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Five common driving habits that should be illegal
By Matthew Hansen • 15/09/2016
Thursday Five: things that need to be outlawed from our roads
New Zealanders aren't perfect drivers, and if you think otherwise then you’re most likely part of our on-road problem.
How we drive seems to come under more scrutiny each year, whether it’s through a saturation of crash statistics or flavour-of-the-month journalists harping on the proverbial 6pm hour of power. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it results in safety improving at the end of the day.
Driven is based in Auckland and so we are exposed to idiotic, bash-the-steering-wheel-in-anger hilarity on a daily basis, witnessing plenty of little things that beggar belief. Here’s five things that need to cease being a thing, now.
My leading life achievement thus far is my ability to drive a manual car while eating a generous, throbbing mince and cheese pie.
But there is something a bit odd about the fact we’re not allowed to stare lovingly at our phones as our significant others throw heart-eye emoji–laden text messages at us, yet I’m allowed to stare lovingly into my palm at a burger just begging to spew its juices all over the bucket seats.
Then you get the particularly intellectually inept who think that eating a Tupperware container of risotto with both hands, steering with their knee while on the motorway.
This person exists. I’ve seen her and her teal Toyota RAV4. Don’t be her. She’s an imbecile.
Driving in wet weather in Auckland
Photo / Richard Robinson
Every time it rains in Auckland, our already cut-throat traffic reaches a new level of psychotic.
I propose we just ban driving when it's raining. I'm sure our public transport systems will manage.
If I’m honest, this was the one that motivated me to issue this droning public-service announcement.
It was about 1pm and I was trailing a car on the motorway that’s easing from one side to the other, like some who needs to pee. I sat there wondering what the heck they’re doing, whether they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or perhaps they were just dense.
As I went around their outside in the fast lane, it became clear that I wasn’t entirely wrong — the guy had a pair of headphones on and was clearly daydreaming.
Now, I'm not against headphones. My co-workers can confirm that I wear headphones quite often while at my desk at work (only sometimes to avoid conversations with other people, too).
But when you're wearing head or ear-phones behind the wheel of a car, you lose a heap of spatial signifiers thanks to their noise-cancelling nature. Ambulance bearing down on you with siren flashing? Won't hear it. Car spluttering and begging for mechanical mercy? ‘No Mr. Mechanic sir, I didn't hear it making any funny noises.’
If you wear headphones while driving, you are a loser.
Photo / David White
Long the domain of the passive-aggressive, tailgating can actually harm the flow of a body of traffic.
This is particularly true in stop-start traffic or slow-moving traffic. A tailgater, because of their need to make violent stops due to a shorter braking distance, will carry much less momentum than someone who allows for breathing space between themselves and a car in front.
I admit that in certain situations, it can be tempting to tailgate others as an intimidation tactic — especially if that certain situation is when Doris and her 1998 Toyota Corolla lift-back are doing 90kph in a 100kph fast lane.
But if someone's selfish enough to park themselves in a fast lane doing walking pace, do you think they've truly got the presence of mind to comprehend why you're riding their rear bumper?