Wednesday 14 January 2009

On the right, you're in the wrong

Does this photo piss you off?

Is this a scene you've put up with before?

How many times have you been heading north, or on the Southern access roads, and there's a RHHW* in the right-hand lane, going at or under the speed limit?

This is as bad as my other pet hate, having your fog lights on in addition to your normal headlights: not needed in FNQ thanks dickheads. Plus, it's illegal.

Someone wrote a rather eloquent response in the Cairns Post letters a couple of months ago about the subject of right-hand lane hoggers. It was all about drivers that hog the right-hand lane in a two (or more) lane highway, known as a dual carriageway.

Pictured above is a 'L' driver, which is very often the case, driving North yesterday afternoon.

The female driver, who was just out of school-age it seemed, stayed in the right hand lane from before the Barron River Bridge until past the Yorkeys roundabout, and as you can see, there was no one in the left lane to prevent her from moving across. Approaching along the Holloways section of the highway, there was around 6 car trying to pass this driver, and the horn tooting appeared to have no effect.

What happen when you go for your driver's licence test these days? Does this basic road rule get omitted?

Now the road rules are reasonably clear on this one. It's also no excuse to sit in the right lane if you stick to the speed limit. The right hand lane is a passing lane, and any other traffic should utilise the left lane. It's rather simple, according to the Queensland Road Rules...

  • When you drive on a two-way road, the basic rule is keep as close as practical to the left.

    When you drive on a multi-lane road where the speed limit is more than 80 km/h, you must not travel in the far right lane unless you are:
    - overtaking
    - turning right
    - making a U-turn
    - avoiding an obstacle
    - driving in congested traffic.
    You could be fined for driving in the right-hand lane.

The right hand lane is also used for those folk turning right as they enter a roundabout, which again, failed to register with the driver above.

Learner drivers are not the only culprits. A raft of drivers of all ages seem to hog the right hand lane, and they're easily spotted, with a line-up of increasingly irate road users building up behind. The practise is very dangerous, as road rules along with common courtesy gets thrown out the window, and people start speeding past on the left lane to overtake the slower drivers.

It's not difficult to keep a continual eye in your rear view mirror, after all, that is one of the most import tasks whilst driving. When there's an approaching vehicle, indicate then move to the left lane. Why this practice appears common on dual lane roads and highways, is rather mysterious. I often think it's more about control. When people are forced to move to the left lane, they feel like someone is better than them and therefore will loose their SDS* status.

I've also seen those that give a gentle nob of the horn or flash the lights to indicate to the driver in front, they wish to pass, yet this still fails to enact the right-hand hogger to take any action.

And while I'm on the subject, the Demerit Points system increased at the 1st January. Check out the new numbers here.

Talk about contributing to road rage.

RHHW* = Right Hand Hogging Wanker
SDS* = Small Dick Syndrome


Anonymous said...

Learner driver = Someone else in the car.

Someone who SHOULD have more road savvy. And if you are in a car with a learner driver, you take on the responsibility of mentoring that person.

I totally agree with everything that has been said; save for comments about fog lights. As Syd can no doubt attest, we do get fog on the Range Road and in Kuranda. As in those circumstances I turn them on.

Anonymous said...

John, I thought a Learner dtiver only had to have a another person in their car in the evening / night hours? However, I'm not clear about what the rules are.

Anonymous said...

Brian, thThe following is from Q Transport site

When learning to drive you must:

clearly display L-plates at the front and rear of the vehicle.
be accompanied by a person who holds and has held an open licence for the class of vehicle you are learning in (for example, automatic or manual), for at least one year
carry your learner licence with you and show it to a police officer when asked to do so
obey any conditions stated on your learner licence
have a zero (0.00 per cent) blood or breath alcohol limit if you are under 25 years and a blood or breath alcohol limit below 0.05 per cent if you are 25 years or over. Drink driving offences carry monetary fines and disqualification periods
not use a mobile phone. Passengers and supervisors are also restricted from using a mobile phone in loudspeaker mode while the car is being driven.

The mentoring bit is assumed

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that John.

By the looks of the photo, and it's a little hard to clarify, it appears there's only one person (driver)( in the car. May Mike can confirm this?

Anonymous said...

As much as I agree with you Mike, I'm afraid this girl didn't have to move left if she didn't want to.

As you stated in the rules 'When you drive on a multi-lane road where the speed limit is MORE THAN80 km/h'.

Most of that section of road is 80km/h, therefore you can drive in the right lane all you want.

Back in the mid/late 90's, the stretch between Woree and Edmonton used to be 90km/h, and people hogging the right lane were actually being booked, but they dropped it back to 80km/h as the traffic increased due to the increase in houses out there and the right lane hoggers have been back in force ever since.

Michael P Moore said...

You're wrong Captain. This was a 100 km section of road.

Anonymous said...

