The indicator – use it or I will kill you beat you around the head

johnboy 15 August 2008 110

I had the misfortune to drive down Belconnen Way during rush hour for the first time yesterday.

This made me realise that complaints about certain Canberrans failing to use their indicators really are completely justified.

Two things are particularly galling about this.

The first is that if they’re changing lanes so fast that they can’t get the flasher on then they’re manifestly not performing the maneuver safely.

Secondly these wannabe Mark Webbers, after performing multiple high risk maneuvers, are still only two places ahead of me when we pull up at the lights. So again they have proven themselves to be unable to assess risk/reward.

And so, those of you failing to use your indicators, I’d like to make you a promise.

President Zachary Taylor staved off the US civil war by getting in a room with the secessionist leaders, looking them in the eye, and promising to hang them by their worthless necks with his own two hands if they dared to take up arms against the Union.

Similarly if I end up in a crash because you decided to switch lanes without looking or indicating I promise I shall take my wheel lock and beat you around your soft lumpen head until my strength deserts me.

It seems self-evident that no lasting damage can be done assaulting your un-used heads. But if by some chance a vital spark is found and diminished in this process I have every faith that a jury of my peers will understand.

So have a look in your car, find the indicator, acquaint yourself with the road rules, and spare us all some aggravation.

Assaulting non-indicators with a weapon...

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110 Responses to The indicator – use it or I will kill you beat you around the head
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Overheard Overheard 10:32 am 19 Aug 08

But I’ll always indicate in ‘right turn only’ lanes for reasons outlined above.

Probably near where I was talking about having last words on the subject…Oops.

Overheard Overheard 10:28 am 19 Aug 08

Peterh, that’s scary. The streets are indeed not safe with that sort of brainiac around.

minime2 @ #104. I really was having a hard time visualising what you were originally talking about, so thanks for the extra explanation. I’m more of a visual person and need pretty pictures and diagrams to work out what’s going on, and sometimes struggle deciphering things from the written word. Pretty sad, coming from a writer…

Anyhoo, thanks to the wonders of Street View, I dragged up an example from a roundabout I use all the time:

http://maps.google.com.au/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=blamey+square+russell&sll=-26.954839,152.777875&sspn=0.203201,0.307617&ie=UTF8&ll=-35.297969,149.149082&spn=0.002907,0.004807&z=18&layer=c&cbll=-35.29883,149.149122&panoid=yHWcB0M_MeNjvCsezXDhYQ&cbp=1,229.14718797156598,,1,5

And yes, you’re right. I probably wouldn’t ALWAYS indicate on the approach to this one, usually because I’m almost always going straight onto Kings Avenue and over the bridge. Again, my (possibly flawed) logic is that I’m not crossing a broken line

If I were turning left to go the airport, yes, my indicator would be on before the road diverged. If I were going right back towards the city, the indicator would be on right before the diverging lanes. But since I’m typically en route to Manuka or Kingston, I wouldn’t indicate until I got to the exit from the roundabout and signalled left.

But I can see it would be a help for those behind me to signal earlier, so I’ll change my ways. And my lanes.

54-11 54-11 10:22 am 19 Aug 08

Minime, it’s all a matter of trust. If I saw you doing what you say, then I would have no confidence in you being able to share the road with me. Everyone makes their own calls, but it’s up to you if you want to join the great unwashed pack of whackers that can’t be trusted on the road. Why not just make indicating every change of direction a habit? Costs nothing, and sends a signal (literally) to other road users that you are courteous and they can rely upon your sound judgement. Easy.

peterh peterh 9:46 am 19 Aug 08

ah, i saw the opposite of the no indicator usage last night. I had to play “guess where the idiot using his hazards is going” 3 times. they had no clue until a motorbike rider pulled up and read them the riot act. He was not a happy camper. I really don’t blame him, but lucky there weren’t any kids around, there were some interesting combinations of words being shouted….

They thought it was safer than indicating and then changing their minds.

OMFG!

Special G Special G 8:42 am 19 Aug 08

“Situational awareness, 54-11, is the very thing I was talking about in regard to sitting at a T junction in the right hand turn only lane with big signs in front of you that say RIGHT HAND TURN ONLY and big white arrows on the road pointing to the right so there is NO choice to be made but turn right; ie: Flemington Road and Federal Hwy for one. If you cannot tell when a driver is going to turn right in that situation, you may want to reconsider the use of a crusier (that’s two wheels, right?) as you are a danger to yourself.”

