22 March 2011

Why are Canberra drivers so bad?

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You don’t have to have been lurking around RA to notice a very common theme of posts ranting about the crazy/stupid/downright dangerous acts of driving on Canberra’s roads.

My question is- WHY?

Why are people so stupid on the road here? Why did my insurance premiums increase by almost 50% when moving here from interstate due to ‘higher rates of claim’? Why do I never feel safe driving to work? Why can people drive perfectly fine (on the whole) in other places, but not in Canberra?

This point was hammered home to me in the past few days. I have just returned to Canberra after spending 2 weeks in Brisbane. I did a hefty amount of driving in this time, all over Brisbane and to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Sure, the traffic is much worse in Brisbane, but on the whole, people drove safely, were curteous to other drivers and left plenty of room between themselved and other cars.

I’ve been back three days and I have already witnessed one accident, driven past 2 others, been tailgated more times than I can count, been cut off by people cutting across lanes, not indicating etc etc etc. The difference between the two cities is profound. We all know Canberra drivers are useless in the rain but isnt that even more reason to take it easy?

So why is this the case? Why is it so bad in Canberra? Is it a lack of policing? Is it a lack of driver training? Is it poor roads? Or are people just plain dumb?

Rant over.

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Conan of Cooma8:20 am 03 Dec 12

LaZingara said :

I’ve just moved from Sydney. I’m frightened and frustrated.
It seems the concept keep left has never been heard of
One must veer to the left to make a right hand turn in a car like a tractor driver so if you are following you can’t get past he driver and cant guess he is driving a car like a semi trailer
and the mergingn they can’t do it
I’ve never been abused like i have been in Canberra for drivimng correctly
They are frankly dangerous and it’s a scarly experience to drive in such a small town with the things I have seen here.
What is being done about driver education?
Leeza Silverman

Surely you meant to say you were a “Successful escapee from Sydney…”?

Also, are you an appropriate contact for pharmaceuticals?

LaZingara said :

I’ve just moved from Sydney. I’m frightened and frustrated.
It seems the concept keep left has never been heard of
One must veer to the left to make a right hand turn in a car like a tractor driver so if you are following you can’t get past he driver and cant guess he is driving a car like a semi trailer
and the mergingn they can’t do it
I’ve never been abused like i have been in Canberra for drivimng correctly
They are frankly dangerous and it’s a scarly experience to drive in such a small town with the things I have seen here.
What is being done about driver education?
Leeza Silverman

It’s not the education it’s the culture. And could you please stop signing your posts? It’s kinda annoying.

Do you not know how to merge in Canberra? You wait till you get 100m before you need to form one lane then stand on the loud pedal to catch the car infront wait till there driving over the writing on the road saying form one lane now you push them off in to the grass to get in front but never ever look them in the eye just look straight a head

I’ve just moved from Sydney. I’m frightened and frustrated.
It seems the concept keep left has never been heard of
One must veer to the left to make a right hand turn in a car like a tractor driver so if you are following you can’t get past he driver and cant guess he is driving a car like a semi trailer
and the mergingn they can’t do it
I’ve never been abused like i have been in Canberra for drivimng correctly
They are frankly dangerous and it’s a scarly experience to drive in such a small town with the things I have seen here.
What is being done about driver education?
Leeza Silverman

beginning with the driver behind from out of town not expecting the sudden stop.

well, if they’re not tailgating, a sudden stop shouldn’t present such a danger… hang on, canberra drivers you say..? ah well, what was that towies’ no. again? 🙂

and really, roflmao, do/did you find obeying the road laws so testing? have you now relented and become your mother? i find a combination of awareness/defensive driving, courtesy and obedience to the rules means a relatively smooth run most places and not much slower getting there with less wear on the vehicle. i commend it to all.

Well driving in Canberra is something to get used to.
I have often wanted to get a bumper sticker which says “fully licenced drivers lead by example”. While I was being taught how to drive, I saw my mother was speeding on the way home and I pointed it out (She’s in the AFP BTW). She said “it is ok, because I am experienced”, i also think she didn’t like me questioning her. Though more to the point i believe a lot of people just don’t care.
When I received my P-plate licence I decided I would set a good example and try to help bring a positive view for at least some P-plate drivers, by following all the laws. Though it was very testing as the majority of cars would speed pass, tail gate and do all sorts of stupid shit past me, and the majority are fully licenced drivers. In the end I went to dinner parties and family outings and every time driving came up, its P-plate drivers are horrible always speeding, drink driving, and crashing. This leads me to my second point, if you stereotype someone as being BAD and don’t give them the chance that’s how they will turn out.
P-Plate to a lot of drivers means irresponsible, it should mean provisional driver, give them a chance and don’t label. Fully licenced drivers need to lead by example, if they speed and get away with it; it gives p-plate drivers more justification to speed. While I am doing study for Psychology I stumbled upon a research article which stated that people are affected a lot by expectation. Labels are powerful things, so try not to label your p-plate driver as bad and irresponsible because they will take that on board. They won’t see the point in doing the right thing if people will treat them like you’re doing the wrong thing anyway. It takes a strong person to work against stereotypes.
So to finish my rant on fully licensed drivers and stereotyping P-plate drivers, I would like to ask you Have you ever broken the law on the road, and have ever done anything stupid on the road either by accident or because you thought in that circumstance it would be ok? Then ask yourself what massage does this send to young drivers?
On an unrelated point its better than Bathurst, drivers there will expect to stop for pedestrians waiting to cross the road, when there aren’t pedestrian crossings. I can see a whole lot of problems with that, beginning with the driver behind from out of town not expecting the sudden stop.

EvanJames said :

I deduct 10 IQ points from every “driver” that I see indicating right as they exit a roundabout.

Only 10? That’s very charitable.

Jethro said :

Surely you could force retesting of anyone who has had their license suspended. That is more than a reasonable start.

wow, thats not already the case? i didnt know that. Yep, sounds like a good start

gazket said :

Most Gungahlin residents can’t even use a roundabout correctly. a lot use their right blinker to go straight ahead…… retards.

This seems to prevail in the rest of Canberra and surrounds, too. I have seen two separate Qbn cop cars doing it also. What kind of drooling idiot thinks that you indicate right while turning your wheel left to exit the roundabout?

I deduct 10 IQ points from every “driver” that I see indicating right as they exit a roundabout.

Innovation said :

Davo111 said :

Innovation said :

As there is an argument that those who have accidents are even more in need of retesting, perhaps the number of at fault accidents should be increased to say two or three per year before testing occurs to decrease the risk of people not reporting them?

but still, if you just had a 3rd prang for the year, wouldn’t you be inclined not to report it?

It might be better if the ‘retesting’ list is compiled from fixed speed cameras, red light cameras and cops giving tickets, rather than reported accidents. However, even with the latter, some might argue it might give another reason to try and evade police.

If you had a third prang for the year youré probably going to be inclined not to report it simply because your insurance company is going to be unlikely want to touch you with a ten foot pole any more. Camera only infringements as a basis for testing is getting bit arbitrary again (and, using your argument, apply to the group most likely to get someone else to cop the points for them anyway). From what I’ve read, those people evading the police are often unlicensed anyway.

Oh well, it’s a shame as I would really like to see retesting introduced but retesting too big a group would attract too much community resistance and there would need to be a gradual cultural acceptance to the concept. I know of some very incompetent, overconfident and dangerous drivers on the roads, some who never had a driving test but got their licenses in times past through administrative anomalies. There isn’t even a requirement to retest older drivers (and the annual medical assessment is a joke) but just retesting older drivers simply because of their age would probably be discriminatory.

Apart from a couple of people here, there doesn’t even seem to be support from RIOTACT contributors to the idea of retesting and certainly no consensus as to what group should be tested. So any idea is highly unlikely to get the support of the ACT Government, particularly if it means that they would diverge from what is done in the States.

Surely you could force retesting of anyone who has had their license suspended. That is more than a reasonable start. After a while you could move it to people who have lost half their points. They would need to be retested in order to have the other half of their points available to them.

Of course, people who deliberately break road rules aren’t necessarily unskilled drivers. They are just arrogant and thoughtless drivers. Many of them could probably manage to control their speed and driving behaviour for one test, but it would add a disincentive to poor driving by adding an extra hurdle.

sleepyphoenix12:29 am 29 Mar 11

astrojax said :

Solidarity said :

Why does everyone think that they’re a good driver?

