Oh no – after you 

I am sure that many people rant about the habits of drivers with whom they share the road.

In WA, the issue is nearly always about merging.

Merging is not difficult. If a car is ahead of you, you cede and if you are ahead of the car, you should expect it to drop back to merge behind you.

It is really not expected to be a battle of the tarmac.

Somehow, over here, it has developed into an insane land-grab thing, so people often comment about the apparent difficulties Perth drivers have with merging.

Recently, they have changed the design of the merging zone from two lanes whose solid middle line changed to a series of dashes and then to a fat lane which grows thinner – something that generally seems to paralyse some drivers with fear or incite over-aggression in others. It is now a lane that gradually tapers wth large arrows painted on the tarmac directing the merging traffic towards the other lane. In order to help its citizens navigate the change, there have been TV adverts showing the good people of Perth how to work together – featuring toddlers in toy cars merging like maniacs.

I know that some people get nervous when there are a load of moving parts and you never quite know whether the driver behind you is a mouse or a lunatic, so I don’t worry too much about the frustrations of merging. What does drive me crazy, though is excessive politeness when it involves idiotic behaviour.

The most common of these is when a driver (or idiot, to be more precise) spots a pedestrian trying to cross a main road and literally stops their vehicle and regally waves them across. I can not believe the number of times I have had to stop behind someone doing this, who is clearly not a fan of their rear view driving mirror and blissfully unaware of the stack of cars building up needlessly behind them as they gesture to an oblivious pedestrian, often from one of two lanes the other of which still has free-frowing traffic. I mean it is not as if we don’t have to stop every kilometre for a red traffic light, God forbid we should get a clear run in between them.

The other day I was in a long queue of cars at a red light. There was road to the right and the person in front of me had, quite correctly left a gap between her and the car infront to allow the car waiting at the road to turn right into the road. For what ever reason, the car did not move, probably because they wanted to get into the next lane over where there was still a lot of cars. The lights turned green, our lane started to move, but I didn’t. The woman in front of me refused to budge, she was determined to let the car in, whether it wanted to or not. She continued to wave at it like she was trying to coax a badger out of its set.

If she had just looked into her rear vision mirror, she would have seen there was just me and another car behind her. If she had moved the whole road would have been clear and the car could have moved.

I am all for courtesy on the road, but sometimes however well meaning, it is misplaced, but I hold out hope. Keep going, guys – you have almost got the hang of roundabouts.


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