READER REPORT:

Eight driving habits that make me go, hmm

KEVIN BARCLAY
Last updated 10:38 07/02/2013

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I have noticed that Kiwi drivers have eight dodgy, unsafe driving habits. 

1. Driving in the evening with only park lights on.

I'm perpetually amused when dusk falls and motorists make a decision to turn on only their park lights. It must be to illuminate the instrument panel in the vehicle, because honestly, park lights on public roads are completely useless. If it's dark enough to turn on your instrument lights then you should just turn your main lights on too. The road code on the NZTA website simply says: "Never drive with just your park lights on". I'm not sure whether that makes it technically an offence if you do it though.

2. Not turning in to your own lane.

It can be both annoying and dangerous when motorists get this wrong. It's annoying if you're stuck behind someone turning right in to a multi-lane road and who is giving way for no good reason, and it's dangerous if you are turning right in to your own lane of a multi-lane road and another driver (from the opposite direction) turning left in to those lanes seems to think they have the right of way and can pick any of the lanes to turn in to.

3. Cutting the dividing line when on multiple lanes.

Maybe it's just the city I live in, but cutting the dividing line that separates two lanes going in the same direction while turning a corner seems to be becoming more and more common now. Perhaps as kids they weren't very good at colouring between the lines either.

4. Speeding up at passing lanes.

This is the perennial problem that lots of people (including me) growl about. I did read an explanation for this phenomenon though. It is to do with the space that invariably opens up when one reaches a road with additional lanes for overtaking. Allegedly, people slow down when the amount of room that is available appears to constrict, and vice versa. The theory was that someone who travels relatively slower on good open road in good conditions may speed up when they encounter the wider conditions of an extra lane. If I remember correctly, the State of California in the US was attempting to indirectly slow down vehicles on some roads by planting tall trees on either side of the road, based on the same theory.

5. Slow vehicles not pulling over at reasonable times.

Some vehicles just end up travelling slower than what otherwise might be safe and/or legal. Heavy vehicles, towing vehicles, old vehicles, or simply those people who prefer to drive a bit slower than the majority, please look in your mirrors and take a break for a minute when the opportunity presents itself. Let that line of traffic behind you get past. And for the line of traffic behind - when someone pulls over like this, give them a toot and a wave to say thanks for doing the right thing.

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6. Using a cell phone while driving.

It's time to unplug from the matrix for a while.

7. Vehicles not stopping at pedestrian crossings.

One of the most dangerous activities I undertake each day is walking across pedestrian crossings. I always wait for drivers to stop and make very direct eye contact before I step out, but by the time you get to the centreline, usually it's all bets off for vehicles coming the other way.

8. Vehicles which attempt to merge into fast traffic at slow speeds.

Where I live, I see a lot of vehicles who attempt to merge in to 100km per hour traffic while doing 60 or 70 km per hour. When that goes pear shaped and the merging lane starts to run out, they end up slowing down which then compounds the problem both for themselves and any other vehicles behind them.


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