Australian Drivers - Keep Left Please

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Here I am again at Brisbane airport waiting for my flight to Sydney, but don’t worry, this time I am not getting picked up in a Lamborghini Murcielago upon my arrival, in fact I am most probably going to be picked up in a Falcon of all things, not exactly my type of car.

It’s not the car that worries me though; it’s the drivers in Sydney that make me feel a little funny inside. I am from QLD, and I am willing to admit QLD drivers are not the best in the country, but Sydney drivers? I like to divide them into two groups, the “Stig wannabes” and the "I’ve been driving for forty years so I can make a right turn in the middle of the highway if I want to” types.

There seems to be no ordinary drivers left in Sydney, perhaps they all hide and only come out at night in small groups? In Brisbane – foreign drivers (as in those who’ve passed the test in another country – such as my parents) and older drivers seem to cause the most headaches.

On the odd occasion that I am willing to put my life in danger and get in the car with my mother or father behind the wheel, I wonder to my self how on earth they both still have all 12 points. Surely every single road rule is broken every 5 minutes, no I am wrong, every single rule except speeding.

My father’s idea of indicating involves thinking about merging right and hoping the innocent person in the right lane can somehow read his mind. He believes stop signs are for P platers and Speed limits are only a maximum guide. He even waves to traffic cops as he drives past with his indicator still blinking from a right turn he made 60 KMs ago.

Admittedly apart from not following any road rules, my dad is a good driver – he knows where the car is on the road and comes from a time when ABS brakes were unheard of.

My mother on the other hand, is not a good driver....Read More
I recently took part in the WRX experience on the gold coast, and while that was somewhat scary, being in a car with my mother piloting is a whole new experience of fear and panic, it is easily the best guaranteed way to lose 10kg in 2 weeks.

She has never had one single infringement ticket, yet she has had more accidents than Paris Hilton, and of course none were her fault, who ever said slow drivers don’t cause accidents should be sent to Guantanamo Bay for five years.

The back of her car has seen the workshop at least once a year. She likes to slow to a stop at give way signs or roundabouts. She thinks this is the safest way to drive – a small part of me dies every time I witness this – I admit it, I hate my own mother's driving (thank god she can cook).

Nonetheless, she, like my father is a rating one driver, the cops love her. Now I want to ask the good people at QLD transport – how come there are no “Every K under is a killer” campaigns? Why aren’t slow drivers targeted in police “blitz”?

I’ve personally been in the car with my mother as she has been pulled over for an illegal U-turn, oh but she is always a responsible driver – this was just an accident, lets let her of with a warning this time. Excuse me, but can I get that treatment Mr officer?

Unfortunately not. If you’re under 30 and if you drive a car which has more than 150kWs, the police hate you, well that’s not entirely true, after all without us, who would fund the police ball? Or the new FPV Typhoons? Or the 300C? But lets not forget the Lotus?

I’ve come to the conclusion that given all politicians are the same age as my parents, there must be a secret code, some sort of handshake that says “Look, I know I can’t drive, but I’ve been trying for 30 years, so give me a break”.

All statistics point to constant failures by the state transport authorities to reduce the road toll, yet no one seems to take notice. I recently had a white-bearded man argue with me that since his taxes have paid for the roads that I drive on, he should have it easier. This is an excellent argument.

In fact I am going to agree with him – let them have it easier on the road, but since our generation created the technology and powered the little computers in every new car, I propose a new plan, if you’re over 60 and looking at buying a new car, all driver aids and computer systems have to be disabled.

But that’s not going to happen, so let’s get back to reality. Since the state authorities are not willing to tackle the problem of older drivers forgetting how to drive, perhaps they can at least enforce the road rules a little more?

Can we have “Keep Left September?” A whole month dedicated to reminding drivers to stay in the left lane. There is a running joke here at the Car Advice office, the fastest lane in Australia is the left lane, and we see this every single bloody day.

Or maybe we can have a “Lets not slow down as we merge onto the highway December" – or maybe the authorities can run a “Every K under is road rage” campaign targeting drivers doing 70 in a 90 zone. I am sorry but I don’t care if going slow is conditional, if you’re doing 70 in a 90 zone, either pull over and attend to whatever it is that you need to attend to or catch the bus.

Nothing is more frustrating than having to speed up to pass a slow driver. It’s plain and simple, slow drivers cause accidents, but not until some young blood finds its way into the state transport systems will we see any action.

Oh here comes my plane…. Lets hope Sydney drivers have had their medication today…

Alborz Fallah