By Trevor Woolston
With traffic congestion getting worse in our main centres we are seeing some worrying practices taking place on our roads that are further hampering traffic flows.
Our roads are controlled by road markings, traffic lights and signage all designed to make traffic flow as smoothly as possible. That’s not always free flowing but they are designed to make our roads safer for all users.
Of late a few individuals have decided they know better and we are seeing some dangerous practices taking place.
Number one of these is cars stopping in the middle of a roadway to let traffic enter from side streets and driveways. Of late around Auckland I have seen a number of near misses and a full-on nose to tail because of this practice. These people think they are doing good where in fact all they are doing is blocking up free moving road ways and adding to congestion.
Traffic is designed to flow and traffic lights, roundabouts and give way signs allow for breaks in traffic so stopping in the middle of the road to let somebody out is unnecessary and dangerous. I saw a car stop the other day on a major city street without warning to let somebody out of a side street when just two cars behind there was a large gap in the traffic.
Not only did they cause the two cars behind to almost crash but they caused more traffic to catch up so other vehicles couldn’t get out in the break that had been there.
Fine if the traffic has come to a complete stop then by all means let traffic enter the roadway but keep moving traffic moving.
Another stupid move is cars in queues at lights stopping on a green light to let traffic enter the road way. Wait until the light turns red then there will be plenty of time to let others in before the light turns green again don’t stop the flow of traffic through the lights.
Next beef is the motorways and our complete lack of common sense on these. Slow moving vehicles in the middle lane create a dangerous situation.
If you are not confident to drive at motorway speeds then stay over to the left. Right hand lanes should only be used for passing. Overseas you see much better discipline because traffic authorities police this law, that doesn’t seem to happen here.
Also, as if driving a truck in motorway traffic isn’t nerve wracking enough the constant habit of car drivers pulling into the safety zone in front of trucks makes it even worse. There are several programmes running to educate drivers on truck blind spots, but the one immediately in front of many bonneted trucks is one of the most dangerous. A car can completely disappear from the drivers view under the front of a truck especially if they enter from the left side of the truck as its moving slowly forward.
Of late I have seen truck drivers merging like a zip but instead of one car moving into the line several will have a go just to get ahead of the truck. On a recent road test I was entering a motorway and the on ramp lane reduced from two lanes into one and as I moved into the single lane section out from under the left of the truck a car appeared, he was a good 10 meters past the end of the two lane and it took severe action to avoid hitting him.
Remember that traffic engineers who designed our roads probably know better than the average motorist what makes roads flow. So, follow the road rules and stop the stupid actions that are causing more congestion and making our roads more dangerous than they already are.