Minime – If you think signs, roadmarkings and even median strips stop people doing what ever they like then you wouldn’t last long on a motorbike. For bike riders it basically works like this. Don’t trust any bastard in car. Don’t expect they will do anything. If you do get complacent then sell the bike and buy a 4wd.

minime2 minime2 11:48 pm 18 Aug 08

#84 Overheard: good question re indicators at twolane and one lane divergants, because it was hard to explain. Thanks for the question without any insults. I see your point about pedestrians too. The thing about the use of indicator when approaching a two lane stretch of road from a one lane BEFORE a roundabout is what I was refering to. This is the “opposite” action to leaving a two lane roundabout into a one lane where, it seems, most use inicators to tell you they are going straight ahead when there is no choice anyway. I was simply suggesting that if such use is so “rote” or important, why is it not the same in the “opposite” situation, after-all, the vehicle is ‘diverging’ before/into either a left or right lane. My use of “servay” was an attempt to indicate (oh crappers – a pun) that it was just noticed a lot and stuck in one of my nuerons. All this is not addressing the real concerns of the bullying tactic of blinking WHILE changing lanes. And a question for input … are not those thick, white painted lanes on an onramp (GDE?) actually give-way lines? Because i do know (yep – one thing at least) that at an intersection (and a ramp divergant is one)the law applies to the LINE painted: broken for “give Way” and solid for “Stop”. If the sign is not there the law is therefore still applicable. So, all that to say the bullying is rampant (another ramp pun) at onramps … with blinker on and here I come!

minime2 minime2 10:55 pm 18 Aug 08

Situational awareness, 54-11, is the very thing I was talking about in regard to sitting at a T junction in the right hand turn only lane with big signs in front of you that say RIGHT HAND TURN ONLY and big white arrows on the road pointing to the right so there is NO choice to be made but turn right; ie: Flemington Road and Federal Hwy for one. If you cannot tell when a driver is going to turn right in that situation, you may want to reconsider the use of a crusier (that’s two wheels, right?) as you are a danger to yourself.
Another point or two: to start a post by calling me a whacker tends to make anything you say following (the old put-others-down-to-lift-yourself-up ploy) unworthy to be considered informative or constructive. And, how many is “too many drivers” – the ones who turn left from the right side of the road; which is irrelevant to the point I was making. And, should you bother to apply reading-craft and courtesy by re-reading my post you may see I did not say i DID NOT indicate in that situation … its the sitting behind a big vehicle with a really big blinker at eye level blinking and blinking and blinking ad-norsium when everyone, except you and those turning left (?) know what is going on. Are you on L plates?

bigred bigred 9:37 pm 18 Aug 08

54-11 this is Canberra. Indicators are entirely optional and old fellas on cruisers are fair game in case you hadn’t noticed.

54-11 54-11 9:00 pm 18 Aug 08

I’m probably a bit late posting, but those whackers (eg minime) who say they won’t indicate when “obviouisly” (to them)turning right are the sort of road users that give me the willies, espacially when I’m on the Cruiser. When I’m riding or driving (particularly the former), I’m looking for evidence in other drivers of roadcraft, courtesy and situational awareness. Those who fail to indicate are obviously lacking in all three. It is not always possible to tell when a vehicle is obviously turning (too many drivers turn right form the lft side of the road or vice versa).

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 8:09 am 17 Aug 08

Well, if you tailgate them, that will teach them a lesson. Tailgating’s legal, apparently.

I know this is tongue in cheek, but it’s surprising how many people think tailgating is ok. That said, if people used lanes properly, it would rarely happen.

Madman Madman 12:22 am 17 Aug 08

iCanberran said :

Any one like to mention to him that the indicator is the right hand stalk on Aussie cars. The left is for windscreen wipers and washers 🙂

There are european cars in Australia which use the left stalk for the indicators.

A few of our fleet cars have this, and it confuses me everytime i take out Ford Focus out… I usually try to take the Mitsubishi 380 – lot more grunt and better indicators!!!

ant ant 11:39 pm 16 Aug 08

Well, if you tailgate them, that will teach them a lesson. Tailgating’s legal, apparently.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:59 pm 16 Aug 08

Indicating is a huge problem with Canberra drivers, but it’s not the biggest – that would be lane discipline. The trouble is that while it isn’t technically illegal to sit permanently in the right hand lane of roads limited to 80km’h or below, it’s bloody inconsiderate. And it happens constantly.

iCanberran iCanberran 8:25 pm 16 Aug 08

Any one like to mention to him that the indicator is the right hand stalk on Aussie cars. The left is for windscreen wipers and washers 🙂

Special G Special G 7:38 pm 16 Aug 08

So much anger JB – chill out dude.