Surely it's courtesy to move to the left hand lane if you're not passing or turning? I mean even Homer Simpson would work that one out.

But Cairns drivers are bloody awful. I know we have a lot of tourist drivers up here - and don't get me started on rental car drivers, but where's the courtesy and forethought when you're behind the wheel these days ??

James M

Anonymous said...

Michael ... that photo was taken on the Machans side of the holloways roundabout. It is an 8o kph zone as of the last 10 months.
Crap Tin Cairns is correct.
You are wrong.
You've gotta get your FACTS right in these matters.

Anonymous said...

My pet peeve about the use of roundabouts in this town is what usually happens next. The driver will indicate right and then will exit the roundabout (left) to keep going straight ahead. It's great fun working out what people are trying to do when you are coming from the other direction.

Anonymous said...

Does it really matter if people are driving slow in the right lane? Who cares? Can't you just move to the left and overtake..

Anonymous said...

"Can't you just move to the left and overtake.." I believe you can actually be committing a traffic offence if you do that in some circumstances.

Anonymous said...

In some circumstances - please elaborate? If you are doing the speed limit in the left lane and you happen to be passing slower vehicles in the right lane surely this cannot be a criminal act.? I've rolled a car in the past at Yorkeys Knob round-a-bout, therefore I never do the speed limit on the Captain Cook Highway, it is too dangerous. I wasn't speeding when I rolled, the road was simply wet and I spun out and hit the kerb and over she went.

Anonymous said...

The section in the photo is 80KM, not 100. It hasn't been 100 for at least nine months. It is NOT required to pull to the left in an 80 zone, even though anyone with a lick of sense does it as a matter of course. This highway also used to have big signs saying "keep left except while passing", but Main Roads took 'em down, claiming "too much sign clutter".

If Nowakowski is "rolling his car in roundabouts", his tyres are bald or he's got some kind of palsy. I routinely drive right around these things at 80 without any problem, unless there are jerks in my way.

Michael Moore seems to have a very hostile driving attitude. His diatribe on "fog lights" is absurd - in many countries, headlights and other auto lights are on always when the car is running. More lights = more visibility to other drivers.

The other rampant problem is illegal U-turns, especially in the CBD. I've never seen anyone booked for this dangerous offence - [text removed].

The coppers find it much easier to hide behind bushes in air conditioned vans firing their speed camera at everyone instead of getting out and finding the real violators.

Anonymous said...

I rolled my car in 1998 at the Yorkeys roundabout heading south. Six months later Main Roads realigned the roundabout. It was funny when I told the police over the phone of what happened, the female officer said laughingly, 'oh don't worry, everyone does that!'.

Anonymous said...

Generally, the main idea behind dual lane carriageways is to keep left unless overtaking. People don't appear to know this anymore. Its like completing a right hand turn with the green light. People will not move until they see a green arrow telling them to move. They honestly don't know anymore. And police don't enforce road rules at all, they just sit on stationary speed cameras and think they've done their job.

Anonymous said...

Looks like this isn't too much to worry about really! Gee, if this is the biggest problem that there is in North Queensland it must be a great place! At least you've got 2 lane roads!

Anonymous said...

There is an engineer that is employed by, (at tax-payers expense), to make sound traffic engineering judgements.
That person decided that the Aeroglen - Holloway Beach section of the Cook Highway should be reduced to 80 kph (formally 100 kph).

Why ???

There has been no traffic incidents of significance on this section of highway for the last 15 years.
This section has no railway crossings, nor property exits or center turn here thru the median bits.
So why was the speed reduced to 80kph ???

I know that the Main Roads philosophy (from the MUTCD) is "if traffic consistently are speeding then the environment needs to be changed.
Does this mean bang bounce humps where ever people BREAK THE LAW ???

Anonymous said...

To Traffic Engineer just above - erm, you'll see a few bunches of flowers/memorial thingies just near the Stratford turnoff along that stretch of road. Yes, there were two fatalities in two years on that stretch. So, if it takes an extra 3 minutes to get home @ 80cf. 10, so what?
But I generally agree with most of the comments above re crap driving. I reckon the U-turn laws are atrocious & confusing - in Victoria you can either do a u-turn or not, as signed. Here, there's about 5 rules for different road situations.
The other thing that really Cheeses Me Off is tailgating, which seems to be in epidemic proportions. Especially being tailgated by some retard when you're already doing the maximum speed, and/or the above in wet driving rain conditions. There was a great bumper sticker I saw a while ago: "The Nearer You Come, The Slower I Go". I think I'll get some made up. Might make a right quid with that one. Anyone want one? Am planning to get a used Hummer, with Really Big Bull Bars to go with the bumper sticker.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a deviation from the original post, but I see that there appears to be another set of traffic lights; this time at the bottom of the Kuranda Range Road.I look forward to the bank up of traffic with this one!

Anonymous said...