’cause i am. 🙂

i actually don’t think canberra drivers are any worse than elsewhere (though i have some concurrence with the comments about queenslanders!) canberra has its own foibles and we notice them – tailgating, for one. grrrrrr… – but we generally have some idea about how to use a round-a-bout and are getting better at zip merging. but there are dicks and moron drivers the country – the globe – over and we rant about our tintop lunatics because they’re ours and we see them day to day.

that said, i think the wide open spaces of big canberra roads can lead to a lax attitude in some drivers about their ‘space’ on the road – i had a friend years ago who came from sunny sydney already a motorcyclist, and a good, courteous one, who learned to drive a car here and i am never very comfortable in a car with her driving yet i’d gladly ride pillion with her. weird, huh?

i agreed untill you said canberra drivers have some idea of zip merging.

zip merging does not mean stopping the car or driving next to someone who is also in the merging lane… I am yet to cross a zip merge where courtesy and common sense have not been lacking… when I do I will gladly retract my statement

sleepyphoenix12:00 am 29 Mar 11

Jethro said :

CanberraGirl19 said :

I think a lot of it is just a complete lack of common courtesy. It’s very frustrating to have both lanes (or all three lanes) blocked by cars who travel side by side for a kilometre or more because the car in the “fast lane” isn’t actually passing anyone. Either slow down a bit and get in behind them, or speed up a bit and get in front so everyone else can pass.

Well, if they are all going the speed limit no-one can legally pass them anyway, as that would involve breaking the speed limit. The right hand lane isn’t the ‘there isn’t a speed limit lane’.

I stick to the left in any case, but your post does reflect a common attitude of the serial tailgater.

20 bucks says I could go 20 ks under the speed limit and still over take half of canberra.. that is if the going 30 ks under wasn’t in the right lane

sleepyphoenix11:50 pm 28 Mar 11

Mysteryman said :

Really? I’ve spent a lot of time driving all over the place. I’m a motorcyclist also, and I think I’m pretty self aware when I’m on the roads.

Over Christmas I was up on the NSW/QLD border for a few weeks and without question, the QLD drivers on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane were the worst drivers I’ve encountered in a long time. I would describe them as the total opposite of how you have. I mentioned it to a friend of mine who is from Brisbane and she got quite defensive about it – until she came for a drive with me. After 15 minutes of pointing out erratic, rude, crazy, and dangerous behaviour, she agreed with me.

Canberra drivers can be quite complacent. I think that’s due to having (generally) excellent roads and very little policing. Are we the worst? That’s debatable.

your a canberra driver. what would you know about safe driving? erratic rude crazy and dangerous behavour to a canberra driver could be anything from using your blinker in a correct and predictive manner to driving 100 on the highway during 5 pm….

Davo111 said :

Innovation said :

As there is an argument that those who have accidents are even more in need of retesting, perhaps the number of at fault accidents should be increased to say two or three per year before testing occurs to decrease the risk of people not reporting them?

but still, if you just had a 3rd prang for the year, wouldn’t you be inclined not to report it?

It might be better if the ‘retesting’ list is compiled from fixed speed cameras, red light cameras and cops giving tickets, rather than reported accidents. However, even with the latter, some might argue it might give another reason to try and evade police.

If you had a third prang for the year youré probably going to be inclined not to report it simply because your insurance company is going to be unlikely want to touch you with a ten foot pole any more. Camera only infringements as a basis for testing is getting bit arbitrary again (and, using your argument, apply to the group most likely to get someone else to cop the points for them anyway). From what I’ve read, those people evading the police are often unlicensed anyway.

Oh well, it’s a shame as I would really like to see retesting introduced but retesting too big a group would attract too much community resistance and there would need to be a gradual cultural acceptance to the concept. I know of some very incompetent, overconfident and dangerous drivers on the roads, some who never had a driving test but got their licenses in times past through administrative anomalies. There isn’t even a requirement to retest older drivers (and the annual medical assessment is a joke) but just retesting older drivers simply because of their age would probably be discriminatory.

Apart from a couple of people here, there doesn’t even seem to be support from RIOTACT contributors to the idea of retesting and certainly no consensus as to what group should be tested. So any idea is highly unlikely to get the support of the ACT Government, particularly if it means that they would diverge from what is done in the States.

Most Gungahlin residents can’t even use a roundabout correctly. a lot use their right blinker to go straight ahead…… retards.

georgesgenitals5:18 pm 28 Mar 11

When I took my license test in NSW (18 years ago now!) giving way unnecessarily was an automatic fail.

Interesting that there’s not much mention of a fundamental ignorance of basic road law in regards to right of way.

Nothing makes me shudder more than all the ‘polite’ drivers opposite me who wait for me to turn right across them at an intersection and then start waving me through.

And a 338 to the head of those who consistently cut across me on my motorbike when I’m proceeding straight through a giveway and they’re turning right at a stop sign. Some of them even mouth off at me.

Slip lanes also provide endless moments of entertainment.

I think I much prefer hoons and tailgaters to the dangerously inept.

georgesgenitals said :

Well after an interstate trip on the weekend that involved driving through Sydney twice, I think I could safely observe that lane discipline is far worse in Canberra than in Sydney. It was a real pleasant change to be able to overtake using the right hand lane, then move left again, without some mongo deciding that the right hand lane was their own private road.

Yeah, ‘coz if you’re in the wrong lane someone will knife you. No, really. I know quite a few Sydeny people that have had really serious road rage incidents (receiving end, not delivery). Hideous stuff.

Innovation said :

As there is an argument that those who have accidents are even more in need of retesting, perhaps the number of at fault accidents should be increased to say two or three per year before testing occurs to decrease the risk of people not reporting them?

but still, if you just had a 3rd prang for the year, wouldn’t you be inclined not to report it?

It might be better if the ‘retesting’ list is compiled from fixed speed cameras, red light cameras and cops giving tickets, rather than reported accidents. However, even with the latter, some might argue it might give another reason to try and evade police.

Does anyone ever admit to being a bad driver? There are bad drivers everywhere but no one would ever admit to it. Everyone who complains about bad drivers is most likely also guilty of committing something ‘bad’ when behind the wheel at one time or another. It’s a popular topic but the reality is some people are stupid and inconsiderate whether they are driving or not.

georgesgenitals12:42 pm 28 Mar 11

Well after an interstate trip on the weekend that involved driving through Sydney twice, I think I could safely observe that lane discipline is far worse in Canberra than in Sydney. It was a real pleasant change to be able to overtake using the right hand lane, then move left again, without some mongo deciding that the right hand lane was their own private road.

There is some pretty poor behaviour on the roads here but I don’t know if it’s any worse than other cities. There are also some very polite, careful, considerate drivers, who wave at you for letting them in and indicate all the time.
BUT… I always excpet to run across particular problems every time I get in the car and I’m rarely disappoionted!
The main issues?
1/. People not using their indicators–Very Very Common. Can we do something to change this culture?

2/.Great impatience whereby people try and force you out into dangerous conditions. For example, the corner of Knox and Antill Streets, Watson, has very heavy traffic at 8.30 am and when I’m first in line on Knox waiting for a break in traffic so I can turn right onto Antill, the stress that drivers behind me are willing to create is incredible!
They **think** you can go but they can’t see traffic driving towards us all so they beep and gesticulate wildly. It’s childish impatience and it can create dangerous situations. it’s a form of tailgating, really.It’s also bully stuff.

Secondly, similar thing happens on roundabouts. The other day, 5.30 pm, was waiting to go through big r’-about on Antill/ Phillip Avenue towards Watson . I hesitated because the sun was badly in my eyes, while the woman behind me was going crazy behind the wheel because, God forbid, I was taking longer than twenty seconds to pull onto r/about. She couldn’t tell that I had the sun directly in my eyes because she was merrily in the shade.
I pulled into roundabout then she caught up and beeped me aggressively half way through it! Very dangerous., She could have made me have an accident because she so startled me. You should NEVER beep someone in a roundabout unless emergency. NEVER. What a fool. That made me very upset and angry so I beeped her back when we got through onto Antill continuation.I was trying to send her the mesage don’t EVER toot your horn on r’abouts and don’t try and push drivers into dangerous conditions; just assume the driver in front of you judges something as not worth the risk. So what if they’re a few seconds slower? Deal with it , kids.
I often wonder, now I notice how impatient Canberra drivers are, how many accidents are caused by other drivers getting angry and creating stress for their fellow road users?

3/. Crazy teenage boy / 20’s early 30s crazy killers- slash- drivers. Where are the road cops???
There are at least 7 billion would-be assasins on ACT roads at any given: commonly boys, commonly showing off to their ‘pack’ by doing 140 in 60 or 80 zones, cutting in dangerously, swerving, swearing at other drivers, so, for the love of God, where are the cops?? I never never see them; only for random breath tests. Or, driving along looking rather blithe, not looking for traffic offences. I get annoyed because I wonder what happens to all the revenue from fines etc…
meant to go back to raods but doesn’t appear to…not where safety is concerned ,anyway.

Davo111 said :

Innovation said :

why not start out small and test those who have lost their 12 points or had say two at fault accidents in two years?

i like the idea of retesting people who lose more than a few points.

Unsure about the accident idea, might stop people from reporting accidents when they occur.

True but the same argument could apply re points where people cop the offences of others (eg Lara Bingle). As there is an argument that those who have accidents are even more in need of retesting, perhaps the number of at fault accidents should be increased to say two or three per year before testing occurs to decrease the risk of people not reporting them?

vg said :

Canberra drivers are so bad because of the fluoride in the water.

