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The Canberra Pause

Pommy bastard 15 May 2011 34

Am I alone in noticing this? ( Her indoors  says; “Yes”)

 Ok, you are stopped at a red light somewhere in sunny ‘Berra. There is one car in front of you. You wait patiently for the lights to change, after several centuries the light goes green. The car in front moves forward an inch, stops, ……p-a-u-s-e-s……. then moves off.

It seems to be “de rigueur”, following the care free urge to proceed on green, to check  that;  “That  light actually is green, it’s the one me  for and my lane, and that yes it’s the one on the bottom, and it’s green,  yep definitely green,” before pulling off. The number of times I’ve almost rear ended someone who was doing this pause, I would not care to count.

It can be spotted, though not as easily, if you are two cars back from the lights. Watch for it.

(Now that I’ve mentioned it of course, you will see it every time you stop at the lights, you may even find yourself doing it.)

Is it a mark of the overly cautious nature of Canberra drivers mayhap?

 In the UK the shortest period of time which can be measured, is the time between the light going green and the car behind you barping his horn.

[Ed – known as the New York Second too]


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34 Responses to The Canberra Pause
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Mothy Mothy 12:03 pm 16 May 11

Grail said :

As for those we see running reds, pull out and give them a good scare. The reason they keep running red lights is because YOU let them.

Panel Beaters love this kind of thinking.

Pull out without looking and you increase the chance of an accident – once for the guy running the red across you, and once for the guy with no patience behind you.

I’ll pause, every time.

Watson Watson 10:33 am 16 May 11

I’ve rear-ended a car once because they did that at a roundabout. And once I scraped along the side of a car that had pulled over instead of turning left onto the road when there was a gap in traffic. Was watching the traffic to turn onto the road and looked ahead too late.

Still my fault, I should’ve looked ahead instead of watching traffic and I should’ve kept my distance.

And wholeheartedly agree with the red-light-runner thing. I’ve had quite a few near misses. Though also agree that there’s no reason to stop and start to check. You should be watching the intersection anyway and you should have enough time to check as you start moving off before you enter the intersection.

But a rear-ender remains a rear-ender and is still always the last car’s fault!

Pommy bastard Pommy bastard 10:14 am 16 May 11

Grail said :

C’mon folks, the time to watch for red light runners is not when your light turns green, it is the entire time the lights are red. When the light turns green, you should already know whether or not it is safe to cross.

As for those we see running reds, pull out and give them a good scare. The reason they keep running red lights is because YOU let them.

Agreed.

Fubnnily enough I saw a red light runner this morning, lights at the junction of Launceston* St and Yamba drive.

Diplo plates, no headlights on, and didn’t so much jump the lights as skip and hop across very slowly after stopping three foot over the line with the lights on red.

*Note to Aussie readers, Launceston is properly pronounced “Lan-son” not “Lawn-cest-ton”.

thatsnotme thatsnotme 10:02 am 16 May 11

LSWCHP said :

A few months ago I sat at the GDE off ramp on Barry Drive, and after I had the green I counted 4, yes, 4 vehicles that went across in front of me before the road was clear. These people had entered the intersection many, many seconds after the light had turned red. This is just one of *many* occasions in recent years where I’ve seen this sort of thing. On several other occasions I’ve taken off on the green and then had to brake sharply to allow some f*%kwit to run the red light in front of me. If I was less alert I would’ve been collected.

Ha – when I posted, I was actually thinking of that same intersection. I’ve seen it most from citybound cars turning right off Barry Drive, onto the GDE. I think half the reason is that because it’s a big, wide intersection, so the turn isn’t particularly sharp, cars can make the turn barely slowing down. So instead of already slowing down to make the corner, they’re accelerating towards the intersection.

It’s one intersection where I’d be more than happy to see red light cameras installed, and one of the few that I’d actually believe had them for road safety more than revenue raising.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:39 am 16 May 11

Yep to all those saying the growing practice of red light running here in Canberra. Morons.

So if you want to hit the pedal the nanosecond it goes green, then go for it, but there’s no prize for successfully defending your right of way.

Innovation Innovation 9:28 am 16 May 11

I’m not sure why people start then stop but agree about the need to take your time to start to check for read light runners.

I’m surprised though that no-one has mentioned the other obvious reason. Last week on Northbourne the lights changed green and the only stationary car (in the middle lane) didn’t move. I pulled up (frustrated) behind them but the cars either side of me drove straight through. None of us except obviously the driver in the stationary car saw the ambulance trying to get across the intersection!

Overheard Overheard 9:10 am 16 May 11

What Cross said at #2 and possibly others. Better red(-faced person behind you) than dead.

I’ve had a couple of near misses so yes, I do wait to make sure I’m not about to be t-boned by some bonehead.

