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Keeping Left Unless Overtaking Part 2

A couple of years ago, I had a good whinge on this blog –

http://blog.privatefleet.com.au/home/keep-left-unless-overtaking/

The crux of it was complaining about how Australians seem to ignore the ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’ law.  The law seems to be observed in countries overseas but not in Australia and I just couldn’t understand why…

Well, the reason became apparent to me last week.  I was gobsmacked to find out that I have been completely wrong for all these years.   It appears that in Australia on a 3-lane freeway, despite the signs, one is perfectly entitled to sit in the middle lane!!  The signs ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’ really means ‘Don’t use the Right Lane Unless Overtaking’.

Here’s the simplified rule as per the motoring authorities:

On multi-lane roads with a speed limit of more than 80km/h, motorists
must not drive in the right-hand lane unless they are:
• overtaking
• turning right or making a U-turn
• avoiding an obstacle
• driving in congested traffic
• driving in a special purpose lane or if there is a Left Lane Must Turn Left sign or a left traffic arrow and the driver is not turning left.

So, I’ve been wrong all these years.  All this wasted anger and frustration directed to these ignorant law-breakers who it turns out were doing the right thing all along (in a legal sense)!  So let me hold my hand up and humbly apologise to all those who have been the subject of my angry feelings and/or glares.  I’m sorry.

Meekly, I will make a defence that I learned how to drive in the UK and have driven extensively in Europe where ‘middle lane hogging’ is clearly outlawed.  Further I will add that the signs used in Australia contributed to my mistake – why refer to the left lane at all when it is the right lane that the law refers to?

However, saying all that, I am now even more astounded.  It’s not ill-informed motorists doing the wrong thing but the government!  What on earth were they thinking?  Many road rules in Australia have been adapted from overseas so why take this one and then snip off an important part for no apparent reason.  Why on earth did they do it?

Let me put forth an objective list of reasons why I think the European model works better:

2-lane
3-lane freeways become 2-lane freeways

 

  • Traffic Flow. The rate of traffic (cars per hour) is increased reducing congestion. Of course, once it hits a point where all 3-lanes are crawling, you’re stuffed but it takes longer to hit that level if ‘left lane discipline’ is observed. If drivers stick steadfastly in the middle lane, it tends to turn 3-lane freeways into 2-lane motorways. In general drivers will (sensibly) prefer to overtake on the right fearing meeting some particurlarly slow traffic in the inside lane and getting ‘boxed in’. So the left lane gets under-utilised – the only users being the most diverse groups – the very slow and the very fast and impatient.
  • If everyone keeps to the very left, there’s no need for undertaking (passing a driver in the left lane).  This increases safety for all drivers as there’s now only one side that you need to anticipate drivers passing you rather than two (notwithstanding the facat that a good driver should anticipate hazards from all angles and situations but you get my drift)

 

 

 

keep-left-undertake

 

  • Speed Differential.  This is the big one in my opinion.  Think about any accident and you’ll see that two objects travelling at different speeds is what caused the accident.  The bigger this difference the more dangerous it is (eg a car at 80km/hr hitting a tree at 0km/hr).

We’ve all had the experience of coming up to the crest a hill and having to brake relatively hard as a heavy vehicle crawls up the hill at snails pace.  Traffic entering main roads from side roads is often a high risk accident zone for example as the car entering may not always attain the prevailing speed fo the main road in time.

 

So when you allow middle lane hogging, and left lane overtaking, you combine some of the fastest speeds with some of the slowest!  You have speed freaks mixing with flat-capped, caravan pulling Sunday drivers in the same lane!

 

Look at the example of the right to see what I’m talking about – as the speeding car passes the truck, there’s a needlessly dangerous 20km/h speed differential.

 

 

Does the above sound right to you?  Or am I missing something?  The following pieces of evidence do seem to support this argument:

  1. Traffic seems to flow better overseas in developed countries.  It just does and anyone who has driver overseas will no doubt have noticed it.  Simply put it takes a lot more cars to clog a 3-lane motorway than it does here.
  2. Further illustrating the ‘speed differential’ argument.  If you are on a freeway and overtake a car doing 105km/h while you are doing 110km/h, it’s relatively straightforward.  You slowly move past them even though there may only be a metre or s0 between the wing mirrors of the two cars.  But would you be so comfortable cruising past a row of trees that close doing the same speed?

