Skip to content Skip to main navigation


Avani Terraces - Greenway
Life is looking up

Why are Canberra drivers so bad?

By ps0104 - 22 March 2011 116


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.

What’s Your opinion?

Post a comment
Please login to post your comments, or connect with
116 Responses to
Why are Canberra drivers so bad?
arescarti42 11:21 am 22 Mar 11

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.

KB1971 11:11 am 22 Mar 11

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.

Very Busy 11:09 am 22 Mar 11

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.

EvanJames 11:00 am 22 Mar 11

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.

Mess 10:55 am 22 Mar 11

+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.

buzz819 10:54 am 22 Mar 11

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.

georgesgenitals 10:49 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

Black 10:42 am 22 Mar 11

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 bastard 10:31 am 22 Mar 11

Why are Canberra drivers so bad? Practice.

blowers 10:29 am 22 Mar 11

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.

Solidarity 10:26 am 22 Mar 11

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

Mysteryman 10:22 am 22 Mar 11

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.

The Frots 10:21 am 22 Mar 11

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!

EvanJames 10:15 am 22 Mar 11

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.

pptvb 10:13 am 22 Mar 11

Lack of police presence/visability.

1 2 3 8

Related Articles

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Copyright © 2017 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved. | |

Search across the site