Having said that, depending on the circs, I have been in my time been the bonehead. And raced through an intersection as the light changed to red right on the line. This would still put me well ahead of the green on the arterial road, but some people like to anticipate and go at T minus 2 or 3 as well.

Not quite the same thing, but as a pedestrian, I once watched as one line of cars stopped in front of the zebra crossing and reasonably assumed I was good to go across.

After the Range Rover with bull-bars finished having its way with me, they picked me up off the bitumen about 20metres downstream, and 34 years later, I still walk a bit funny. When I say ‘funny’, it’s funnier for the watcher than the walker.

So, it’s a second. (So THAT’S what a New York Second means — I never knew!)

“Chill, Win-ston!”

Holierthanthou Holierthanthou 9:05 am 16 May 11

The only thing I hate more than the “canberra pause” is “non-canberran utter-utter pathological certifiable impatientness”. That and being T-boned by a follower of the “last two cars made the orange light while they could have easily stopped so I therefore by all rights can also go through the orange light even if it is a sort of rubyish-scarletish- sort of orange” school of thought.

Grail Grail 8:50 am 16 May 11

C’mon folks, the time to watch for red light runners is not when your light turns green, it is the entire time the lights are red. When the light turns green, you should already know whether or not it is safe to cross.

As for those we see running reds, pull out and give them a good scare. The reason they keep running red lights is because YOU let them.

urchin urchin 9:44 pm 15 May 11

erm yeah, i’m sure you were going to do something earth-shatteringly important during that 0.2 seconds you had to wait? colour me one of those “canberra pause” drivers because i have seen too many people blow through red lights at speeds well beyond the limit. perhaps because they, like you, are too impatient?

LSWCHP LSWCHP 9:42 pm 15 May 11

thatsnotme said :

+1 to all the responses suggesting that it’s to avoid being cleaned up by red light runners. On numerous occassions, I’ve seen red light runners mid intersection, when the lights have been green for other traffic for a number of seconds. To do that, these drivers haven’t just run the orange – their lights have been red well before they enter the intersection, and they decide to go anyway.

I think it’s about survival instincts, more than being overly cautious.

A few months ago I sat at the GDE off ramp on Barry Drive, and after I had the green I counted 4, yes, 4 vehicles that went across in front of me before the road was clear. These people had entered the intersection many, many seconds after the light had turned red. This is just one of *many* occasions in recent years where I’ve seen this sort of thing. On several other occasions I’ve taken off on the green and then had to brake sharply to allow some f*%kwit to run the red light in front of me. If I was less alert I would’ve been collected.

I’m teaching my teenage daughter to drive, and I’ve emphatically warned her to never zoom off on the green without checking for cross traffic.

It’s bloody sad because it shows the casual disregard for the lives of themselves, their passengers and other road users held by many drivers in this city.

astrojax astrojax 9:27 pm 15 May 11

no, i hadn’t…

…noticed it – but will keep an eye out now. thanks.

Pork Hunt Pork Hunt 8:30 pm 15 May 11

In days of old, the pause gave Mully just enough time to get through the intersection on a red light…

p1 p1 7:52 pm 15 May 11

Mrs P1 almost got Mully’ed at the very same intersection on Canberra Ave the other day. Sitting at red light, gets honked at from behind, looks up to see the light has changed to green,starts to move…. White commodore flashes across her nose.

Worth a pause some time, but I have also almost rear ended a few people when they started moving then stopped for no reasons I could see.

indigoid indigoid 7:44 pm 15 May 11

If you nearly rear-end them you were following too close.

Snarky Snarky 7:32 pm 15 May 11

Yeah. I’m one of those irritating drivers, and I do it for the reason as outlined in #2, #3, #7 and #10! First across the intersection when the lights change? Not me!

Punter Punter 7:25 pm 15 May 11

Have you never seen another car run a red light right in front of you? There seems to be a number of drivers out there who see different shades of amber and red. I would call it self preservation.

Ryan Ryan 6:55 pm 15 May 11

alaninoz said :

Last moment check for the idiot about to drive through the red light?

If I’m the first car to move off from the green light, i’ll always take a moment to check both ways to make sure I’m not going to be t-boned. I figure my safety is well worth the extra second or two that it takes me to move off.

Padoof Padoof 6:47 pm 15 May 11

Before I learned to drive in the late(ish) eighties, my eldest brother warned me “drive like every bugger on the road is out to get you” and to “never enter an intersection without checking the other way first”.

Even when driving though intersections, I will do a check both ways before going on through.

Not only is this habit beneficial should there be some idiot not paying attention and going through a red light, but quite often I’ve noticed emergency vehicles with lights flashing needing to get through.

Kerryhemsley Kerryhemsley 6:25 pm 15 May 11

Yeah Canberra drivers are painfully cautious. Probably reflects the type of work a lot of people in this city do.

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