Now, how about an argument for the current rules.  Thinking hard, I can only come up with one… and that one is dubious too.

  1. There is less lane changing when drivers are allowed to sit in the niddle lane.  Yes, I can see that in low-traffic scenarios (remember those?) – a car driver for example may just sit in the middle lane avoiding slow trucks etc in the left hand lane.  However sooner or later, a faster driver will come up behind and be forced to change lanes tothe far right lane to overtake whereas with the strick keep left model, he may not have to.  Also, the dangerous practice impatient drivers are ‘forced’ into of darting to to the left to undertake and then quickly scoot two lanes to the right to overtake the next two vehicles may mean that this isn’t the case after all.

So, I’m still confused and still frustrated but should I be?  Is this even an issue worth talking about?  Let us know in the comments below if you agree or disagree. http://credit-n.ru

54 comments

  1. Barrie Hoppitt says:

    I have always thought this rule stupid but for different reasons than above. If I am doing the speed limit why am I forced to continually change lanes from left to right and back to overtake slower vehicles just so speeding vehicles can have a clear right hand lane to overtake me? The rule should be keep left unless driving at speed limit. Agreed this will frustrate speeding drivers, but it may slow them down also.

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

  2. Mark says:

    Bloody fascist – If people want to run the risk of getting booked, let them!

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

  3. Max says:

    For one, your speedo can read 10 or more KMH under the real speed.
    Second, what is your interpretation of being at the speed limit?… 95 in a 100 zone? the next driver may consider 105 in a 100 zone (by their speedo) acceptable.
    Third, how do you know the car trying to get past you isn’t rushing to the hospital with a medical emergency?
    And finally, who are you to tell others how they should drive?
    Would you walk down the foot path in the city at a pace YOU think is safe with your arms out to the side preventing other pedestrians from walking past you?…. no.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:50 pm

  4. Gordon says:

    Max, Really whether your speedo is ‘right’ and mine is ‘wrong’ what makes yours right!
    Anyway the speed limit is a MAXIMUM but we have all grown up with the idea its ok to be a bit over and get all bitter and twisted when someone blocks our progress by doing just the speed limit. I reckon the speedsters, hoons, P platers etc need to pick which road rules they want people to observe. They might choose to speed and others choose to hog the overtaking lane, who’s right!!! You say “how do you know the car trying to get past you isn’t rushing to the hospital with a medical emergency” Answer is, you don’t but that’s life, far more likely to be a hoon! So the speedsters and hoons of the world are to blame for the lack of courtesy on the road because THEY think they are above the law it has eroded peoples tolerance of other road users. I believe even an ambulance is supposed to do the speed limit under the ‘rules’. At the end of the day what’s the rush, 95 in 100 zone who cares, you just get to the next bottle neck a couple of minutes earlier…so what’s the big achievement!! may be the big macho pub bragging rights of getting somewhere faster than someone else. Lets face it nobody likes their driving criticised but Ya Break Da Rules Ya Take Da Consequences…..you are a long time dead!

    August 28th, 2013 at 10:29 pm

  5. David says:

    Gordon you say “What’s the rush?”
    What right do you have to hold people up by doing 95kmh in the right hand lane in a 100 knh zone. The selfishness! The inconsideration. Who do you think you are?
    I bet you are the type that speeds up when there is an overtaking lane so people cant get past you, and slow down when the lane finishes.

    September 1st, 2013 at 9:10 pm

  6. GBell says:

    I share the frustration and only wish some of the gnomes that park in the outside lane at any speed convenient to them would travel overseas and see how the system works when folk comply.

    The last ten years in the ACT has seen road behaviour and common sense plumb new lows. Every drive there are a number of folk that park in outside lane and surely must gain some form of obtuse joy when they look in their mirror to see car after car stacked up behind them.

    In their partial defence, the sheer bloody mindedness of the stupid minority who will never let anyone else into their lane must play a part, requiring them to take every opportunity to prepare safely for that right turn in good time, even if its 20km down the way.

    Imagine my joy when overtaken by a pair of tradie lads the other morning in their van with the name ‘Total Tools’ written in large letters on the outside – made it all worthwhile.