Canberra drivers are no better/worse than anywhere else in the country. Discussion ends

Agreed.

The question is why are human beings such bad drivers?

I have to agree with a number of the posts – arrogance and impatience are the key factors. I’ve also heard it’s the public service mentality that is to blame – they have to put up with so much red tape to get things done that when they get in their cars, they take out all their frustrations on other drivers and completely ignore the road rules. Yes, I’ve also seen plenty of tradies drive like maniacs in the ACT, but that’s a universal phenomenon.

Innovation said :

why not start out small and test those who have lost their 12 points or had say two at fault accidents in two years?

i like the idea of retesting people who lose more than a few points.

Unsure about the accident idea, might stop people from reporting accidents when they occur.

CanberraGirl1910:21 pm 23 Mar 11

Jethro said :

CanberraGirl19 said :

I think a lot of it is just a complete lack of common courtesy. It’s very frustrating to have both lanes (or all three lanes) blocked by cars who travel side by side for a kilometre or more because the car in the “fast lane” isn’t actually passing anyone. Either slow down a bit and get in behind them, or speed up a bit and get in front so everyone else can pass.

Well, if they are all going the speed limit no-one can legally pass them anyway, as that would involve breaking the speed limit. The right hand lane isn’t the ‘there isn’t a speed limit lane’.

I stick to the left in any case, but your post does reflect a common attitude of the serial tailgater.

Firstly, I was mostly referring to people that aren’t doing the speed limit. I realise some people may not realise that their speedos are out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let other people pass. You don’t necessarily have to be speeding to pass someone.

Secondly, there is a law that states you must keep to the left when on a road with a speed limit of over 80km/h unless overtaking. So the people that just sit in the right hand lane and refuse to move over even though they aren’t passing anyone are actually breaking the law.

You get bad drivers EVERYWHERE. But Canberrans need to learn how to properly use the f****ing roundabout. No other city contains so many roundabout law breaches than in Canberra.

triffid said :

We were proud of our roadcraft, skill level and the courtesy we extended to other road users. And I bet all of those ‘kids’ from back then continue to demonstrate that today (as I also try to).

I wish there were more blokes on the road like you Triffid. My hat is off to you.

IMHO, skill, caution and courtesy are the three ingredients that I see missing every day in my half hour commute.

I’m teaching my 16 year old daughter to drive, and she’s doing well. The mantra I repeat every lesson (learned from my years on a bike) is “Distance is your friend.”. This is one simple thing that covers skill, caution and courtesy all in one go. Distance and time are two aspects of the same equation. Increased distance equals increased time to react to the unexpected, which will save your car, your life, other cars and other lives over an extended period of driving.

If only I could get some distance between me and the arsehats who tailgate me while flashing lights and honking horns at me as a travel at the 40 km/h speed limit through the thousands of miles of roadworks around Canberra at the moment.

andre88 said :

If you are getting tailgated chances are you are going under the speed limit, remember your speedo will be roughly 10% out, which is from factory…..

Actually, no. Tailgaters are just rude pricks who have the attitude that the road rules don’t really apply to them.

When I first got my car I used to think there might be a problem with it, as people were constantly overtaking. But it’s amazing how that “problem” disappears when a police car happens to be on the road. Suddenly, the tailgaters are doing the same speed as I am, or (in a lot of cases) they’re going much slower!

I agree with the idea of retesting and would happily undergo the test (although potentially less happily fail). However to avoid the backlash from drivers and cost of retesting everyone why not start out small and test those who have lost their 12 points or had say two at fault accidents in two years? Random testing is potentially a bit arbitrary and unfair.

Also, I agree that many driver training courses create false confidence in a lot of drivers. However, aren’t there courses that teach the psychology of driving (eg to better predicit events before dangerous situations occur) and learning to drive smoothly with the skills already acquired and without emotion?

… because we have the driving style suitable to a small country town, but the “need to get there now” attitude of a large city. Not the greatest of combo’s imo.

Canberra drivers are so bad because of the fluoride in the water.

Canberra drivers are no better/worse than anywhere else in the country. Discussion ends

CanberraGirl19 said :

I think a lot of it is just a complete lack of common courtesy. It’s very frustrating to have both lanes (or all three lanes) blocked by cars who travel side by side for a kilometre or more because the car in the “fast lane” isn’t actually passing anyone. Either slow down a bit and get in behind them, or speed up a bit and get in front so everyone else can pass.

Well, if they are all going the speed limit no-one can legally pass them anyway, as that would involve breaking the speed limit. The right hand lane isn’t the ‘there isn’t a speed limit lane’.

I stick to the left in any case, but your post does reflect a common attitude of the serial tailgater.

CanberraGirl195:42 pm 23 Mar 11

I think a lot of it is just a complete lack of common courtesy. It’s very frustrating to have both lanes (or all three lanes) blocked by cars who travel side by side for a kilometre or more because the car in the “fast lane” isn’t actually passing anyone. Either slow down a bit and get in behind them, or speed up a bit and get in front so everyone else can pass.

I also agree with having to re-test drivers, maybe every 5 years or so when they renew their licences. Some drivers just plain don’t know the road rules anymore and can’t be told otherwise (to the point where they will argue with police officers about what the road rules are). I know that when I was learning to drive there were road rules in the handbook that my parents didn’t know, so I can only imagine how little some people who got their licences 50 years ago know. Plus, a drivers licence is one of the few licences you can automatically renew without having to prove you’re still qualified. Considering how dangerous driving is, you’d think you would have to prove that you can still operate a vehicle safely.

Davo111 said :

NRMA warns that “Drivers often become overconfident and more aggressive after attending these courses.” http://www.nrmasaferdriving.com.au/frequently-asked-questions.htm

Yeah . . . I know. It used to drive a mate of mine — who was seriously and heavily involved with a travel safe committee in another state of the realm and who had years and years of advanced instruction experience — completely nuts. From my own first-hand experience, I have to agree with him. It’s a bit ‘Hector the Safety Cat’ and / or ‘Captain Beige Cardigan’. And, note they only say ‘can’, not ‘every course will dot dot dot’.

Years ago I was Captain of a car club that actually underpinned itself with a philosophy centered on the attainment of advanced driving skills. Of our 200 or so members back then, I’d reckon there would have been only about 20 or so who were over 30 years of age. Being skilled and having high levels of car control — being a class driver — was what we were about. We were also a very, very hard core rally club and many of us (me included) would chalk up hundreds of kms, every week, on gravel, at comptition speeds. I can’t recall any of us coming to grief outside of competition, or being serial speedsters, or prime DUI candidates. In fact, I can’t remember any collisions or serious incidents of note.

But, we used the tool of peer pressure with devestating effect. Get spotted ‘lighting it up’ at a set of lights by a club commitee member? Then see your club (and, hence, competition) licence suspended. We were proud of our roadcraft, skill level and the courtesy we extended to other road users. And I bet all of those ‘kids’ from back then continue to demonstrate that today (as I also try to).

astrojax said :

i also rekkun a random say 20% of licence renewals must involve re-testing, mebbe increased to 50% for +50 and mandatory fo +65 drivers…

Better yet, do more targetted re-testing. Rather than just pinging the oldies, what about re-testing P platers before they are allowed off their Ps? We’ve all seen the way they drive, this would give the authorities a last chance to put the boot in before they get their wings.

And parents who propose to teach their kids on Ls. Before they are allowed to do this, they have to be re-tested. I can guarantee that a lot of them would struggle.

andre88 said :

If you are getting tailgated chances are you are going under the speed limit, remember your speedo will be roughly 10% out, which is from factory. The other more likely / maybe less likely is that everyone else is speeding and your not. Everyone speeds on Canberra roads because most of the time they get away with it. I agree with you though Canberra drivers aren’t great. I find courtesy is more of an issue here then anywhere else.

actually, no, the reason i’m getting tailgated isn’t because i am obeying the speed limit (go look up ‘limit’) but the arrogant twat behind me is tailgating me because s/he is an arrogant twat with little regard for my, her/his, or seemingly anyone else’s safety as they manouevre a tonne or so’s dangerous tin missile; and i certainly resent that they do this and abuse the privilege of their licence.

LSWCHP said :

I spent my first five years on the road riding motorbikes, and the caution I learned in that time has served me well. If everybody had to spend some time on two wheels we’d all be a lot safer. I’ve had 30 years of continuous driving in the ACT without a bingle or a speeding ticket.

I don’t think I’m a particularly skilled driver. I can’t do high speed handbrake turns, or drift my car or any of that stuff. However, I do think I’m a very safe driver. I keep to the speed limit, maintain a good distance between me and the next vehicle, and I’m very watchful. That’s about all it takes.

thus speaks reason! i have also long argued we must all start on the road on two wheels to get some road sense and some perspective before we are allowed to graduate to four. i also rekkun a random say 20% of licence renewals must involve re-testing, mebbe increased to 50% for +50 and mandatory fo +65 drivers…

triffid said :

Back on my other soap box, though . . . man . . . so many folk out there can’t drive for sh*t.

oh for sure. I’d just say its poor drivers passing on their poor skills to their kids. (and laziness)

triffid said :

Until they’re taught otherwise (and have to pass test elements like an emergency stop from 200 km/hr, or demonstrating competency in an aquaplaning situation,.

