Driving around in Queensland and Victoria during the ‘holiday’ break reminded me of the varying driving standards and practices in different places.
Up north, where I live, things are a little less congested – except at peak times, of course – and drivers are probably a little more relaxed, maybe because so many of them on our roads are on holidays at the time and in less of a hurry.
Down south, which is where I grew up, I really noticed the difference in driver behaviour on this trip.
Even though it was the holiday period, many more drivers are in a hurry, there’s lots more aggression on the road … it’s frustration, I think, because there’s so much congestion drivers have to deal with.
I read somewhere the other day that Melbourne now has the fastest-growing population of any Australian capital city … so the roads aren’t going to get any less frustrating any time soon!
Driver skill levels vary too, but it’s not so much geographically based, you get your good and your bad drivers everywhere. I travel a lot through the year and see some scary stuff on the roads, and that’s everywhere, it’s not State-specific.
One shift I have seen in recent years, and I’m going to bet you all agree on this, is an increase in what I’d call the “selfish driver”.
That’s the man or woman who drives without a thought for anyone else, who is focussed only on where they are going, is determined to get there, and doesn’t care about the impact of their driving on everyone else.
It’s only themselves that matter.
So they drive where they want to, how they want to, often ignoring the road rules, without giving a second’s thought to how their behaviour affects anyone else on the road. They are either oblivious or just don’t care.
This “selfishness” can be dangerous, of course, and can place other road users in a perilous position, even if it doesn’t affect the offending driver.
But probably the biggest impact of this sort of selfishness is that it causes frustration in those affected … for those offended against, it’s frustrating to be treated with a total lack of respect or courtesy by other road users.
It’s not only the root cause of ‘road rage’ but also encourages those offended against to start behaving the same way.
I think this sort of behaviour is symptomatic of the way our society has evolved over the last few years, where everyone is focused on “me” and not enough thought (if any) is given to others.
Some experts even suggest it’s a generational issue, and if they are right about that, it’s going to be hard to turn this behaviour around.
Maybe it’s time that the various state road safety authorities mounted a national campaign promoting courtesy and consideration of others, on our roads?
Can’t see a down side to that and it might even save a few lives.
VERY SHORTLY, the 2017 motor racing season will be kicking off and the first event is the annual Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race for GT cars.
I was fortunate enough to win it back in 2015, in a Ferrari 458 run by the Maranello Motorsports team, and after not competing last year because of injury, I’m back to defend my crown.
I’ll be driving a brand new Ferrari 488, again for the Maranello team, but this time partnered by my Triple Eight teammate Jamie Whincup, making his GT racing debut.
Jamie and I have shared a fair bit of success at Bathurst in the past, so we’re hoping to do so again.
I’ll update you next month on how we went and look at how the 2017 Supercar season is shaping up.