    August 28th, 2013 at 6:41 pm

  7. Gary says:

    I like the rules the way they are….leave them alone….I do a lot of Country miles and have no problem with the current rules

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

  8. Paul says:

    Hi David, I couldn’t agree more. My experience in UK, found that motorists were very accustomed to passing only on the right, and everything flowed well.

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:45 pm

  9. Josh says:

    The biggest problem in Australia is the philosophy never to let anyone in front of you. That is the main cause of danger. Ignorance of good merging is rampant. In the US and Europe you can enter a highway at speed because everyone just lets you in seamlessly. Here they will do everything they can to cut you off from entering, usually speeding up just to make sure. Hence I can understand why people hog the middle lane once they are on the freeway. Merging at high speed here is fraught with danger. And in the US the cops will pull you off the freeway if you are going too slow in ANY LANE. Often they leave you stranded in the middle until finally you can re-enter the traffic once the volume dies down a little. DRIVING AT 70KMPH WHEN THE LIT IS 110KMPH IS DAMN DANGEROUS.

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

  10. Mark says:

    David, your frustrations are not only well founded, but deeply shared. The one “advantage” we have over the rest of the world is that we can overtake on the near side. You see people sitting in the right lane on 110kmh roads with barely a car in site. You are also correct that most times, I get my best tuns on The F3 when I’m travelling in the far left lane and overtaking stacks of cars in the other two. A bit more enforcement, a change in the law to comply with the rest of the world and a hell of a lot bigger penalty would go a long way to correcting this bane of the highways!

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

  11. Rob says:

    I believe it is illegal to undertake in Australia (pass on the left). Which makes the current system appear even more ill thought through. However, your concerns are valid when referring to a two lane road, such as Melbourne-Sydney Freeway.

    Speaking of right lane hogging. I recently drove this section of road and was intimidated into pulling off the road in a town by two B-double trucks doing 120+km/h (yes, not 100km/h) along side each other, occupying both lanes. After they passed, I then pulled back onto the road and followed them at a distance… they maintained this formation, hogging both lanes, in excess of the speed limit for more than 20km before one turned off. I assume they knew each other and were playing dangerous games with other motorists for amusement.

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

  12. Max says:

    there is a belief that if they go through a speed camera and there are two vehicles side by side, there is no way of identifying who was speeding and so neither can be charged…. hence the higher speed and side by side traveling…. not sure if it is true or not.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  13. Justin says:

    Not true in regards to the new style cameras at intersections, which are lane dependent. However, not sure when it comes to other forms of speed camera….or should I call it ‘safety camera’

    August 28th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

  14. Gordon says:

    Rob, when I went to school, you can ‘undertake’ where the lanes are marked, when you think of it, if you couldn’t how would you ever progress along any road legally. You cannot pass on the left if there is no lane marking except I think unless you are passing a turning vehicle and then you need to indicate left then pass then indicate right to ‘rejoin’ the traffic flow.

    August 28th, 2013 at 9:25 pm

  15. Justin says:

    Yes, thank you!!!!

    I left our sunny shores in 2001 to live in Europe for 10 years, and was provided a sound education in driving etiquette and skill that was useful through Europe, Asia and North America (where I have extensively driven), but is unfortunately wasted here in Australia.

    Every European I know says the same thing; Aussies are great – until they get behind the wheel of a car. Australia has a nation of ‘drivers’ that are capable of steering a car from A to B, but unable to drive a car from A to B – a distinct difference. They are, in general , unaware, discourteous, ignorant and selfish, easily highlighted by a myriad of actions, not least their inability to keep left unless overtaking for all of the reasons you correctly point out (especially large trucks in the right hand lane, with MASSIVE blind spots on their left…unbelievable).

    When will it change? I suspect never. Respect in society has gone. What I see frequently is that the majority of ‘drivers’ couldn’t give a toss if you have to change 3 lanes, just to come back all the way to get on your merry way. But don’t worry, if there was an accident, the reports will come through from the police and media juggernaut, “that speed was a factor”. Forget driver awareness, skill, road conditions, environment, tire wear, vehicle age, driver experience, weather, time of day light conditions or any other item that could have contributed, just speed. All this does is provide excuses for people not to improve their skillset, or drive in control with all conditions taken into consideration (some may call this using common sense), but instead just lay the blame on one item. Well done. Aussie Aussie Aussie!

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

  16. Matt R says:

    I may be wrong but I thought undertaking was illegal.

    August 28th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

  17. Desaa says:

    Matt R,

    From the RMS (NSW) Geared website:
    “You must overtake on the right unless you and the vehicle you want to overtake are travelling in marked lanes on a multi-lane road or the vehicle you want to overtake is waiting to turn right and giving a right turn signal – in these cases you may overtake on the left side if it is safe.”

    Here’s another:

    “Mythbuster
    Many people believe you are allowed to go above the speed limit to overtake as long as you drop back again after the manoeuvre. This isn’t true – you cannot break the speed limit at any time!”

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:16 pm

  18. Paul O'D says:

    David,
    I agree that Europe runs differently to Oz, however, in my 10 years in North America I found that the freeway behaviour worked more in line to what we do here.
    Looking at your second picture, everyone except the top most driver had a right to be in the lane he/she was occupying. They were all passing slower traffic on the inside lane. The top most driver may have been in the process of moving back to the left lane after gaining a reasonable gap from the truck.
    The speeding driver clearly has no right to possess a licence. A licence is an honour not a right and those who endanger others on the road should be removed, not pandered to.

    Paul

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:03 pm

  19. Max says:

    No, they should just keep left and stop blocking the road mate. Simple.

    August 28th, 2013 at 5:00 pm

  20. David Cooper says:

    I agree with the OP.
    The rules as used, and obeyed wholeheartedly, in the UK and Europe would improve traffic flow and safety a lot.
    But let’s face it, there’s still a lot of numbskulls out there that can’t obey the current rules, so what hope would there be of them learning a new ‘trick?’

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

  21. Gareth says:

    I too wish for the European mindset but fear that the absolute fear and focus on speed will always cloud the judgement about what is the best framework of rules. Some of the comments above show that.
    I support the argument about minimising speed differences as the most logical basis for the rules.
    As many of our cars and roads are now suitable for much higher speeds it is insanity to stay with the past rules – just as we gave up the man with a red flag walking in front of the model T Fords, we should drop the fixation with an absolute speed limit.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:05 pm

  22. Nick says:

    It obviously causes congestion, accidents and therefore costs Australia billions, but hey why should you have to wake up and concentrate on the road. It causes a big problem on Geelong freeway, as trucks aren’t allowed in outside lane so the middle lane drivers make it much more difficult for tucks to pass slower traffic. T
    he vast majority of middle lane hoggers drive below the limit (They drive at the speedo limit).

    Driving in middle lane (often in long lines) is an offence as it is driving without due care, forming a barrier between, outside and inside lanes. Of course knowbody cares as the only offences actively policed are speeding and drink driving.

    When I was in the UK the inside lane of M25 was routinely empty so they are not always so great, but far better than here.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

  23. David says:

    Australians are terrible drivers, typified by arrogance and selfishness. It’s no more apparent than on multi lane roads where they sit in the right hand lane and use the same old justifications:-
    I pay my taxes too
    I am doing the speed limit (even though I have never had my speedo calibrated and it actually reads 10 kmh faster than I am actually doing)
    I am stopping others from speeding (self appointed traffic vigilantes)

    Or the real reason – “I only think about myself and don’t give a stuff for anyone else”

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:10 pm

  24. Nando says:

    I think that will all good intentions, you’re wasting your time on an issue that will never be resolved here in WA. I have being driving around the world and unfortunately (i must say), i found out that the worst drivers, of all the countries I have been driving in, are concentrate here in this beautiful part of the world. To start off with,I am a former Italian Federal Police (Guardia di Finanza) and was also driving back in mu older days an Alfa Romeo. I learned to drive in the city I happen to be born in (Rome), but i have also driven a car extensively In Toronto (Where I have spent some 10 plus years of my life Canada and all around the Canadian and USA major Cities Including New York-Los Angeles, and all the major Canadian Cities coast to coast In north America/Canada that is, then i have also driven in Malaysia, India, half Europe, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne here in Australia, and yes, i must confirm my opinion, the worst drivers i have seen in my life (I’m 68 yo), are concentrated here in the lovely Perth….UNFORTUNATELY.

    trying to educate people to KEEP LEFT it seems like a waste of time. Pay attention when a car turns (right or left) into a 2 or even a 3 lanes road, and see which lane it will end up in. If is turning right it will take the far most left lane and if is turning left it will end up on the furthest right one! It is simply more (much) comfortable.

    have a nice day
    Mr De Maria

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:20 pm

  25. Michael says:

    Great article David – mainly because I agree with it! learnt to drive in Europe and always amazed at the poor skills here in Australia – assuming we’re similar cultures then the difference must lie with the authorities who set the rules and the standards to pass driving tests.
    I’m sure you are aware most of the problems stem from the old signage “slow drivers keep left” which cut to the heart of all the red blooded male drivers – I’m not slow mate!
    the other change we could introduce would be keeping trucks and vehicles towing to the 2 left lanes – my biggest worry when travelling at 110 on a 3 lane is an idiot towing a boat/trailer going well above the speed limit and not being able to handle the load resulting in jack knifing
    Also agree we need to see speed limits increased on ‘safe’ roads. In the UK you can confidently overtake a police car when exceeding the speed limit provided it’s safe to do so. try it when it’s rainign or foggy etc and you’ll get booked for going 1mph over

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:24 pm

  26. Graham says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Australian drivers are, on the whole, the most selfish, arrogant and yes, just plain stupid that I have ever come across. That even includes the Italians. Further, South Australian drivers are the gold medal winners in the selfish stakes. The problem is the national temperament to be winners, ie first, in everything and at any cost, so I can’t see the answer to this situation except by taking driving licences away and crushing cars.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

  27. Stephen coles says:

    My pet peeve is those that drive in the right lane under speed limit totally destroying the flow of traffic and then pull across traffic to turn left.
    However you overtake them and face their righteous indignation, flashing lights, fist waving unbelievable ! But stop them merging over from the left hand lane with know car in front of them – the devil incarnate.
    I have driven all over Europe and south Australians are the worst.
    Thank god I have scirrocco r eat my dust !

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:43 pm

  28. Mazz S says:

    Barrie, & Gary- the first & 3rd on this list of responses, typify the ignorant, uninformed red necks on our roads who are too dumb to realise how much danger they cause by wanting to be self appointed “policeman for the day”.
    The; “I’m doing the speed limit, so I’ll sit in the right hand overtaking lane, blocking other traffic for miles & miles if I want to – just to be bloody minded ” attitude, is the main cause of road rage.
    I’m an Australian and I’ve driven on freeways all over the world – English Motorways, Italian Autostradas, German Autobahns, – you name it, and only in Australia do we encounter this pig ignorant attitude with no regard for other road users. You dipsticks would be dead in 5 minutes if you ever attempted to to try that attitude any where else in the world. Go back to driver training school .
    Better still – stay off our roads until you learn some road courtesy.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

  29. Max says:

    Hear hear!

    August 28th, 2013 at 5:04 pm

  30. steve says:

    I’ also learnt to drive overseas & have dribven in many countries – I love Australia but driving and the attitude of drivers here is my biggest gripe!

    Quote from above confirms my suspicions on how Aussie drivers think and behave “If I am doing the speed limit why am I forced to continually change lanes from left to right and back to overtake slower vehicles just so speeding vehicles can have a clear right hand lane to overtake me? The rule should be keep left unless driving at speed limit. Agreed this will frustrate speeding drivers, but it may slow them down also.” – objective achieved quite clearly but also very selfish !

    Might be very laid back & law abiding but but doesnt help with traffice flow and road rage incidents – “courtesy & consideration” for other road users would be a far better approach

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

  31. Brian says:

    By staying in the right hand lane at the posted limit you must realise you are blocking the path of ambulances, emergency vehicles, police cars etc. which will often be travelling at a far greater speed than that posted. This will place you in a very dangerous position which will be all of your own making.

    August 28th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

  32. steve says:

    Agree with you Mazz – in some countries you would be lucky to get away with your life with the Autralian attitude!

    August 28th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

  33. david says:

    It is bloody impossible to change the average aussi driver. they love to anoy other drivers and are the least able to show good manners on the road. its so hard to get even a friendly wave to thank you when you give way. And keeping left bloody impossible!!!!!!!!!!

    August 28th, 2013 at 5:36 pm

  34. Justin says:

    Yes, how hard is it to say ‘thank you’? Again, respect for others, general consideration and courtesy has disappeared from society….especially on Aussie roads. So disappointed.

