you have failed to give way to them. The car is under no obligation what so ever to let you in, so for that moment in time that lane is THEIRS.

CraigT 2:35 pm 20 Mar 10

Here we have a true admission from a typical Canberra driver:

Mr Waffle said :

I’ve found that they’re confirmerators, confirming the fact that the person is currently barging into your lane…

Here’s a clue: it’s a public road, and the lane is not *yours*. If somebody wants to change lanes, they are perfectly entitled to do so, and the safe-braking distance you have between you and the car in front means they can change lanes perfectly safely.

merlin bodega 10:10 am 20 Mar 10

Yes my ComCar driver has complained about this but I wasn’t that interested. I insist that he use his indicator at all times when he stops in the middle of busy highways. If there is a line of moronic drivers behind me and they have to swerve wildly to remain upright then that’s just there bad luck. Shit happens.

altkey 8:50 am 20 Mar 10

Der – didn’t you know that indicators were an optional extra on ACT plated cars? I thought everyone from interstate knew that. Invest in a stack hat and enjoy expecting the unexpected…

cleo 12:20 am 20 Mar 10

Canberra has the best roads and the worst drivers!

Wraith 12:13 am 20 Mar 10

Ah, I was right.

Mordd 11:14 pm 19 Mar 10

Observing said :

Grrrr said :

The indicating-left-as you-leave rule seems pointless, too. Does anyone think it serves a purpose?

Yes, as a pedestrian, I think it does. And if people actually realised it served a purpose, it would mean I wouldn’t have to take a deep breath at a roundabout crossing and hope that by indicating right they actually don’t mean “I’m really not interested in turning right but hooning my car through your easily pulpable body…and anyway I’M safe in my car so tough luck.”

As a pedestrian crossing busy roundabouts, you really do have to cross your fingers and hope for the best in Canberra.

Oh hell yes, trying to cross roundabouts in Canberra or Queanbeyan can take ages as you never know which way anyone’s going regardless of the few that indicate. I have lost count of the number of times someone has indicated to go left or right then plowed on straight ahead through a roundabout almost bowling you over in the process as you dive for the median strip (if there is one) to avoid becoming their next hood ornament. Personally I think there should be an on the spot $500 fine for failing to indicate, hand a few of those out and you might get more people remembering what their blinker is actually for.

JC 6:43 pm 19 Mar 10

johnthetechie said :

rb, from what you’ve described of your driving technique above, the driver behind you does not see you do your head check and the first time they find out you’re changing lanes is when you indicate momentarily before you swerve in front of them. This may not be the case, but have you ever considered using the indicator BEFORE you do your head check, thus allowing the driver behind you a further second to recognise your decision making?

Bad driving technique like that is exactly what this post is complaining about, and although posts about “bad canberra drivers” have been beaten to death with a stick on riotact, your driving is a prime example of the attitude most canberrans (including me) have on the road.

Indicating before you check is the bad technique. Doing that is likely to scare the shit out of anyone in the other lane, and possibly force them to brake when they shouldn’t have to. You should only change lanes if there is a safe gap to move into, and you should only indicate your intention to take a gap if there is a gap.

So clearly you should only indicate your intention to move lanes AFTER you have made sure it is safe to do so. So you check, indicate, give enough time for it to be noticed, quick check again then move.

JC 6:37 pm 19 Mar 10

Grrrr said :

The indicating-left-as you-leave rule seems pointless, too. Does anyone think it serves a purpose? The distance from one exit to the next on the average roundabout is a few metres, with plenty of suburban ones being sub-2m. Cars travel at more than a few metres per second. To those about to enter, it can’t offer any prior notice unless the roundabout is huge.

If you read the road rules (rule 118 of the national road rules), it says if practicable you indicate left to leave a roundabout. So in the case of small roundabouts you could probably get away, quite correctly and legally without indicating. Clearly the important thing is indicating correctly when entering the roundabout so everyone else knows where your going.

JC 6:30 pm 19 Mar 10

screaming banshee said :

The newly released road rules could do with a dose of plain english, but provided you are not significantly altering your course (diverging – apparently) then there is no requirement to indicated when you merge without crossing a line.

That has always been the case when you merge at a “form one lane”. Same too with the fact that the car in front has the right of way. Though the ACT road rules do say you should be prepared to use your indicators.

DavoDavo 4:26 pm 19 Mar 10

Canberra used to be SUCH a nice place, before all those nasty people from interstate came here – and our NICE Mr Standope wants more of them??? Good grief!

Well FWIW, I check there is sufficient room, give plenty of warning with relevant indicator, and then move to where I am indicating. If people are tailgating and don’t leave enough room I’ll move anyway – “DIDN’T YOU SEE MY INDICATOR, STUPID?”.

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