Sunday, August 13, 2006

Driving Around

Officers have charged a man after he was detected travelling at nearly three times the speed limit in Sydney’s west today. Just before 2am, officers from Macquarie Fields Highway Patrol observed a green Ford Falcon XR8 travelling at 160kmh in a 60kmh zone on Cleopatra Drive, Rosemeadow. The vehicle stopped a short time later and the driver allegedly ran from the vehicle. After a short foot pursuit officers arrested the man. The 21-year-old Raby man was subsequently charged with drive vehicle recklessly/furiously or speed/manner dangerous. He has been bail refused to appear before Parramatta Bail Court today.

News reports of acts like this always give me a laugh because of the language they are couched in to avoid slander, libel and general criticism. The police always allege this or that, when they watched the whole thing and know damn well who did what. If there's any doubt, the question needs to be asked - when will the police stop chasing innocent victims and start chasing the real criminals - the cars that cause this sort of incident!? We're forever reading in the papers how a man was travelling in a car when the car veered to the other side, causing an accident, or how police observed a vehicle behaving in a strange manner. According to the reporter in the story above, it wasthe car travelling at 3 times the limit, not the driver - clearly he himself wasn't even capable of that sort of speed, because when he got out of the car and ran off on foot (after the car stopped), they soon caught up with him. Perhaps, in these days of libel and slander laws, they should be more careful and say that an alleged car was allegedly detected supposedly travelling at maybe 3 times the generally-accepted limit, possibly in Sydney's west, probably today.

We have a definite advantage here in Australia when it comes to driving, since we're one of only a few countries that drive on the correct side of the road. How all those Americans don't run into each other all the time has me puzzled!

If you're planning on visiting Australia and driving yourself around, remember these simple rules:
1. The left side is the right side.
2. The right side is the wrong side.
3. At any intersection, the biggest vehicle has right of way.
4. A yellow traffic light means floor it or you won't get through this intersection.
5. A red traffic light means you've only got another second or so to go through.
6. In Melbourne, to turn right, stop in the left lane.
7. In Sydney, turn any way you like as long as it gets you out of the city.
8. In Northern Territory, turn any way you like because roads and paddocks look much the same.
9. Any time you see Christmas lights flashing, it's probably the police behind you.
10. Any time you see the Easter bunny, you probably shouldn't have had that last drink.

And a special warning about driving in the Northern Territory. Things are so far apart up there that most drivers change their model of car at every service station, not just their oil. Road trains (eighteen-wheeler trucks with anything up to ten trailers being towed behind) use the same road as you and never drop below a hundred miles an hour, so if you see one in your mirror (if you check it often you should get a couple of seconds' warning), get out of the way, fast. The bull-bars on the front of those rigs are designed to push real-size bulls out of the way, as well as kangaroos, fences, stalled cars and the occasional mountain. And don't think he's going too fast, either - up north is the only place in Australia where the speed limit is 'no limit', because if it wasn't, no-one would make it down to their local and back at night before they had to be up for work in the morning.

There's lots more that could be said about driving in Australia, but what's the point? Your chances of having an accident while driving yourself around Australia are so close to 100% that the difference isn't worth betting last Sunday's collection plate on. But what can we expect when all you tourists learn to drive on the wrong side of the road back home?

No comments: