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Road rules, options or Law?

By Psygorian - 6 April 2009 76

As we are all aware, there will always be those Canberra drivers around on our roads that drive with no thought for anyone but themselves.

When you go to work in the morning, look around you to see just how many other drivers around you are on their mobile phones.

“Keep left unless overtaking” is not an option, its a road rule that when ignored holds everyone up.

It may be time for some refresher courses for drivers that get caught for driving in the right hand lane talking on their mobiles doing 20km/h under the prescribed signage.

Frustrated drivers are usually the ones that will cause an accident because one driver is affecting 50 others trying to get to work.

Maybe a police blitz in unmarked cars during peak hours to raise awareness maybe the answer? Any ideas?? 

What’s Your opinion?


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76 Responses to
Road rules, options or Law?
ant 11:07 am 06 Apr 09

dvaey said :

I do love it when people jump in with answers without the facts. According to the RTA, at http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/trafficinformation/downloads/00_03.pdf ‘Keep left unless overtaking’, means what it says. Its not a courtesy thing on freeways only, it is applicable anywhere the roadsign is in place, and is enforcable by law.

The law hasn’t changed. It is law to use the left lane (unless overtaking) on any multi-lane road where teh speed limit is 80 or above.

It is also law to be in teh left lane (unless overtaking) where a “keep left unless overtaking” sign is erected.

If neither of these conditions exist, being in the left lane is a courtesy, it is not law.

Pedantic, but that is the law. On slower roads, like say Limestone, you can be in either lane, and common sense says you’d choose the lane you’re going to be turning from.

Hells_Bells74 10:37 am 06 Apr 09

“Canberrans are angry, unskilled drivers”.

Here I was thinking I was a Canberran.. Can’t possibly be if I’m not one of these angry, unskilled drivers. My ruling planet is Mars I’ll stick to that then.

trevar 10:31 am 06 Apr 09

dvaey said :

Grail said :

Obeying “Keep Left Unless Overtaking” signs is law in NSW where the RTA road rules apply.

Actually.. from the first line of the pdf I pasted above “On 1 December 1999, New South Wales adopted new road rules. These new road rules include the Australian Road Rules.”

Most road laws now (for the last 10 years) are part of the Australian Road Rules, for exactly the reason you pointed out, that different states had different laws that applied.

When I first moved to Canberra a bit over a decade ago, the ACT was the only jurisdiction I knew of where keep left unless overtaking didn’t apply. It was soon after that that the ACT law was changed to conform with the Australian Road Rules. So, it is true that you do have to keep left unless overtaking, but it has not always been so, and some drivers haven’t caught up yet.

I think the national one is a silly change and the old rule of ‘keep left unless you’re doing the speed limit’ was more sensible, as it permitted drivers travelling at the speed limit to clog the roads for speeders, frustrating them (and hopefully increasing the chances of them having a crash and dying (although I would prefer if these people would die without risking everyone else’s lives)).

deezagood 10:12 am 06 Apr 09

Does anybody remember the Canberra road-campaign t.v. ads that were briefly on in the early 90’s :’It’s different out there’; targeting Canberra drivers who go interstate? The ads were designed to remind Canberra drivers that they needed to change their appalling driving behaviour once they left the ACT or they might end up dead on NSW or Victorian roads.

The ads gave me a good giggle – ‘It’s Different out There’!!! Canberra drivers can afford to be bad because the roads are so fantastic and driving is incredibly easy here.

ant 10:04 am 06 Apr 09

Canberrans are angry, unskilled drivers. I was musing on this yesterday. I get tailgated a lot, because my old jalopy just isn’t a go-fast car and I’m over it. I tootle around at the speed limit, I hate being in the right lane (feels very weird in the US, that’s the slow lane), I indicate, I let people in, I merge religiously, and the angry people I observe, using their cars as devices to impose their will on others is just incredible.

Mind you, I don’t slow down on roundabouts. The jalopy corners rather well! Corners are fun.

The other day, I saw a doozy that just illustrates the amazing attitude of “drivers” here. I was heading back to NSW around the airport (not rush hour). Approaching the last airport roundabout, before you go behind the runway, 2 cars were coming into Canberra on the roundabout. The one in the outside lane was just normal, going around. The car on the inside lane crossed over the lane markings, into the outside lane, he was about 2 feet over, and then evidently noticed the car already there, and recovered.

I then saw the driver of the errant car pointing his whole arm, outstretched, at the outside lane car that was now exiting, mouthing something, his whole face contorted.

This guy had moved into the other car’s lane, he was in teh wrong, and he was apoplectic with rage and screaming… at the car he’d almost hit with his mistake?

This seems to be the attitude of a lot of drivers here. They drive poorly, their attitude to the road and others is just appalling, and I do wish more was done.

Marked police cars have an amazing effect on tailgaters, I’ve noticed. Marked Police Car = No Tailgaters.

dvaey 10:02 am 06 Apr 09

Grail said :

Obeying “Keep Left Unless Overtaking” signs is law in NSW where the RTA road rules apply.

Actually.. from the first line of the pdf I pasted above “On 1 December 1999, New South Wales adopted new road rules. These new road rules include the Australian Road Rules.”

Most road laws now (for the last 10 years) are part of the Australian Road Rules, for exactly the reason you pointed out, that different states had different laws that applied.

Grail 9:49 am 06 Apr 09

Obeying “Keep Left Unless Overtaking” signs is law in NSW where the RTA road rules apply.

I agree with Sgt.Bungers though – IMO one of the reasons Canberra drivers are so bad is that our roads are so good. Give us narrower lanes, roads that twist and wind and have three major intersections every 100m, and we’d sharpen up our act in a hurry.

As for quality of driving, Canberran drivers are the worst of the country, with a possible exception for Perth drivers who just don’t understand the whole two-lanes-merging-into-one thing. At least in Sydney everyone else is trying to help you because they know that one mistake will clog up the entire city for four hours.

dvaey 9:40 am 06 Apr 09

I do love it when people jump in with answers without the facts. According to the RTA, at http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/trafficinformation/downloads/00_03.pdf ‘Keep left unless overtaking’, means what it says. Its not a courtesy thing on freeways only, it is applicable anywhere the roadsign is in place, and is enforcable by law.

The problem isnt that Canberra needs more unmarked police cars, the problem is we need more MARKED police cars. What good is an unmarked car, giving out 2 fines during rush-hour, as opposed to a high-vis MARKED car sitting on the side of the road, to remind everyone theyre being watched. Unmarked cars are good for generating revenue, not real good for rapidly changing the drivers behaviour.

If youre driving at 90 in 80 zone and saw a marked car on the side of the road, you’d slow down.. if that car was simply a blue falcon or a black ute (or a white econovan as I saw last night), you’d carry on doing what you were doing.

Also, Canberra drivers mightnt be the best, but Id rather be driving near an ACT vehicle in Syd/Melb, than a NSW/Vic vehicle in the ACT.. maybe just because Im used to the ACT driver craziness, while the NSW/Vic crazy drivers still do stuff that amazes me.

My 2c

fnaah 9:30 am 06 Apr 09

Frustrated drivers are usually the ones that will cause an accident

I agree. The solution to this is to not worry about it – there will always be morons on the road, so if you’re stuck don’t make the situation dangerous by being a dickhead. CHillax, listen to some tunes, arrive 30 seconds later. Your blood pressure will be all the better for it.

Sgt.Bungers 9:29 am 06 Apr 09

People have to respect the road rules… which we tend not to. There are a few rules most of us stick to pretty much all the time, no excuses… such as keep left on a two way road, don’t open your doors whilst driving, give way rules. Most likely because the immediate danger we place ourselves into when breaking these rules is obvious. If there is no *obvious* immediate danger to breaking a rule, then we’re more inclined to break it.

First, implement laws that people respect. They should be based on the actions that the majority of reasonable people would take if there was no such rule in place. This is the only way to set road rules.

Once we have reasonable road rules in place that the majority of people agree with, implement minimum prison sentences for drivers who cause a crash by breaking these road rules and injure or kill someone. And perhaps most importantly, remove the monetary component of all fines so that we stop thinking it’s about revenue instead of safety.

As for getting people to stop talking on mobile phones, build uncertain roads that look dangerous. Statistically roads that look more dangerous end up being safer, as drivers give more concentration to the immediate task at hand, which is navigating their several tonne machine through a public place, as opposed to doing anything else.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 9:17 am 06 Apr 09

The Keep Left Unless Overtaking is a courtesy thing. The idea is that if you aren’t overtaking anyone, get out of the way so others whi wish to travel faster can overtake you.

I suspect the (many) people who don’t observe this rule are the same people who want to speed up to close the gap when you try to change lanes.

And FWIW, I think Canberra drivers are much worse than Sydney or Melbourne drivers, based on my experience.

harvyk1 9:00 am 06 Apr 09

Danman, – sadly you are correct, keep left only truely applied at speeds of over 80km/h. Also old canberran, surprisingly Canberra drivers are pretty bad compared to the rest of the country. (One exception for me is the Gold Coast, they make Canberra drivers look good).

We don’t have the same traffic levels as the rest of the country, and yet we as drivers seem to do all we can to protect “our” bit of road.

Danman 8:56 am 06 Apr 09

I thought (Happy to be corrected) that Keep Left Unless Overtaking was only applicable where the speed limit is above 80kmh – which would rule out all but a few Canberra roads.

No excuses for mobiles, but there are crap drivers everywhere,.

old canberran 8:54 am 06 Apr 09

What makes you think Canberra is any different from anywhere else? You people haven’t got it all on your own you know.

Hamilton 8:44 am 06 Apr 09

Mandatory electric chair for anyone caught doing less that the posted speed limit in the right hand lane. Tough, but fair!!

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