Perth Drivers Are Pretty Much The Best

I was considering putting this blog on hiatus, nay, even deleting it… Or making it only visible to specific wordpress members. Or only members can post comments. My sub-contrabass sax article gets an alarming number of visitors each day. I don’t want anyone I consider to be an unsavoury character reading the rest of the blog. Although I did put all this stuff online so it’s my fault. Obviously it’s a moral dilemma with so many pros and cons for each option that I just can’t decide. Even thinking about it this much has taken my eyeballs out. I’m all over the shop now, I’ve got headaches. I need to lie down.

Alright I had a lie for a bit and made myself the strongest black coffee ever. It needs chewing.

I’m realising again how self-indulgent blogs really are. I’m amusing myself greatly here with this banter and I guarantee no one else is getting the same out of this.

Anyway, the reason I’m doing this blog is to congratulate Perth drivers on being pretty much the best in Australia.

Now I’ve driven a lot in Perth and also Melbourne. Also done a little bit in Sydney and a helluva lot in Clifton Springs but we’ll just keep it to main cities. Out of all these cities Perth are hands-down the most experienced, well-learned, responsible, considerate, smartest, decisive drivers. They’re so good that the legal driving age here is 17, a year younger than Victoria where they take an extra year to get their act together because they’re so poor… In skill, not money.

I saw this article in an issue of RAC magazine that came out earlier this year. By the way it seems WordPress have changed their system again since I last blogged. I don’t trust their interface. I had to HTML like the old EH days, are you proud Oberts? Anyway, the name and address of the author were withheld by request. Good thing too because someone would have went over and clouted them for not knowing anything. I’ve written out the article again below so y’all can read it.

ROAD BEHAVIOUR

It was with great interest that we read your article on road behaviour (‘Tis the Season, Horizons December/January) and the response to your survey. I believe that drivers in WA are among the worst and least considerate in the world. Drivers here insist on blocking side roads, shop entrances and never dream of letting you out.

I also believe that speed is not the only reason for the accidents in WA: people do not know how to drive, they can only see as far as their bonnet and never read the road conditions ahead. Visitors must be appalled at the lack of skill and consideration of our drivers.

What a load of rubbish. They probably just weren’t aware of some special road rules that they have here in Perth.
-If you drive a BMW or Merc, indicating is optional. 
-Pedestrians and bikes have no rights. They wait for you because you can kill them but they just might dint your car a bit. Their choice.
-U Turns can be done anywhere.
-Roundabouts are fun things so you can have fun indicating too. Some choose not to do it at all, some indicate willy nilly and others indicate some of the directions they turn or maybe just the main one. A busy roundabout at night looks great.
-You don’t have to drive on the left hand side of the road if you don’t really want to.
-The markings in parking bays are really just guidelines. You don’t have to be inside them.
-Blind spots are urban myths.

It’s hard to show examples of Perth driving as I usually don’t catch it on camera. I thought of recreating some situations in Flash but I don’t have it on this computer and that’s kinda time-consuming anyway. One moment I did catch was this:

This was a super bit of driving. I was heading towards the lights when this car coming towards me did a U-turn straight after going through the lights. It was fine because I had enough time to stop as he pulled in front of me. He looks really cool because he’s taking up three lanes in two different directions (the right back corner is sticking into the lane behind him). The idiots in Melbourne would have probably turned into a side street and done the U turn there, or maybe driven a little bit further to the roundabout just ahead to do it. No need.

I like driving to Tom’s house because it’s only a short drive but I always get at least one example of awesome driving. It doesn’t always happen directly to me. Just today the car two cars in front of me changed lanes without indicating and pulled right in front of the car in front of me. Other drivers might call this ‘cutting someone off’ but it wasn’t really. If you have to change lanes you have to change lanes. Indicating would have given the other guy too much warning and he might have panicked and swerved off the road. This way he was driving and then BAM all of a sudden there’s a car right in front of him and he’s just blown away by the skill involved in such a maneuver.