NRMA warns that “Drivers often become overconfident and more aggressive after attending these courses.” http://www.nrmasaferdriving.com.au/frequently-asked-questions.htm

Why are they so bad? Let me have a crack at this. First, though, let me step down off my usual ‘it’s a skills / training / attitude issue’ soapbox and, instead, climb onto my sociologist soapbox (‘cos I think that’s where the root of the issue actually lies).

See . . . I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Canberra is also the place where, according to the Report on Government Services and elsewhere, the population is characterised by the highest rates of literacy, numeracy, tertiary quailification attainment and post-graduate qualification attainment in, well, the known universe (or Australia). Hands up who works in policy development and consultation thereto. Right . . . you’ll understand this next bit.

Keep your hand up and tell me . . . how many people do you know who give you the impression that they know everything about everything? How many people do you know or have encountered that are clearly so magnificently and positively an intellect of such staggering proportion that there is nothing — not even the operation of a motor vehicle — that they can be told anything about? How many people have you encountered that are committed to climbing the slippery pole to the very top of their profession in an ‘elite’ and ‘special’ part of the PS.? Yes . . . I thought so. Me too. In short, they are of a certain personality type and their density per square kilometer in Australia is highest right here. Ever noticed how you feel the same way after having encountered ‘them’ as you do when some selfish, insular, rights-bearing, cretinous cipher pushes your ‘irk’ button while driving home? It’s no coincidence.

Naturally, they are also brilliant drivers and entitled just as much to carve you up in traffic as they are to push ahead of you at Maccas when it’s busy. The little matter that they can’t tell you about vehicle control things like how to counter tri-axial-roll understeer is easily dismissed with a wave of a manicured hand and the turn of a deaf ear. Details, details, details. That they may well be brilliant in their chosen profession yet incapable of the fundamental physics calculations required to judge other vehicle’s speed and direction so as to perform a simple merge is also dismissed.

I think pretty much everyone posting thus far has identified behaviours that demonstrate the drivers in our fair city to be pretty sh*thouse (and, believe me, they are up there with the worst I have ever encountered on most of the planet’s continents). But the OP wanted to know why. While I think keijidosha has identified correctly and accurately the species, we need to look deeper to find the genus.

Back on my other soap box, though . . . man . . . so many folk out there can’t drive for sh*t. Until they’re taught otherwise (and have to pass test elements like an emergency stop from 200 km/hr, or demonstrating competency in an aquaplaning situation, or how to simply keep the boot in and merge with traffic for chrissake you dozy muppet what are you doing stopping there), then we will have what we have.

Davo111 said :

Innovation said :

Introduce a new plate for safe drivers (eg zero points and no at fault accidents for five years or more, completion of a safe driving course etc). This would give people something to strive for.

I’m not sure i’d want to strive for that. I see it as a way to be harassed by crazy drivers, just like learners (the safest drivers on the road) get treated like crap.

If anything reduced license cost/reduced ctp would be nice.

On reflection I agree. However, reduced license fees are not much incentive and reduced CTP seems pretty unlikely given the ACT Gov’t’s inability to fix the current CTP system. Also I suppose that reduced CTP would encourage poor drivers to register their car in safe drivers’ names (although perhaps the safe driver wouldn’t get reduced CTP for long….). Looks like the stick would be better than any carrot…..

Many drivers considered driving terribly by some may just well be venting frustration at others drivers who are ignorant to what is happening around them. Why is it that, despite many signs on Canberra roads, that people will still drive in the right hand lane if they are not overtaking? Quite often I will simply choose the left hand lane as it is usually moving at a pace that is closer to the speed limit.

The amount of cars on the road in Canberra that have faulty or ineffective indicators makes me want to venture into the business of fixing indicators – there is a gold mine out there.

Why is it that it is OK for someone to give you “the finger” and then speed off before you can politely ask them to pull over and discuss their actions?

I flashed my lights at a guy speeding through a school zone – just as I was about to drop my son off – his response? He gave me “the finger”

I beeped my horn when I was cut off in a lane merge by a guy who entered a cycle lane to get around me – his reponse? He gave me “the finger”

None of these people have pulled over for any explanation!

Innovation said :

Introduce a new plate for safe drivers (eg zero points and no at fault accidents for five years or more, completion of a safe driving course etc). This would give people something to strive for.

I’m not sure i’d want to strive for that. I see it as a way to be harassed by crazy drivers, just like learners (the safest drivers on the road) get treated like crap.

If anything reduced license cost/reduced ctp would be nice.

clueless70 said :

In accordance with this heritage, an urban Aussie driver (not you or I, of course) will speed in the left-most lane past traffic in the middle lane (in a hurry, selfish); then, meeting an obstacle in the left lane, cut right, forcing traffic in that lane to slow down (selfish, rude), change lanes to the right-most lane before a safe gap appears, speed again, then cross two lanes leftward in order to slam on the brakes and turn left into a side road (selfish, rude, in a hurry). Two blocks further along the side-road, this driver will be forced to stop at a red light and at that point lose any time previously gained by behaving like a furious drunkard.

Since moving down from Qld last November, this has been the biggest annoyance. I’m always right back next to the car at the next red light. I haven’t been surprised at all by the gridlock causing accidents occuring so frequently when it rains.

And from my observation, only 1 in 10 drivers seem to obey roadworks speed limits. There’s a lot of tailgating happening on the GDE, even when people are going the right speed.

EvanJames said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

1. Right hand lane hog – this is why people tailgate.

No, people tailgate because they are arrogant and aggressive, feel that they have somehow more right to be on the road than the people they’re tailgating, and essentially want to force other drivers to do what they want them to.

Tailgaters tailgate anyone, any time. It might be pleasant to imagine that you’re just dealing out some vigilante justice but in fact you are just being a nasty, anti-social, dangerous driver.

+1

There’s no excuse for it – ever.

shadow boxer10:15 am 23 Mar 11

Ceej1973 said :

In Germany, if you break the speed limit by a significant amount, or break any other traffic law to a similar extent, you A. lose your license, and B. are subject to an “idiot test”. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. You are dragged into the equivalent RTA, and are subject to an interview which consists of questions that would make you feel so small, you wished you had studied the learners handbook with as much effort as you have the centrefold of Wheels or New Idea mag. Each idiot test is based around the offence you have commited, here is just one persons account of the experience http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/expat2.html . I have several freinds who have under gone the idiot test. They were subject to questions like, do you often yell at colleagues? Do you have trouble understanding simple cooking recipes? Do you get enough sleep each day? etc.. There are just as many idiots on German roads as there are on Australian, and yes, there are falling Police on their roads too, but the risk for being an idiot and getting caught in Germany is higher, and one (risk) which is next to none existent on Australian roads.I personally like the idea, although in order for it to succeed, more Police on the roads would be required.

They also have sensible speed limits, this wouldn’t work here as 80% of people consider the limits too low (which they are) and therefore can’t really be shamed.

Bring on the Gungahlin Autobahn…

I think none of us are perfect and everyone can always improve. I am a cyclist, motorcyclist and car driver and I for one know that I can always improve in any of these modes.

My opinion (and it seems is a general theme in the posts here) is that people don’t do enough to try to predict what is happening or will happen around them and further down the road and don’t give others enough warning of what they intend to do. If anyone wants to improve their driving try it with a juggling ball on the passenger seat and one on the dash (but don’t cover up your air bag). Try not to move the ball and if they fall off the seat or the dash you definitely lose.

Also, drivers rightly should be allowed to drive below the speed limit if they choose and I would be curious to know what the offence is for driving at speeds that some regard as too slow. Perhaps they are driving slower because they have seen something on the road that the other driver hasn’t. I saw a great example recently where two cars on Adelaide Avenue braked to let a dog cross and the car in the T2 lane kept going past them at 80km/h and collected the dog full on.

My suggestions for improving behaviour on the road:
1/ Require those with nine points or more on their license to display P plates again (I suspect many of the extremely poor drivers are habitual offenders);
2/ Introduce a new plate for safe drivers (eg zero points and no at fault accidents for five years or more, completion of a safe driving course etc). This would give people something to strive for.

wildturkeycanoe said :

1. Right hand lane hog – this is why people tailgate.

No, people tailgate because they are arrogant and aggressive, feel that they have somehow more right to be on the road than the people they’re tailgating, and essentially want to force other drivers to do what they want them to.

Tailgaters tailgate anyone, any time. It might be pleasant to imagine that you’re just dealing out some vigilante justice but in fact you are just being a nasty, anti-social, dangerous driver.