    August 28th, 2013 at 7:06 pm

  35. Steve says:

    Agree with David the middle lane hogs and outside lane hogs drive me nuts in Aus.
    If you do that in the UK or Europe you get headlights flashed at you horns honking and then undertaken. An amusing story I heard from the UK involved a series of incidents where these hog drivers got to their destination only to find freshly spat plegm near the left hand fuel cap area .. Other drivers forced to undertake and spitting at their cars..
    Yuk

    August 28th, 2013 at 5:59 pm

  36. David says:

    Bogans on 4 wheels.
    It’s the I don’t give a stuff about anyone else attitude that has been able to persist because except on the roads, there is the luxury of space. There are also a large number of new Australians with limited driving experience before arriving here.
    I agree Perth ranks high on Australia’s worst drivers, the city with more space.
    You can’t have people existing in close proximity without a high level of enforcement of social conduct.

    August 28th, 2013 at 6:08 pm

  37. Russell says:

    Coming from the UK (in 1991) I have to admit that I was frustrated by what I saw as the discourtesy of not keeping left, and generally I try to keep left myself. However, there are some situations where keeping left is not always the best policy.
    On some urban freeways, the road has varying numbers of lanes – a new left hand lane may only exist for a kilometre or so between two junctions. Expecting everyone to move left for a few hundred metres is unreasonable.
    A more interesting problem occurs when you have a long truck travelling at 100kph. If it travels in the left hand lane, then when it passes an exit it effectively blocks it for a period. Cars doing 110kph are either forced to move in behind it or forced to dash across its bows. If traffic is heavy, long queues of vehicles wanting to leave at the next exit can build up behind it, which can then result in vehicles in the middle lane trying to push into that queue. It’s actually much safer for the truck to stay in the central lane, so that exiting vehicles can pass on the left, and other vehicles can pass on the right.

    August 28th, 2013 at 6:15 pm

  38. Patrick says:

    I’m sorry to throw a spanner in the works, but I can whittle it down even further. City residents have little idea of how to drive properly on freeways. Driving on multilane roads in the city with 70 km/h limits is one thing, but a freeway is a different set of conditions. I drive enough to know that once I’m past Campbelltown on the M5 or Gosford on the M1 on the way out of Sydney, everyone left on the road knows what they are doing.

    August 28th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

  39. Geoff says:

    I believe every driver should under go an open book written exam each time they renew their licence. This would help keep drivers up to date with current road rules, such as this one. This particular law was changed a while ago to what is currently written above.

    August 28th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

  40. Thor says:

    The sooner we all drive in the left lane – the better. Let other drivers overtake to go faster if that is what they want to do. Then back into the left lane! When the traffic increases the next lane is to be used for overtaking – come back in to the lane you came from. Use the outermost lane when you want to turn right.
    Do your own driving – you do not have to influence other drivers how to drive! Try to be courteous – it does not hurt!

    August 28th, 2013 at 9:51 pm

  41. Anti says:

    Gday, seems to me that the very first and foremost road rule in Australia is drive on the left hand side of the road but most dont know it or do it !! And that the level of Aussi driver ignorance we have.

    August 28th, 2013 at 10:43 pm

  42. Gareth says:

    Fully agree, the book I learnt from said the first rule is keep left. This debate about multiple lanes etc should not take precedence over the basic law.

    August 29th, 2013 at 11:28 am

  43. Russell L says:

    I’m one that drives in the middle lane of a 3 lane Freeway….
    I believe it makes perfect sense to leave the left lane basically free for those entering or leaving the Freeway with the right lane free for those that feel the need to speed.

    August 28th, 2013 at 11:51 pm

  44. JohnL says:

    I have to agree with Russell L. In Australia with our few and far between Freeways there is a consistent number of lane changes from 2 to 3 and occasionally more. There are also a great many exits and often those three lane freeways become two lanes when the left lane simply becomes aqn exit lane only. In my opinion, if you wish to drive at the posted speed limit then stick to the centre lane. If you are in a hurry and don’t care about your demerit points then go for the outside lane and move back when you have achieved the objective of passing somebody so you can then move to the left lane and turn off. If you drive a large truck it should be obligatory to drive in the left lane except for a 500 metre stretch when needing to turn righy.

    September 24th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

  45. Russell L says:

    Nick said and I quote: “The vast majority of middle lane hoggers drive below the limit (They drive at the speedo limit).”