Another great example I saw on the way to Tom’s was when I was turning left into a busy street. There were no cars on my right coming towards me so I was about to pull out. I gave a cursory glance in the other direction before I did and sure enough, a car was driving in the lane I was about to pull into. Some might consider this driving in the wrong lane as we drive in the left hand lane in Australia. It’s not really though because his lane was pretty full and there were no cars in the oncoming lane so he just thought he’d pull out and drive in that one for awhile. He wasn’t overtaking, that’s not allowed or even possible in that section of the street. He was just having a drive in the other lane. He eventually turned right so I guess he was being efficient and making his way to the right-hand side of the road.

It’s not all to do with the skill of the drivers. The roads are designed really well too. What they do with long roads is change the name several times. Here’s a bit of a map to demonstrate:
So you can see that we have one street which changes names from Barrack to Beaufort to Broun to Walter all in a 10km stretch. As a trap for young players there’s a couple of Beaufort streets right near the main Beaufort. You can see in the map that they all follow the same general direction so they call it one street. Same with Walter road. It finishes at one point but then Broun Avenue starts heading in roughly the same direction that Walter Road did so they just called it Walter Road again. Robin rang me up once to ask me where La Porchetta’s is. Now he’s from Victoria and used to streets not changing name every 3km and if nearby streets don’t even connect then they’re called different names. It is on the section of Walter road that comes after Broun. I knew the Walter road he knew was the other section. I just said, ‘forget it,’ but he was adamant so I just had to say keep driving down ‘the main’ Beaufort street away from the city and ignore everything. You’ll eventually see it on your left. If you see a sign saying ‘Walter’ it’s a lie.

It’s probably just an unfortunate coincidence that before coming to Perth I only saw two crashes happen before my eyes but I’ve seen about ten here.

Judging from your blog about the parking, Mel, as well as your stories of people obeying the ‘special rules’ I’d say you’re not a true Perth driver.

Well I think I’ve said my two cents worth and now I’m going to go make pikelets. Most of you wouldn’t have read this far or at all so cheers if you did. If you Perthians have any cool driving stories then stick ’em in a comment. I’ve probably forgotten some of the special rules too so if you think of some of them put them in too.

I’ve got some more blogs in the works. I’ve got a Whopper blog stewing. That’s Whopper the music school, not the burger or the size of the blog. Speaking of burgers, I’ve also got another food blog stewing. Sure, they’ve received some criticism in the past but James Rickard likes them and that’s more than enough for me.
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~ by Hooly on October 11, 2008.

19 Responses to “Perth Drivers Are Pretty Much The Best”

  1. Once again Jules a well constructed and thought provoking blog. I am in awe of your blogging abilities.

  2. LOVE IT!
    I love your point about the roads changing every few kms… It’s one of the defining features of the Perth northern suburbs, and for those who aren’t from around here, they might find driving around very complicated.

    One of the other things I love about the Perth roads – driving in the CBD. There are so many one way streets which confuse the heck out of people! 🙂

    Where I live, there are roundabouts at least every 70 metres. It keeps life interesting.

    I showed mum this blog. She said “Tell Julian he’s wrong… in Perth, indicating isn’t optional for BMW and Merc drivers… It’s optional for EVERYONE.”
    Bet you didn’t know that over here in Perth, indicators are an optional extra included with cars…

    Check out my new blog on Perth drivers. It’s fun for the whole family.

  3. Mel: Yeah I just left the one way street in the CBD thing alone. I opened a can of worms as it was. I was sad that your Mum said I was wrong, even though she’s on my side I think. I guess it is optional for everyone but I guess it’s frowned upon for BMWs and Mercs as I see them indicate even less. I hope she didn’t read the whole thing. The grammars not my best work but the spelling is right I think…

    Laus: Cheers, bro. It’s for people like you that I keep writing these.

    Jon: If you read this. Don’t drive in Perth. I know you get frustrated more than most with bad drivers so you’ll drive yourself insane.

  4. First of all, an A+ on your use of sarcasm. Well done.

    And secondly, if my vote counts for anything, definitely don’t delete your blog. If you’re having privacy issues, just change your settings to exclude google searches. Or password-protect the post that gets the most traffic. Either way, your blogs are entertaining and clearly I’m not the only one who enjoys them, so don’t let us down, dammit!

    Anyway, great blog. Have a good one!

  5. That’s not sarcasm, Sheri. I genuinely believe Perth drivers are awesome. It’s hard with text on a webpage (as oppose to speech) to get all the subtle nuances of sarcasm so it’s easy to make that mistake.