If you are getting tailgated chances are you are going under the speed limit, remember your speedo will be roughly 10% out, which is from factory. The other more likely / maybe less likely is that everyone else is speeding and your not. Everyone speeds on Canberra roads because most of the time they get away with it. I agree with you though Canberra drivers aren’t great. I find courtesy is more of an issue here then anywhere else.

Its seems that the massive growth of the ACT public service and it’s need to employ interstate employees is starting to affect the level or awareness on the roads, therefore giving Canberrans bad names. We can’t assume that all yellow and black plates are from Qbn.

wildturkeycanoe said :

I got booked for “not keep left” on Coulter Drive whilst driving with NSW Provisional licence back in about ’92, then fought it and got let off because there is no such rule in A.C.T, Go figure!

There is a law to keep left, but it only applies on roads where the speed limit exceeds 80 kph or there is a sign saying keep left. Of course law may have been different in ’92.

Most Canberra’s drivers are road hogs, it amazes me how so many speed in the wet weather, and don’t put their headlights on, it’s all common sense.

In Germany, if you break the speed limit by a significant amount, or break any other traffic law to a similar extent, you A. lose your license, and B. are subject to an “idiot test”. Yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. You are dragged into the equivalent RTA, and are subject to an interview which consists of questions that would make you feel so small, you wished you had studied the learners handbook with as much effort as you have the centrefold of Wheels or New Idea mag. Each idiot test is based around the offence you have commited, here is just one persons account of the experience http://www.howtogermany.com/pages/expat2.html . I have several freinds who have under gone the idiot test. They were subject to questions like, do you often yell at colleagues? Do you have trouble understanding simple cooking recipes? Do you get enough sleep each day? etc.. There are just as many idiots on German roads as there are on Australian, and yes, there are falling Police on their roads too, but the risk for being an idiot and getting caught in Germany is higher, and one (risk) which is next to none existent on Australian roads.I personally like the idea, although in order for it to succeed, more Police on the roads would be required.

One reason for higher premiums here is kangaroos.

We are an unholy mix of all of Australia’s driving cultures.
Mix Sydney’s co-operate but move within 3 seconds with Adelaide’s drive on valium and what do you expect? Both work well in their contexts but put them together and you get, us.

The cycle lanes have raised the % of drivers signalling left, no amount of advertising would have done that.

wildturkeycanoe9:37 pm 22 Mar 11

There are x reasons why Canberra drivers are bad
1. Right hand lane hog – this is why people tailgate. Why drive in the right lane, in say a 90 zone, doing 75 – 80km/h next to another car doing the same speed? All the people behind who want to get home doing the legal limit have to slow down for 1 inconsiderate individual who more often than not is either talking on their mobile, is an elderly person, or from interstate/overseas. Oddly enough it’s NSW drivers, where “Keep Left Unless Overtaking” is imprinted on every main road, who are usually the culprits. In this case I GET ENRAGED. I never had these symptoms until I moved to Canberra. [I got booked for “not keep left” on Coulter Drive whilst driving with NSW Provisional licence back in about ’92, then fought it and got let off because there is no such rule in A.C.T, Go figure!] You can flash your lights, beep your horn, tailgate all you want, but these people do not get the hint. Get out of the fast lane so others can get past!!!!!!!
2. Change lane in round-a-bout – On the inside, trying to get past the slower driver, but the guy/chick in the left lane decides to take a shortcut through your designated path. A no-no I’ve seen too often.
3. Not give way and go slow – They just can’t wait to pull out in front of you because they’re in such a hurry to not press the accelerator pedal.

Well, I guess I’m now going to be branded as a “hoon”, Well, stuff it. I am, and proud of it. But I do not speed [no speeding ticket in 20 years], obey the road rules – Canberra version – and I’m perfect in every way [NOT]. Disclaimer – sarcasm may have been used in this post. If you do not understand sarcasm, bugger off.

Q: Why are Canberra drivers so bad?
A: Because they are Australians.

The problem is endemic to Australian urban roads generally, because of the characteristics all of us share to some extent, having been born and bred here.

The three nasties of on-road behaviour are selfishness, being in a hurry and lack of manners. I think attaining the trifecta is a rare thing, in global driving behaviour terms. You can sort of live with any two of the three. Parts of the Islamic and Asian world are selfish and rude but not always in a hurry. In dangerous situations there is time to make your own arrangements if you want to live. European drivers may be selfish and in a hurry but they follow the damned road rules or, if they break them, they do so in a culturally consistent way.

Australians do all three kinds of bad driving at any time and in any order. The reasons for this are historical, in my opinion.

We are selfish. It took a lot of killing, digging and fighting to get the place started. The colonial experience taught us to look after ourselves, and by ‘us’ and ‘ourselves’ I mean ‘me’. We call this selfishness other things, like ‘self-reliance’, ‘family values’ and ‘mateship’. To such a great extent is selfishness the rule in Australia, that helping strangers out in a flood- or fire-damaged town is treated as major news to be marvelled at. It’s all so surprising and human, it brings a tear to the eye.

We are in a hurry. Having no inner life, the typical Australian is materialistic. This is a deep and unthinking attitude, a kind of inverse fatalism. It assumes now is all we’ve got. Since you can’t take any of it with you, I’ll use it all now. This applies to personal time as it does to other resources. So, geddoutta-me-way. We call this haste other things, like ‘effective use of time’, ‘getting ahead’, ‘hedonism’ and ‘being busy’.

We have no manners. Listen to English-speaking expatriates as they marvel at the way they are treated in Australian shops, real estate agencies and restaurants, on the telephone, and in dealing with bureaucracy. Or just visit a pub that’s never seen the likes of you before in its drab little insular life. The aggressively rising terminal (statements ending like questions) has bewildered newcomers to Aussie officialdom for generations. From time to time even we are amazed at the rudeness of one another. But generally, we call this habitual rudeness other things, like being ‘egalitarian’, being ‘friendly’ and ‘no-bullshit’ and being ‘assertive’. Or – to refer to a current television show – we call it ‘Border Protection’.

In accordance with this heritage, an urban Aussie driver (not you or I, of course) will speed in the left-most lane past traffic in the middle lane (in a hurry, selfish); then, meeting an obstacle in the left lane, cut right, forcing traffic in that lane to slow down (selfish, rude), change lanes to the right-most lane before a safe gap appears, speed again, then cross two lanes leftward in order to slam on the brakes and turn left into a side road (selfish, rude, in a hurry). Two blocks further along the side-road, this driver will be forced to stop at a red light and at that point lose any time previously gained by behaving like a furious drunkard.

This is driving in Canberra, it’s driving in Melbourne, in Sydney … it’s driving in Australia – MATE.

rhino said :

I reckon it’s not that bad usually. The things that bother me are the people who gay way under the speed limit and hold everyone up…..

How precisely does one “gay way”? 🙂

Sleaz274 said :

They’re not. Plain and simple. We speed and tailgate because we can.

This is called bad driving. When is it ever safe to sit a metre behind the driver in front of you?

Tailgating is by far the most common example of poor driver behaviour committed by Canberra drivers.

Driving home today I was at the back of a queue of about 10 cards. I kept the requisite 2 seconds behind the car in front of me and had a clear view of all 9 cars in front. Without exception every single one of them was a metre or less than the car in front. All driving along at 10km/hr over the speed limit in an 80 zone. It would have been great to see the consequences if anyone had to suddenly brake.

For what purpose? Who got anywhere faster?

Coming a close second is general lack of courtesy. The car 6 metres in front of me is indicating that he wishes to merge into my lane. Better step on the accelerator so they can’t get in. The car in front of me is indicating that they want to turn onto a side road. Well there’s no way I’m going to slow down for them.

I’m with a few other posters. The roads lack traffic and are generally well made. It makes people complacent and unused to having to think about other road users. People aren’t used to being held up and get mighty pissed off when they are. There is probably also a bit of a public servant mentality going on. The percentage of self-important arses in this town is probably boosted by this.

I spent my first five years on the road riding motorbikes, and the caution I learned in that time has served me well. If everybody had to spend some time on two wheels we’d all be a lot safer. I’ve had 30 years of continuous driving in the ACT without a bingle or a speeding ticket.

I don’t think I’m a particularly skilled driver. I can’t do high speed handbrake turns, or drift my car or any of that stuff. However, I do think I’m a very safe driver. I keep to the speed limit, maintain a good distance between me and the next vehicle, and I’m very watchful. That’s about all it takes.

I reckon it’s not that bad usually. The things that bother me are the people who gay way under the speed limit and hold everyone up. There seems to be one group of people on a constant sunday drive and another group who are in a big hurry and get annoyed and hence tailgait to suggest that they increase their speed to what is appropriate. It seems to be different from north to south side too. right up in the top of gungahlin, there are often people in single lane roads going 20 or more kms under the speed limit. I go to the south side and drive back and everyone speeds on the main roads. I think i prefer the latter after living here on the north haha. I think it’s normal for young people to be in a hurry to do lots of things and older people don’t have much to do and are not in a hurry. That explains a lot of the difference between ages, but it isn’t strictly just an age thing.