    What would you suggest drivers use then?
    Speedometers in cars must meet ADR’s and these allow a variance of up to 10%. But, everyone is in the same boat regardless of which lane they are driving in…

    Quote: “Driving in middle lane (often in long lines) is an offence as it is driving without due care, forming a barrier between, outside and inside lanes”

    What rot….

    August 29th, 2013 at 12:14 am

  46. Denis says:

    My big whinge is on 2 lane roads when you have our humble Aussie driver with blinkers on hugging the right lane and going slower than the left lane. It doesn’t matter if there is a queue a mile long behind him trying to get to work – as long as he is happy. MORON!
    Police…. start booking these clowns!

    August 29th, 2013 at 7:56 am

  47. Mark says:

    I have driven all over the world and Australians are the most unaware drivers I’ve come across. Inconsiderate to other drivers, rude, aggressive. Apart from not having a clue how to drive on big highways they are totally oblivious to the dangers of tail gating. No wonder I see multiple accidents each day on the same stretch of road.

    What is it with the mentality of having to get ahead of the vehicle in front?

    Once out of a car Aussies are the best people in the world, but in a car the majority become demons. The police need to get tough not just on speeding but on tailgating and other bad road behaviour. I also blame how young drivers are taught. My daughter was not taught braking distances – she thinks that at whatever speed you’re driving as long as you can see the bottom of the car in front it’s safe! Now come on, this is basic stuff. Smarten up on the roads and be friendly to your fellow Aussies on the roads.

    August 29th, 2013 at 9:34 am

  48. Glen says:

    And overseas freeways seem to be safer at much higher speed limits too.

    August 29th, 2013 at 12:12 pm

  49. Russell says:

    FYI, here in WA there is no law about keeping to the left. However, on multi lane roads where the speed limit is > 90 kph, there are restrictions on the use of the rightmost lane – basically it is only to be used for overtaking. I suggest that people find out what the law actually is before making accusations.

    August 29th, 2013 at 5:24 pm

  50. Manfred says:

    My theory is that it all comes down to how a person learns to drive (not just move a car). In Germany, and I’m sure other countries, every one has to attend a legally authorised driving school and do a minimum of 14 – 16 hours training as well as several hours of theoretical learning, also at the driving school. No matter were in Germany you learn by the same rules and tests. You learn all the correct responses and behaviours in situations discussed above. The result is that a new driver is ready for the road and traffic from day one, no L or P plates and any restrictions (and dangers). They know how to merge and let others merge at 150 kph on the freeway and to drive in the correct lane unless overtaking etc. etc.
    As long as we allow people to learn to drive from Aunty Jenny or Uncle Arthur or some puny little ‘Driving School’ and have dozens of different rules and regulations the attitude and skill/mindset of our road users will not change which is probably just as well, as we wouldn’t have anything to whinge or complain when we get to work.

    August 30th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

  51. maxwell says:

    I live in regional Australia & I have come to the conclusion we can’t build roads!
    if you look around you find the best roads are still made of concrete and were done
    during the war years (by the americans) or by some scheme like working for the dole!
    most heavy vehicles stick to the left lane that’s where the potholes appear! in the country
    most HIGHWAY PATROL cars travel in the RIGHT LANE ONLY!
    as someone already pointed out the speed signs are MAXIMUM speedindicators, you
    do not have to drive to the limit. Drivers get impatient because of badly and inadequate
    road design. That is my lot for today!

    September 1st, 2013 at 9:48 am

  52. David says:

    The speed limit is the maximum speed. It is also the speed you are entitled to drive at if the conditions are safe.

    No one has the right to deny someone else their entitlement to do the speed limit.

    September 2nd, 2013 at 6:49 pm

  53. Bern says:

    From reading readers comments, it is just typical of the anti-authority and anti-standards of australian culture. If authority tells me to do one thing, I’ll “bloody not” do that. And yet they fail to wonder why they spend 4 hours of their daily working life in Traffic snarls that are caused by nothing more than by bad driving habits like Lane hogging and selfishness. I’m with you David.

    September 10th, 2013 at 9:06 pm

  54. Errol says:

    I’m from regional Queensland an I wonder what a multi lane is; having one each way is a surprise sometimes!!

    September 24th, 2013 at 4:10 pm