    Thanks for the support though. I might try some of those options. Cheers!

  6. Hoorah! Another blog from Jules, and quite an entertaining one at that.

    Perhaps, when you come back, you could show us a few amazing manoeuvres that you’ve picked up. Although, us newbies might not be ready for such amazing road skills.

    I eagerly anticipate your next two blogs. Hope all is well. When are you back?

  7. First of all, I loyally check this blog to no avail for months, and then, one day, I check it and I’m reduced to 7th comment! Embarrassing.

    Secondly, I loved the use of the word “alarming” in reference to the amount of hits related to “contrabass saxophone”. I lolled.

    Thirdly, I don’t mind people that break road rules. I don’t define that as bad driving. I admit, I’d be furious if I went to turn left and had to wait for some git going the wrong way- but that’s only because I’d have to wait. I just see driving as something that has to be done in between two preferable pass times. Safety is of no importance compared with haste. It sounds to me like I’d like WA drivers. I HATE drivers that toot. What I like is calm, quiet decision and action, rather than pathetic hesitation. It sounds like that’s about all there is in WA (the former). I define bad driving as slow and cautious. It seems to me that the slower and more cautious the driver, the more they are surprised by events on the road, the easier they panic in difficult situations and the longer it takes to get from A to B. I think melbourne drivers are good, but too tooty. I’d like less fuss, like WA (by the sounds of it). That’s my two cents worth.

    I’m going to start sifting the market for a residence. I won’t even look at a house until you are on the right side of the country, but I’m still keen to suss out rent rates and shit.

    Also, I don’t care what you do with your blog re: privacy, as long as you continue to write them (they really are very good), and also that I am able to read them. And Sheri too. And Laus and Adam. And Mel too, even though I don’t know who she is. …

  8. Yes Jon, I was aware that the checking thing might happen.

    It wasn’t that I hate to wait for the guy going the wrong way, he nearly killed me. Perth drivers are not calm, they are indecisive and they are prone to hesitation. Trust me, they are bad. I don’t have time. I have to give a Tom a lift. Don’t want him getting mugged cos he’ll have no sax to play in my recital. In the one tune. I spose I could just get trumpet in… Anyway they are bad. Think of everything you hate in a driver and they will be it.

    Residence sounds good. I gtg, Kaiser.

  9. I was the cause of two independent car wreckages last week. I also drove threw a red light because I was laughing so hard and on three separate occasions in the same day, I attempted to change lanes by slowing down to 20km/h. Do you think I could ever become a Perth driver, Julian?

    Charming blog by the way.

  10. Hi Crommo. I’m Mel. I go to WAAPA with Hooly. I used to play jazz, but then I saw the light and changed to the classical course. 😛

    Hooly, my driving on Tuesday wasn’t THAT bad, was it? I didn’t think I was indecisive and prone to hesitation.

    Suzy, I think you’d fit in well over here in Perth. 🙂

  11. You’re hilarious Suzy. I’ll forgive the 20kmh because you were trying to change lanes. As long as it wasn’t a 100 zone… I think you are a Perth driver.

    Nah I was watching you like a hawk, Mel. It was commendable driving but we know you’re not a Perth driver anyway re: your driving blogs.

    All this driving talk has put me on the edge a bit. I’m by no means a perfect driver, I’m prone to stopping at green lights once in a while, but the stuff over here is consistently poor.

    I was going to do a new blog but I forgot my thumbdrive. So I’ll give you my last examples of bad driving:

    Thursday:
    Stuck behind a car doing 20 in a 50 zone, as i said on Mel’s blog.

    Friday:
    An interesting one. Some old guy waddled across a dangerous, four-lane, road during peak hour. I had to slow down so he could cross. At 8:15am I’m in no mood for nonsense so I tooted him. He turned around and the look h gave me could have curdled water. I laughed. But seriously, does he have a deathwish? Couldn’t he have waddled 50m down the street on either side to a crossing light?
    Later in the day I was exiting a car park and some guy was loping along in front of me. He wasn’t moving slow or anything but he mustn’t have seen me because he turned around, seemed surprised and gave me an apologetic wave and rushed out of the way even though he was nearly across. I thought, ‘this is a car park. You’re allowed to walk through and you weren’t even annoying. not like the old guy.’ So good on him, just goes to show there are some good people out there.

    Saturday: Some guy overtook me on a highway. Didn’t indicate, nearly cleaned up my back on his way through, didn’t indicate back into the other lane, maybe because he just drove down the middle of the road in both lanes for a few kms.

    Sunday (today):

    Sunday: I was waiting at a give way sign for another car who had right of way. They stopped, got all pissed off and waved me through. Whatever.

  12. I have had this window open since you posted the article… I was trying to think of something witty to say. I considered publishing my own article in response, but I can’t think of anything…

    Awwww wait… I was riding through Belmont, up High street, and a lady kindly opened her door on me. I flew into the middle of the road. It was pretty brutal.

    But thats not about bad driving, just drivers who don’t look for cyclists…

  13. I think one thing that all my ex girlfriends have in common is that they are bad drivers.

    I just want to go on record as saying that.

    They’re all charming for many various reasons, but they are all bad drivers.

  14. duly noted crommo. 🙂

    also you think melbourne drivers toot alot.. you should go to Sydney.. they toot at every opportunity they get even if they don’t need to. it drived me mad. it makes melbourne drivers look extremely calm and decisive when you compare to sydney.

  15. best bit of writing I’ve seen in ages, Hooly. nice work!

  16. So I’m driving down Fitzgerald street, on my way to WAAPA.
    As I’m sure you know, it’s a four lane road (two lanes headed each way). I’m in one of the inner most lanes, riding in another car’s blind spot. There’s plenty of traffic coming the other way. Nothing unusual.

    Some guy from a side street pulls out (trying to get across the street), knowing that he can make it past whoever’s blind spot I’m driving in, then realises there’s oncoming traffic on the other side of the road, and is forced to stop.

    Right in front of me.

    So naturally, I smash into the guy to teach him a lesson. But seriously, I slammed on the breaks and skidded into him (he had been raining).

    I made a few observations, and after thought, conclusions on the matter.

    The guy had said “That intersection’s almost gotten me a few times!” after he got out. Clearly this wasn’t enough to get him to question his driving habits.

    I also noted he was in a rent-a-car. I assume something must have happened to his own car.

    Had I gone a little slower, I might have actually killed the guy. He was starting to move out of the way when I hit him, and I smashed into about where his front wheel is. Had I gone a little slower (giving him time to move further forward), I would have smashed into the driver’s door.

    With this in consideration, and my Perth Driver’s Instinct (PDI) kicking in, I figure had I been doing 100 down the road, I would have missed him entirely.

  17. Ben! Thanks for stopping by! Say hi to your mum and thank her for stopping by too. Sounds like classic Perth driving to me. Unfortunately for you, you actually hit someone.

    “That intersection’s almost gotten me a few times!”

    Well then maybe you should work out a different way around it.

  18. Ha! As an out of towner myself my main joy in watching the traffic in Perth is the inability of drivers to turn a corner without stopping completely first.

    whether it is just a natural curve in the road or a junction with a green light, 95% of drivers choose to stop over a space of 200m before accelerating around the corner.

    So many times i’ve been late for meetings because i’ve been simply too stunned by these complex maneuvers to continue with my, in comparison at least, mundane day to day existence.

  19. Bloody hell I tell you what.

    As someone said to me when I first came to Perth. ‘Perth drivers can’t merge, hey.’

    And it’s true! They can’t! Everyone freaks out and it’s willy nilly. Mostly because people are rude and won’t let anyone in which I’ll get to in a minute. They don’t get into another lane to allow ease of merging either. Inconsiderate. Other places basically have an unspoken one car from this lane, one from that one and everyone just kind of, well, ‘merges’. Here they just blast through thinking they’re in the right without think of the greater good.

    And if I bloody well let you in when you’re trying to change lanes or something that clearly involves me being courteous and letting me in BLOODY WAVE THANKS TO ME OR I’LL RUN UP YA ARSE YA DICKHEAD. You didn’t get in because you’re skilled or anything. Only because I was nice and the rest of these drivers certainly wouldn’t let you in so bloody WAVE.

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