CanberraGirl195:16 pm 22 Mar 11

Lefty said :

Keijidosha …

I love it!!!!! 🙂

+1 That was an excellent evaluation of Canberra drivers Keijidosha, seems to sum up the various groups perfectly!

They’re bad because they don’t need to bother with any hassles except the roundabouts. So we’re all driving around half asleep.

Maybe it’s because traffic in Canberra actually gets up over 15km/h with less stop start type commutes.

Rollersk8r said :

Simple – it’s the wide roads, lack of traffic and the expectation that you can still get anywhere within Canberra in under 15 minutes. Logically there is nothing different about the people here and I’m fairly sure training and testing is pretty much on a par with anywhere else.

In bigger cities you expect to be stuck in traffic so being generally watchful and courteous is a fact of life – you simply have to let people in at some stage so you can be let in yourself.

A fair proportion of drivers in Canberra refuse to give an inch simply because they’re not used to waiting and they have no reason to show courtesy.

Totally agree with this. I found it to be very similar in Christchurch where they seemed to have the attitude of “I will get across the city in 20 minutes because I always have, regardless of the increase of traffic or changes in roads over the last 30 years”!! Crazy.

troll-sniffer4:19 pm 22 Mar 11

blowers said :

This morning on the Tuggeranong Parkway, I am in the middle lane, driver speeds up on my left to almost touch the bumper in front of him then veers in front of me without indication and with a gap of about 1 metre between his rear and my front.
.

Well there are many traffic engineers who will inform you quite rightly that if you were only a bit more than one car length behind the vehicle in front at Parkway speeds you were too close. Two seconds is the recommended gap, any less and you run a real risk of shunting into the car in front if they have to stop suddenly.

Unfortunately your self-righteous example has only highlighted your own shortcomings as a driver.

justsomeaussie said :

They have tested this theory in a European city where they made all intersections uncontrolled and they actually noticed a lowering of traffic incidents.

I noticed something like this at the lights on the way to the airport recently, where Fairbairn meets Pialligo Ave. Big, busy intersection, and the lights were broken during evening home time.

Yet people from all directions were getting through, there was no bank up, no one lot of traffic flow hogging the intersection.

Instead, all cars were slowing down to look and think, which gave everyone a chance to have a go.

Just for sh*ts and giggles I have removed the word Canberran and replaced it with Asian in your title.

Ahhhh now I see the rage.

you’ve obviously been overtaken by a “winner” and it it quite obvious you are holding up “winners” on our roads – so my suggestion to you is you grow a spine and become a “winner” or be a little more easy to notice and buy a volvo and a white hat.

ghughes said :

excellent roads with no traffic leads to over-confident drivers concentrating on anything but driving

…This!

I was a good driver once when I used to live in a driving nightmare called the North Shores of Sydney…. (as beejay76 knows). You had to be good lest you lose that spot and be left behind the rest of the traffic. Just imagine it as the wild-wild-west where every other driver is a gunslinger you had to better. There’s a timing for everything and it has to happen punctually, else you suffer the blast of horns from all around.

And then I moved to Canberra, and my sharp driving instinct dribbled out of the side of my head. These days I’m not even looking ahead when I’m driving on the roads of Canberra.

And could we please get Sir David Attenborough to narrate Keijidousha’s post??

justsomeaussie3:29 pm 22 Mar 11

No one (that I’ve read so far) has the correct answer yet and it is…….

“it’s far too easy to drive in the ACT”

That’s it really. Canberra is by far the easiest city in Australia to drive. Lots of roundabouts, little peak traffic, nothing too complicated. It’s a consequence of it being too well planned.
Spend a day driving through Sydney CBD and you’ll feel physically and mentally tired from the effort of concentrating on what you are doing. Does that happen in the ACT? No.

Studies have shown time and time again that the better the road conditions are the worse the drivers get. This is the same reason why Canberra drivers freak out when there is even a small change to conditions i.e. rain, roadworks, dusk.

They have tested this theory in a European city where they made all intersections uncontrolled and they actually noticed a lowering of traffic incidents. The conclusion is, the safer we make the road conditions and the easier we make it to drive, the worse people are at driving.

Think of it this way, if you removed your air bag from your steering wheel and replaced it with a big spike, you would be the most observant, defensive driver on the road but now we have cars with 10 airbags, collision protection mechanisms, etc, it’s become easy to feel safe driving poorly.

@ #19 – I think you have hit the nail on the head.

Keijidosha …

I love it!!!!! 🙂

creative_canberran1:58 pm 22 Mar 11

The question of why Canberra drivers are bad isn’t so hard to answer.
Arrogance, ignorance and impatience explains a lot of it.
Some no doubt try to vicariously live out their dreams of being on Mt Panorama.

Perhaps more to the point though is are Canberra drivers so bad? That is to say how do we shape up here, being supposedly the smartest state/territory in Australia vs drivers interstate? Better or worse?

georgesgenitals1:57 pm 22 Mar 11

Special G said :

The picture sums it up I think. NSW plates on the two cars where you can make it out.

Exactly – they are the ones using the left lane.

The picture sums it up I think. NSW plates on the two cars where you can make it out.

Darwin Award wannabe’s. Want to really see how bad Canberra drivers are??? Get on a motorbike, then your eyes will open – cars, cyclists, scooters – you all simply have no idea of what you are doing. Have ridden the KaosKycle in most capitals and Canberra is the worst, peak hour or not. Kaptn has kicked a few doors here because of inattentive and ignorant drivers have just tried to pull into where the KaosKycle is – you are all so shocked and apologetic when you have a boot dent in your door or a mirror missing.

Come on – there are bad drivers everywhere. And the only effective way to make people better drivers is by punishing them when they break the road rules. It’s not rocket science – stick police everywhere, in both unmarked and marked cars, and start giving out fines for all of the “little” infringements whichy probably cause the greatest number of accidents and near misses, i.e. tailgating, not indicating, texting, changing lanes randomly, merging incorrectly, etc. Speed cameras do bugger all to change people’s driving habits.

hey sleaz, how about them ridiculous speed limits, huh? i mean, sheesh, what was the on at the time they came up with them? just ludicrous…

i agree, they’re often far to high.

Chief Ten Beers said :

The amount of times I have come back to my car after work and seeing a graze or dent in the back this year from some flog not knowing how to park properly is absurd! I totally agree with the OP.

Compared to the terrors of living at the coast (the very elderly towing very large boats mostly) we’ve got it pretty good with car park damage in Canberra.

Chief Ten Beers1:13 pm 22 Mar 11

The amount of times I have come back to my car after work and seeing a graze or dent in the back this year from some flog not knowing how to park properly is absurd! I totally agree with the OP.

They’re not. Plain and simple. We speed and tailgate because we can. Our roads are generally very good, visibility most times is excellent, peak hour lasts for 30 mins max and we can get anywhere within 20-30 mins from one end of the territory to the other at reasonable speed. I’ve seen far far worse displays of driving in Tasmania, Melbourne, Sydney and no doubt if I travelled more I’d see it around the rest of Australia as well.

Maybe you should jump on a motorbike and with a twist of the wrist no more tail gaters, plus your insurance is cheaper, your rego is cheaper, your fuel is cheaper and you’ll become much more self aware on the road and also take a far more insular and personal approach to your driving because it’s all about you.

Wow you saw an accident…yawn.
Wow someone encroached on your personal space…yawn
Wow you almost saw someone somehow almost but not actually run into something…yawn

Your driving issues and issues with other drivers aren’t Canberran’s fault they are YOURS.

I do however concede that driver training in Australia compared to more enlightened, progressive and efficient cultures (Germans) is simply woeful. The constant addiction to REVenue raising from short sighted easy approach politicians doesn’t help. And don’t get me started on the ludicrous speed limits.

Simple – it’s the wide roads, lack of traffic and the expectation that you can still get anywhere within Canberra in under 15 minutes. Logically there is nothing different about the people here and I’m fairly sure training and testing is pretty much on a par with anywhere else.

In bigger cities you expect to be stuck in traffic so being generally watchful and courteous is a fact of life – you simply have to let people in at some stage so you can be let in yourself.

A fair proportion of drivers in Canberra refuse to give an inch simply because they’re not used to waiting and they have no reason to show courtesy.

And I’ll keep saying it until I’ve typed my fingers down to bloody stumps – speed cameras do not catch the most dangerous drivers – those doing burnouts, sliding around corners and travelling WAY OVER the speed limit in small suburban streets.

I can see a Cyclist in that picture!

*inno*

Solidarity said :

KB1971 said :

To be honest, I don’t think its just a driver thing, its a peronality thing.

If you are a dick, you are a dick. It will be magnified in your driving habits.

I nearly reported a bloke last week who squeezed me close to a gutter while trying to tun left on my pushy. This caused me to run wide in fromt of him & him to toot me (I am guessing he would not have given me any room if we were a bit further from the corner), this toot caused an automatic reflex I have to rude drivers & up went my right hand with the middle finger firmly erect.