On the indicating note – I ride a bike – I don’t trust anyone on the road whether they indicate or not.

peter@home peter@home 5:18 pm 16 Aug 08

Tooks said :

Duke said :

Tooks said :

Duke said :

“How would you know whether or not people get pulled over for failing to indicate? I can assure that it does happen.”

And i’m sure the one cop you speak of who does enforce the use of indicators must be the same one who fines drivers using their fog/driving lights all hours of the day or night.

Actually, I was speaking for myself, and other cops I work with. Unfortunately if every non-indicator was pulled over, the whole shift would be doing just that. Just gotta pick the worst offenders.

I sympathise with the police position Tooks and realise that a failure to indicate is fairly minor compared with other naughtiness, however this problem stems from the fact that indicating is rarely, if ever, enforced by police.

Years ago I was in a car that was pulled over and fined for having its driving/fog lights on but the number of people who now break this rule is HUGE – just like now you can pretty much abandon the use of indicators without any real fear of being penalised.

If there was a police blitz combined with publicity on the issue from local news and newspapers, maybe even some road-craft advertising, increased fines?, there might be some chance of clawing back some ground on this problem.

I think a bit of a blitz combined with increased fines might do the trick. It’s a shame there is so little common sense around. Really, how simple is it to use an indicator?

but the people who don’t use an indicator, and merge without looking are the cause of some of the hairiest avoidance maneuvers I have ever seen. I have also seen some pretty scary turn left with care behaviour.

I spend between 50 & 70% of my day in the car. I would love to see cops catching people in the wrong, and, lets face it, if it is me sometimes, I deserve to be caught. (I don’t think it is, but my concentration does slip from time to time)

what concerns me is the parents who send their kids to a driving instructor, where they learn to drive in a small car, then get their “p” plates and the keys to mum or dad’s v6 or v8.
I am in my late 30’s and have only just bought a V6. (I had a stint in a v8, when I was younger, but sold it when it became too much to run on an apprentice wage)

I know that some kids learn to control fast cars through their parents, but why don’t these L platers and P platers get a course in defensive driving provided to them by the ACT government, or the fed govt? If they had the skills to drive defensively, perhaps they would have the ability to avoid potentially serious incidents.

astrojax astrojax 5:03 pm 16 Aug 08

anyway, canberrans are actually known across the globe for their indicator use – however, for the manouevre known as the ‘celebratory indicator’, used when a driver celebrates having made a successful turn or lane change…

Overheard Overheard 3:45 pm 16 Aug 08

Overheard said :

I reckon you should apply a combination of the rule of law as a minimum and then the rule of commonsense after that, i.e. even if it doesn’t say in stone you have to indicate in a right-turn only lane, what does it hurt?

Should have finished: ‘… what does it hurt to do it anyway as a courtesy to others?’

Actually, the other one I see is people moving into right-turn only lanes without indicating. So what do the nay-sayers do there? Indicate to get into the lane then switch it off once there? Madness.

Oops. Now THAT’S my last word. It’s Cashews time!

Overheard Overheard 3:42 pm 16 Aug 08

I reckon you should apply a combination of the rule of law as a minimum and then the rule of commonsense after that, i.e. even if it doesn’t say in stone you have to indicate in a right-turn only lane, what does it hurt? You’re helping, not harming. I can’t think of any situation where excessive indicating is a bad thing EXCEPT when drivers want to kick in from 100m back instead of the legal requirement of (I think) 30m. Who else has thought a car’s about to turn and maybe even gone to step, drive or cycle onto a road only for the driver to coast on past the arterial road (s)he appears to be indicating for, and turn at the next road. Scary.

But like other hoary chestnuts like bicycles on roads, it’s a cyclical argument.

So my last word on the subject (and one of my mottos for life) is that most angst is created in this world by people who just aren’t prepared to think about others. It’s symptomatic of a general ‘I’m alright, Jack, so f&ck you’ attitude. And that, my friends, is a universal condition, not a uniquely Canberrian trait.

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