As if Mondays aren’t bad enough – I can’t believe it’s the middle of summer and Perth’s weather has turned to shit in just under 24 hours! I’m guessing it’s because of Cyclone Joyce up north. But still, it’s really weird for the temperature to plummet so quickly in less than a day.
Unfortunately, that’s not all that the cyclone has unleashed on the people of Perth. I don’t know what it is about wet weather, but it just brings out the worst drivers! On both trips to and from work, I witnessed almost 3 accidents waiting to happen… which got me thinking about the worst driving habits that Perth people can’t seem to shake.
Are you ready?
Everyone knows this – Perth drivers CANNOT merge! It’s frustrating when the driver in front in the slip lane decides that they want to merge at 20 km’s under the speed limit. This has a predictable domino effect. I understand that the driver is trying to be cautious, but seriously, people need to think about the cars in the lane they are merging with. Perth drivers seem to believe that they have to slow down in a short space of time so they don’t hit anyone thus affecting the flow of traffic in the left hand lane. But in fact, that can ENDANGER lives by trying to merge at that a lower speed, so please, accelerate to the speed limit when merging – the last thing I want to see is an accident!
And then there’s the polar opposite. Everyone knows that when you’re in peak hour traffic, DON’T STOP to merge! I’m talking about those drivers that are already in the lane that is merging into the slip road. There is NOTHING in the road rules handy book (you know, that-little-blue-book-that-you-needed-to-study-in-order-to-get-your-licence-in-the-first-place) that says you have to completely stop to merge (go ahead, check it if you don’t believe me). People think that they are trying to be courteous and all by letting cars in, but again, it disturbs the traffic flow. Also, it’s the responsibility of the person who is merging to try to ‘fit’ into the lane, not yours! So why try to make it your problem?
Last but not least, when there’s 2 lanes that are about to merge into 1, it’s common knowledge that if any part of the car beside you is ahead of you, then you let them go first. DONT SPEED UP! And if it gets to that point where braking is involved because no one can decide who goes first? Well, then you’ve really failed driving 101. Sorry to be so blunt, but I can’t stress the importance of always checking your mirrors to make sure that this doesn’t happen. Oh wait. I forgot that Perth drivers don’t use them anyway.
The Speed Limit
This is the one Perth driving habit I encounter the most. People really need to do the speed limit. And stick to it! I once had this incident where I was in the left hand lane on Roe Highway and the lady in front of me was going 60 km per hour… in a 100 km zone! There was no reason for her to go so slow, but I couldn’t even change lanes to get around her because cars were flying down the right hand lane at the 100km per hour speed limit. It’s pretty scary to pull out going 40 km’s under the speed limit and try to accelerate in a 10 year old, 4 cylinder car. Even harder in peak hour traffic!
Unfortunately, this happens EVERYWHERE. It’s even worse when the sun is directly in your eyes. So be careful if you start seeing the person in front of you start to slow down, it could be that they are being blinded by the morning or afternoon sun and didn’t think to wear sunglasses, or learn to use their sun-visors properly. If you choose not to do the speed limit, stay in the left hand lane; it’s that simple! DON’T be a lane hog!
The Right Hand Lane
One thing I find very strange is that drivers on Reid Highway will go 10 km’s UNDER the speed limit, whereas drivers on Roe Highway will go 10 km’s over. I thought this was worth mentioning, because it’s NOT ok to sit in the right hand lane when not going the allocated speed limit. There have been some cases where I’ve been travelling along in the right hand lane, only to find that the car in front of me is going 20 km’s under the speed limit. Not only is this ILLEGAL, but it’s dangerous too. Sometimes, I wonder if Perth drivers have ever heard of ‘keep left unless overtaking’. This is why people weave in and out of traffic because of idiots that sit in the right hand lane! For some reason, they don’t realise that there are people behind them – oh wait. There’s that issue of not using the car mirrors again.
I travel through about 4 roundabouts on my way to work in the mornings, and the amount of near misses I have seen is astounding. Perth drivers really need to learn to INDICATE when leaving a roundabout – that includes when going straight through! People are not mind readers; no one knows where anyone is heading, and no one wants to end up hitting a car.
Oh! And you DON’T need to come to a full stop at the roundabout if there are no cars in sight. The perforated line in front means GIVE WAY, not stop! Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that people are practising safe driving, but 3am on a Saturday morning isn’t not really peak hour, so why come to a complete halt?
This is just a carry on from the above…lack of indication! We’ve all seen someone change lanes or make a turn WITHOUT using an indicator. Once again, people are not mind readers – they have no idea that someone needs to visit their grandma for her birthday and they’re running late, but really, is it that hard to use indicators when turning? The worst culprits are those that do indicate, but they do it at the last minute… Really? It’s really inconsiderate and rude, not to mention dangerous!
This is just something that annoys me, but I think it is actually taught to us when we start learning to drive a car to wait a couple of seconds before going at traffic lights. This is just a pet peeve of mine but can’t stand Perth drivers who wait more than 4 seconds to go after the traffic lights turn green. I mean, it’s like people are lethargic on the acceleration pedal! It’s even more frustrating when these people do this at traffic lights that are notorious for only letting about 3 or 4 cars pass at a time.
I always seem to end up behind one of these people, and they end up making the lights, whereas I don’t, and have to wait another 5 minutes for them to change again. This is fine on a day where I’m not in a rush to get anywhere quickly, but it is NOT fun when I am trying to get into work on time. So, for the sake of my sanity, please pay attention to the traffic light changes and GO when they turn green!
This one is probably just as bad as merging – Perth people love to do this… and sadly, I’m sure that a majority of you have been guilty of this one too. And, I can understand the intent of tailgating; it’s used as an intimidation tactic, basically to pressure the person in front to get out of the way. This mainly happens in the right hand lane, when the person in front isn’t going fast enough.
This happens to me every single week. Take today for example. I was actually going a little faster than the speed limit along Roe Highway, and if I moved into the left hand lane, I would have to slow down which is obviously inconvenient for me. But this guy must have been ignorant to the fact that the left hand lane was already going slow, and kept on the back of my car. I thought about braking so that I would scare him just enough so that he would back off, but it’s not something that can be done in peak hour traffic. Plus I’m not a idiot, so I just endured the incessant revving of his car behind me. It wasn’t until after 3 sets of lights that I was able to move over to let him pass. I glared at him as he went by (as you do when you know you are in the right).
So, a message to all the tailgaters – yes, those people who you are tailgating can see you! And yes, they would give way to you if they could, but sometimes it’s just not possible. You’re not going to get there any faster either; it’s more than likely the traffic lights will stop you and they will catch up with you anyway. And yes, if you needed to brake quickly, you would end up in the back of their car and you would be at fault. So, would you rather take an extra 10 minutes to get to your destination, or lose your no claim bonus?
I think at one stage or another, we have all been guilty of using our mobiles while driving. Whether it be for making a phone call or texting, checking emails or going on Facebook, you will be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t broken the ‘no phones while driving’ rule. But the one thing that bothers me about Perth drivers, is that they still break this law while in transit.
If you’re in peak hour traffic, or you find yourself in some heavy traffic for some reason, please be alert and be aware of your surroundings. DON’T text during this time, because it can only take a split second to smack into the car in front of you.
The same thing goes for phone calls – hands-free is the way to go! It’s pretty much the same as putting your incoming call on speaker phone anyway. Just please – DON’T put your phone to your ear! There’s massive fines in place for people who get caught, so the sensible thing is not to do it in the first place.
And if it can’t wait; PULL OVER! Or at least pull into a side street and do what you need to do. Simple.
Oops, I think that turned into a long! Anyway, I’m not sure if I’ve missed anything, but these are what I consider the worse habits of Perth drivers. Unfortunately, I don’t think that they are going to change anytime soon.
So what are your thoughts on Perth driving habits? Or just driving habits in general? Have I got it right or have I missed anything? Let me know in the comments below!