He then proceded to threaten me that he will run me down next time with his other car that has a bull bar.

Car or not, he was a dick.

I also think that this behavoir is more noticeable on our roads compared to the bigger cities due to the lack of traffic. When I drive in the bigger cities I am resigned to the fact that it will take me an hour to get anywhere. Here in Canberra the trip from one end of town to the other can take 30 minutes, 40 minutes in peak times so people then become impatient because of the delay.

My 20c.

Dascalimer: I do not want to turn this into a cyclist v driver rant, it was just a recent example I have of dickery, I actually find that 99% of the drivers I encounter here while riding are quite acommodating on my commute to work.

You flipped him the bird, what do you expect? A thoughtful wave?

After he nearly ran me up the gutter? What did he expect?

Solidarity said :

KB1971 said :

*snip*
Dascalimer: I do not want to turn this into a cyclist v driver rant, it was just a recent example I have of dickery, I actually find that 99% of the drivers I encounter here while riding are quite acommodating on my commute to work.

You flipped him the bird, what do you expect? A thoughtful wave?

Lol, you’re kidding right?

Driver of vehicle comes close to knocking a cyclist of his bike. Repercussions of such could have been hospital trip, time off work, damaged property, severe/permanent injury, death.

Cyclist responds by preventing this from happening.

Driver responds with horn blast (which can easily be interpreted as “f you”)

Cyclists response to this was “f you” via hand signals.

Drivers response to this was a death threat.

Are you claiming that the person on the bike should have expected to have his life threatened as a result of telling someone off for being so careless with his life in the first instance?

Yes, a finger will provoke a reaction via some people, as will a horn blast.

However for the driver to then threaten to run down the cyclist with his bull bar equipped vehicle is a death threat AFAIC.

Then we have people justifying the response of the driver?

My solution, a fix for many attitude problems on Canberra roads.

During licence testing, have all potential motor vehicle drivers sit a psych test. If a person is not genuinely scared of the fact that their actions whilst in control of a motor vehicle could lead to the serious injury and/or death of others, that person should not be awarded the privilege of driving.

excellent roads with no traffic leads to over-confident drivers concentrating on anything but driving

Excellent roads, no traffic leads to ambivalent drivers concentrating on everything but driving

Solidarity said :

Why does everyone think that they’re a good driver?

’cause i am. 🙂

i actually don’t think canberra drivers are any worse than elsewhere (though i have some concurrence with the comments about queenslanders!) canberra has its own foibles and we notice them – tailgating, for one. grrrrrr… – but we generally have some idea about how to use a round-a-bout and are getting better at zip merging. but there are dicks and moron drivers the country – the globe – over and we rant about our tintop lunatics because they’re ours and we see them day to day.

that said, i think the wide open spaces of big canberra roads can lead to a lax attitude in some drivers about their ‘space’ on the road – i had a friend years ago who came from sunny sydney already a motorcyclist, and a good, courteous one, who learned to drive a car here and i am never very comfortable in a car with her driving yet i’d gladly ride pillion with her. weird, huh?

johnboy said :

Was she hot?

Not too bad actually.

From what I can work out, the most prominent species of Canberra drivers are:

1) Public servants. The unofficial motto of the public service is to climb as high as you can as fast as you can, so naturally this culture seeps into driving attitudes. The public servant believes they are the most important person on the road, and that the road is his/her own. They will defend this ownership to the death against other drivers (and cyclists). Their natural environment is city peak hour, where the blood pressure of the public servant will rise to almost aneurysm inducing levels. At this point they begin to engage in their mating ritual of “road rage”, attracting attention through the flailing of limbs and their beetroot-coloured face.
Taken out of this environment and placed into a calmer, rural setting, the public servant is clearly uncomfortable and out of its depth. With only one lane to use, they feel the uncontrollable urge to show dominance by challenging oncoming traffic, with often disasterous concequences.

2) Tradies. You can typically spot a tradie by the two-wheeled appendage trailing their vehicle, and the mobile phone welded to the side of their head. Because they’re always running late for the next job they have a single missive to get wherever they need to be using whatever means necessary. Indicators, school zones, red lights and pedestrian crossings are all largely irrelevant to the tradie.

3) Bogans. The bogan is a simple creature, with habits formed genetically through a combination of inbreeding and excessive alcohol consumption. For the bogan, the car is not only a means of getting to Centrelink or McDonalds drive-thru, but a 4-wheeled display of their style and prowess. Often the bogan can be seen displaying their importance through ceremonial rear wheel spinning,
street racing, drink driving, or any combination of the above. The culmination of these actions is often a powerful display of incompetence and metal twisting force.

4) MIMs (Mums In Minivans) – Whether it be Tarago, Carnivale or the latest SUV/Ford Territory, the driver is from the same breed. Baby seats in the back, scowl on the face, commercial radio blasting out the latest hit song from P!nk. Their natural habitat is parked illegally outside schools, but you may also find them desperately seeking the closest carpark to the mall entrance, or flying by you so fast that the doors of your car are nearly ripped from their hinges as they shuttle their brood to the next appointment.

5) ‘P’ platers. The ‘P’ plater is largely a victim of circumstance. Raised by a member of one of the above species, for the most part they are useless fumbling dolts doing their best to ensure they will not live long enough to propagate the species.

blowers said :

3. Driving in left lane up Gunghalin Extension past interchange. Right lane closed ahead and all traffic has entered the left lane in anticipation. Except for one fella who races along the right, and without looking forces left when we have no room to offer up. I need to slam my brakes to miss him and almost have another car on my rear. he waves as a thankyou for letting him in.

I have to ask: if you saw him coming, why did you need to slam on the brakes? What were you expecting to happen when his lane ended? This sounds a lot like the “don’t let anyone in” mindset that others have mentioned.

As a general observation: I’ve lived in four different cites around Australia and NZ, and every one of them has claimed to have the worst drivers. They can’t all be right.

KB1971 said :

To be honest, I don’t think its just a driver thing, its a peronality thing.

If you are a dick, you are a dick. It will be magnified in your driving habits.

I nearly reported a bloke last week who squeezed me close to a gutter while trying to tun left on my pushy. This caused me to run wide in fromt of him & him to toot me (I am guessing he would not have given me any room if we were a bit further from the corner), this toot caused an automatic reflex I have to rude drivers & up went my right hand with the middle finger firmly erect.

He then proceded to threaten me that he will run me down next time with his other car that has a bull bar.

Car or not, he was a dick.

I also think that this behavoir is more noticeable on our roads compared to the bigger cities due to the lack of traffic. When I drive in the bigger cities I am resigned to the fact that it will take me an hour to get anywhere. Here in Canberra the trip from one end of town to the other can take 30 minutes, 40 minutes in peak times so people then become impatient because of the delay.

My 20c.

Dascalimer: I do not want to turn this into a cyclist v driver rant, it was just a recent example I have of dickery, I actually find that 99% of the drivers I encounter here while riding are quite acommodating on my commute to work.

You flipped him the bird, what do you expect? A thoughtful wave?

Black said :

I find it frustrating at time that we have such great roads here, at least compared with other capitals, that people find it so hard to drive at the speed limit. I would also hazzard a guess that the frustration and tailgating of younger drivers is caused by the inability of many people to drive anywhere near the speed limit.

The speed limit sign is just that – the limit!!! Why do drivers think that just because it says 80kmph that you HAVE to drive 80km? You don’t. The signs interpret that you can drive any speed up to 80 but not over. Yes, you probably get fined for going too slow too…..but not many people drive 50km in an 80km zone.

But because Canberra drivers (and most interstate drivers too) are so impatient with others, they do what they do. Yes, I agree that some drivers are painful in how they drive, but a majority drive ok.

This debate could go on and on…..and on and on….

If you get tailgated….wash your windows. The tailgaters hate getting their car wet and back off straight away – cursing – but they back off 🙂

Very Busy said :

Why? – very easy – Because they can. There are no consequences for breaking the law. .

this.

Also, i dont think the “law breakers” are any worse than other states (let me assure you the grass isn’t greener in nsw). I’d say indicating and roundabouts are the areas of concern, and because there are more high-traffic roundabouts in ACT, its going to magnify the issue.

What they need is to:
– Focus on a route, and RBT every car going past there (both minor and major roads)
– Get heaps of unmarked police cars, and start video recording offences (like failure to indicate/cutting lanes dangerously) and send fines in the mail.
– setup cameras on roundabouts that constantly record, but if they hear a loud sound like tyres screeching or a smash, then they save that footage to be analysed.
– introduce stop sign cameras on high risk junctions (that have stop signs)

just brainstorming here.

blowers said :

We are the lucky ones. We get drivers from all over the country and from overseas. So, there is no such thing as a Canberra driver, just a bunch of people with bad driving habits.
Three examples come to mind immediately.
1……3. Driving in left lane up Gunghalin Extension past interchange. Right lane closed ahead and all traffic has entered the left lane in anticipation. Except for one fella who races along the right, and without looking forces left when we have no room to offer up. I need to slam my brakes to miss him and almost have another car on my rear. he waves as a thankyou for letting him in..

Classic Sydney-driver behaviour. Might be a refugee from the Shire?

Was she hot?

The ACT / Canberra has a very transitional population – almost a Singapore-style revolving door of ‘expats’ from other states. Each major city has its own driving ‘culture’. When you throw a Queensland-raised driver (where you do the ACTUAL speed limit in the right hand lane whilst overtaking the people doing 10km under in the left lane) in a mix with a Sydney-based driver (speed in the right lane, tailgate) when throw in some natives (block people from changing lanes, speed up when its wet) and a few Melbourne-educated drivers (it’s OK to turn left from the right-hand lane in a round-about, just pretend there is a tram around) then you have a ready mix for chaos; and that is what we have.

georgesgenitals said :

Why are Canberra drivers so bad?

– Ineffective training and testing
– Lack of police presence and enforcement of many road rules
– No culture of coutesy

Hit the nail on the head.

When I was in school completing the road ready test for L’s, I seem to remember a girl who took EIGHT attempts at the test to gain her L’s (most people got it on their first or second attempt). By the end of year 12 (roughly 2.5 years later) she had written off two cars (both her fault) and her licence was suspended for something like 160km/h in an 80 zone. This person, in my opinion, received a licence in error, and the authorities were given plenty of chances to correct their mistake.

Oh, I dunno. I reckon Canberra drivers are pretty good on the whole. I’m from north shore Sydney. Doesn’t come much worse than them. People up there will knife you before letting you merge. When a few kilometres takes 45 minutes, every centimetre of road space is hard-fought and people will not give it up. They’re aggressive, thoughtless and reckless. It’s a pretty unpleasant cocktail. It all seems pretty calm and comfortable down here. Except, of course, that Canberrans do love to speed.

GardeningGirl11:27 am 22 Mar 11

Mess said :

+1 for lack of courtesy. Not only on the roads, but even walking around shopping centres people cut you off and push past you, and wander all over the place.

Also is it just me, or do Canberra drivers not seem to be able to stay within their own lanes anymore? It’s particularly bad on roundabouts, but even driving in a straight line down the Monaro highway drivers have tendency to wonder all over the road.

+2

georgesgenitals said :

Why are Canberra drivers so bad?

– Ineffective training and testing

I think that’s a big one. New driver training and licencing in the ACT is something of a joke. It’s easy to be a bad driver when you have very little idea of what you’re doing.

To be honest, I don’t think its just a driver thing, its a peronality thing.

If you are a dick, you are a dick. It will be magnified in your driving habits.

I nearly reported a bloke last week who squeezed me close to a gutter while trying to tun left on my pushy. This caused me to run wide in fromt of him & him to toot me (I am guessing he would not have given me any room if we were a bit further from the corner), this toot caused an automatic reflex I have to rude drivers & up went my right hand with the middle finger firmly erect.

He then proceded to threaten me that he will run me down next time with his other car that has a bull bar.

Car or not, he was a dick.

I also think that this behavoir is more noticeable on our roads compared to the bigger cities due to the lack of traffic. When I drive in the bigger cities I am resigned to the fact that it will take me an hour to get anywhere. Here in Canberra the trip from one end of town to the other can take 30 minutes, 40 minutes in peak times so people then become impatient because of the delay.

My 20c.

Dascalimer: I do not want to turn this into a cyclist v driver rant, it was just a recent example I have of dickery, I actually find that 99% of the drivers I encounter here while riding are quite acommodating on my commute to work.

Why? – very easy – Because they can. There are no consequences for breaking the law. The situation has progressively got worse since revenue cameras were introduced to replace Police Officers more than 10 years ago.

Self centred people who don’t give a rats arse about anyone else are free to cut people off, talk on their phones while they wander in and out of their lane, never indicate, stop in no stopping zones, use fog lights in clear weather, etc etc etc

These self centred people are not limited to young drivers. They are men and women, young and old. They are the minority but have a huge presence on our roads.

The situation can only be reversed with a long, low tolerance, campaign focusing on ALL of the road rules – not just speed related offences. It will probably take at least 5 years for a campaign such as this to get us back to where we were before the introduction of revenue cameras.

The Transport Minister doesn’t seem to realise that if people get into the habit of obeying ALL of the road rules they will fall into line with the speeding and drink driving laws too.

Black said :

I would also hazzard a guess that the frustration and tailgating of younger drivers is caused by the inability of many people to drive anywhere near the speed limit.

It’s always interesting to see into the mind of a tailgater.

+1 for lack of courtesy. Not only on the roads, but even walking around shopping centres people cut you off and push past you, and wander all over the place.

Also is it just me, or do Canberra drivers not seem to be able to stay within their own lanes anymore? It’s particularly bad on roundabouts, but even driving in a straight line down the Monaro highway drivers have tendency to wonder all over the road.

I don’t think it is the lack of Policing, I was in Melbourne for a week or so, driving around everywhere, outskirts, city etc.

I saw 2 Police cars my whole stay, they were dealing with shop lifters in the city. Drivers down there aren’t to bad. Sydney, same thing, I can honestly say, from the 20 odd years of going through Sydney I have maybe counted 5 or so Police cars on the road. Doesn’t mean they aren’t there, just that I haven’t seen them.

So I don’t think the Police can be blamed, I’m going to say;
a) A high number of persons who think they are more important then everyone else;
b) See a)
c) A lot of people on international licenses;
d) Canberra drivers are wankers.

georgesgenitals10:49 am 22 Mar 11

Why are Canberra drivers so bad?

– Ineffective training and testing
– Lack of police presence and enforcement of many road rules
– No culture of coutesy

I find it frustrating at time that we have such great roads here, at least compared with other capitals, that people find it so hard to drive at the speed limit. I would also hazzard a guess that the frustration and tailgating of younger drivers is caused by the inability of many people to drive anywhere near the speed limit.

Pommy bastard10:31 am 22 Mar 11

Why are Canberra drivers so bad? Practice.

We are the lucky ones. We get drivers from all over the country and from overseas. So, there is no such thing as a Canberra driver, just a bunch of people with bad driving habits.
Three examples come to mind immediately.
1. Yesterday lunchtime on Barry Drive a motorcyclist on a small honda stalls his bike so he’s stopped in the middle of the lane and parked at a 45 degree angle, head down trying to sort out what went wrong with the bike. He could have simply lifted it out of the way instead of blocking a very busy lane.
2. This morning on the Tuggeranong Parkway, I am in the middle lane, driver speeds up on my left to almost touch the bumper in front of him then veers in front of me without indication and with a gap of about 1 metre between his rear and my front.
3. Driving in left lane up Gunghalin Extension past interchange. Right lane closed ahead and all traffic has entered the left lane in anticipation. Except for one fella who races along the right, and without looking forces left when we have no room to offer up. I need to slam my brakes to miss him and almost have another car on my rear. he waves as a thankyou for letting him in.
In the third instance here i am happy to accept the fella might not have known that the road gang had put more cones in to close the road off than the day earlier so was surprised by the sudden need to create a single lane but if he had paid attention, all the other courteous drivers had already set the precedence.

Why does everyone think that they’re a good driver?

Really? I’ve spent a lot of time driving all over the place. I’m a motorcyclist also, and I think I’m pretty self aware when I’m on the roads.

Over Christmas I was up on the NSW/QLD border for a few weeks and without question, the QLD drivers on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane were the worst drivers I’ve encountered in a long time. I would describe them as the total opposite of how you have. I mentioned it to a friend of mine who is from Brisbane and she got quite defensive about it – until she came for a drive with me. After 15 minutes of pointing out erratic, rude, crazy, and dangerous behaviour, she agreed with me.

Canberra drivers can be quite complacent. I think that’s due to having (generally) excellent roads and very little policing. Are we the worst? That’s debatable.

A combination of all of the above I think. There seems to be an ‘arrogance’ with some drivers in this fair city, in particular with younger drivers, where they think they are invincible. I’ve noticed tailgating is common and, strangely, it seems 50/50 between young men and women.

I’ve seen the most stupid of decisions made by these drivers as well – passing on double lanes, overtaking in front of other cars, etc, which just makes you cringe. I have a new found respect for ‘road-rage’ as a result, and I think that it should be a right in some cases such is the poor driving of these idiots.

As some previous threads have covered, its not only more policing that’s needed, its also allowing the average driver to report these matters. I’m just surprised that the road toll isn’t a damn sight higher – sad, but true!

Lack of courtesy I think is key. For some reason people here are angry drivers, they see other drivers as The Enemy, on Their Road, and it’s a competition.

In general, P drivers seem to have this attitude but Canberra drivers maintain it through their driving lives, unless they go drive in Sydney CBD or even better, the US and learn how to work with others on the road, rather than trying to defeat them.

Egoism
Ignorance
Lack of police presence/visability.

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