Why no police patrol cars in town?

17:09, Mar 12 2014

We often despair about bad driving out of town, where selfish prats seem to drive by the "my way on the highway" law.

Thing is, there are just as many unthinking, uncaring, self-centred drivers in town as well.

Why are there never any patrol cars in suburban streets? Are cameras meant to be doing all their work?

I don't have far to drive to work, thankfully, but it's in a city fringe environment so often it's busy, and while most folk seem to be concentrating on what's happening around them, those who don't stick out. The following are some examples.

I was recently waiting behind two cars at a T-intersection controlled by a Give Way sign. Both were trying to turn right. The first did so successfully, the second followed the first directly, and forced a grey/silver car into a panic brake situation. No crash, but a near miss, for sure. I believe the person who failed to give way simply glanced right, and did not see the grey/silver car against the grey background of the road. It wasn't raining, when grey or silver cars are even more difficult to spot. It pays to look twice, like when crossing the road on foot, before proceeding. Sometimes you see something you missed upon first glance, and you're really thankful you bothered to look again.


Something that really grinds my gears is people who have no awareness of others around them. Like those trying to turn right at an uncontrolled intersection who don't position their car as close to the centreline as possible while waiting for a gap in the traffic. If you're behind these people and you're trying to make a left turn, you're unnecessarily held up, sometimes for minutes rather than seconds, and that's all thanks to their inability to think outside of their square metal box.

Most poor driving is caused by this kind of self-centred attitude.

Another example is failing to use indicators, ever. It seems to me, and I could be wrong about this, but often as not the worst offenders are drivers of high-value European cars. Do these people see themselves as above the law? Anyhow, failing to indicate means such people are often holding up others unnecessarily. If we want traffic to flow safely and efficiently, everyone should play by the same rules.

Running through deeply orange or red lights may well be common in the main centres, but running through stop signs without actually bothering to stop is endemic in Auckand. Or should that be epidemic? Sometimes I believe I'm about the only sap who seems to be actually bothering to obey this rule; i.e., pulling to a complete stop at a stop sign. Guess the powers that be must have noticed how many are flouting the law too because lately I have seen notices on the backs of buses encouraging folk to do the right thing.

Chances are the authorities actually install stop signs at dangerous intersections for good reason. Like for example, repeated crashes when it was previously controlled by a Give Way sign.

In the overall scheme of things, you probably only encounter stop signs a few times each day. How much wasted time did stopping add to your day? A second or two, during which time you might just have understood why in fact a stop sign was installed at that intersection in the first place.

A distinctly odd thing I have encountered more frequently of late is people driving in town at stupidly slow speeds, well below 50 kmh, leaving about a half a km of free road in front of them, and holding up a line of cars, naturally. This is the moral equivalent of driving at 60 kmh in a 100 kay zone. These drivers also seem to have opaque or non-existent rear view mirrors, and only seem to do this on roads where there are single lanes in either direction. Go figure.

Plenty of people still seem wedded to the idea that it's okay to operate a cell phone without a Bluetooth connection while driving. Are these the same folk who drive through stop signs as if they're give way signs, and fail to indicate before turning, not noticing because they're distracted? Some of them, probably.

All of this poor driving behaviour will undoubtedly continue until there's a greater presence of patrol cars in town. But that won't ever happen. Why? Because the law enforcers are all too busy making the easy money, hanging out on motorway overbridges or at the end of passing lanes catching folk doing a few kays over the speed limit.