READER REPORT:

The scourge of the open road

RUSSELL KIRKPATRICK
Last updated 06:25 28/11/2012

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If you're hovering by the sandwich bar, unsure of what you want, you wouldn't insist everyone else wait behind you in line while you choose. Nor would you deliberately block a fellow pedestrian trying to pass you on the footpath. So why, oh why, do you drive at 80kmh on the open road, refusing to pull over and accumulating a queue of vehicles, only to speed up at the passing lanes? Tell me, I genuinely want to know.

You are correct – no one absolutely needs to drive faster than you. (Just like no one needs a sandwich before you get yours.) You may even feel the intoxicating moral superiority arising from making others save petrol and travel more "safely", an argument that makes as much sense as believing that by making everyone wait behind you in line at the sandwich bar, you are helping fight obesity.

The fact is you are deliberately interfering with others going about their legal business. I've seen you every weekend as I drive from Hamilton to Kerikeri and back, either unaware that you own a rear-vision mirror or gleefully making others conform to your idea of driving. I've seen the accidents and near-misses you contribute to.

If people behaved like this at the sandwich bar, you'd consider them rude. On the footpath, you'd think them bullies. Why is the open road so different?

So I'm asking you to please pull over when you've accumulated three or more following vehicles. Find a safe lay-by and let us pass. It's no big deal. After all, as I heard you say the other day when talking about other road users, "What’s the hurry? Better to arrive five minutes later than not at all." I totally agree with you. That's all it will take you to exercise common human courtesy. And everyone will be safer.


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