Lilly - wrong. Those unfortunate accidents happened in the 80 kph zone. The previous 100 kph started in 100 metres past that point towards Machans. So nothing has changed speed wise, at this Arnold Street intersection.
But, there is now a left turn only exit from Stratford.
My point is that the stretch between this Arnold Street turnoff and Holloways has no hazards. The roundabouts are traffic calming devices in themselves.
You should question why the 1 lane each way access road to Yorkeys is still 100 kph ?
There are plenty of exits/entrances and other hazards on this road.

Anonymous said...

Going back to early days of this blog item, I see in Cairns Post 20/01/09 Page 9 that Innisfail man lost his license for being drunk whilst accompanying a Learner Driver - "You were with a learner driver...therefore, you were in charge of the vehicle"

Anonymous said...

Great thread but while there seems to be a debate about which roundabout it is, the road rules and how many people are in the car, I wondered about the means used to capture the photo and the legality and/or safety involved. Mobile phone use whilst driving or fixed camera with approved driver operated switch installed? hmm.

Anonymous said...

Jeez Traffic Engineer - perhaps you are one! Yes, I think you're right that the old 100 started past that point. But the fact remains, does it take an extra few minutes to drive at 80 cf 100? Yep, it does, but so what? As far as the Yorkeys Knob road, actually, I'd love to see it go down to 80ks. There are few 'hazards' along that road (although I'm not looking at it with Traffic Engineers eyes), & I can't remember the last time I saw a traffic accident along the road (been here 12 years), but there are wallabies. I don't get any brownie points, I'm sure, when I drive along there at 80 at sunrise & sunset - wallaby time. Apart from not wanting to kill the wallabies, I don't want to have them strike the car, & then have to deal with all the associated drama of tow trucks & wildlife rescue & baby wallabies in pouches. Basically, I think we all need to get in to our minds that we have a tonne of steel under the pedals of our cars, & that we act accordingly - & don't expect any sane driving from anyone.

Michael P Moore said...

Brett, the pic was taken by my passenger.

So you can rest easy that there was no illegal use of a mobile phone whilst driving. However, I thank you for your concern and interest in making sure this "story" was delivered under the guidelines of Australian Law and consideration of all those other loony’s driving on our roads.

It is correct that (as mentioned by another contributor) this pic is on the South-side of the Holloways roundabout - therefore it is still an 80km area.

However, I made the point in the story that this driver stayed in the right hand lane from the Barron River bridge to Smithfield, all the way. S/he was doing just under 80km - therefore I stand by my argument that this was not only inconsiderate by illegal. As others have noted, the left lane its not there for passing.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lillian at Yorkeys ... you seem such an eloquent lady of the Knob. Although I don’t know you, I imagine you walk your Siberian short-haired imported felines along the Knob’s Nard, followed by a roasted Jamaican Latte on your balcony, over-looking the vista of the coral coast, protected from the harsh reality of living on the made tourist-ridden speedways of F** NQ.

However, did you read the bit earlier in this comment thread where no-name Traffic Enforcer stalks about going through roundabouts at 80k?? Amazing, even in the best weather, it’s not only foolish but extremely irresponsible to do such a thing. And in this weather like this afternoon, you should be doing around 20-30 k tops.

I think this makes his other arguments void of sense due to this.

Anonymous said...

Paul T. of Edmonton - thank you for your kind words. You nearly got it right - actually, not felines but dogs - Alaskan Staghounds actually (good for despatching all those yappy fluffy Little Dogs called "Mooshie-Moo"), & it's not Jamaican Blue, but a nice pot of bracing Dilmah Loose-Leaf on the balcony. The obligatory chard. But then... all dreams of grandeur fade, & we're back buying loo paper & carrots, & emptying gallons of water of out the wheele bin on garbage day, & turning the blasted things upside-down to dry them off.
Back to tailgaters, hoons, aggro Soccer Mums & so on. Yes, I did note Traffic Engineer's 80k through roundabouts - scary. A case of 'I've got a V-bloody-8 and ahm a-goin to use it' I think. [Refer George W. Shurb)

Anonymous said...

Wrong again Lilypoo.
Those 80 clicks thru the roundabout comments were in a post from "Traffic Enforcer".
I am not the "enforcer".
You gotta get your facts right.

Anonymous said...

My apologies Traffic Engineer, you're absolutely right. Not enough Dilmah this morning, obviously.

Anonymous said...

As a semi- regular blog reader and contributor, Yorkeys resident and Sydney based at present, I am so pleased to read this particular blog.

The peckerheads who hog the roads in Cairns are the worst in Australia.

These idiots I have witnessed on Cairns roads for the last 10 years just get worse and worse.....and more and more impatient....and have no idea re the road rules.

Driving in Sydney traffic, which I have done for the last four days, is a much more pleasant experience than the mad dash along the Capt. Cook highway each morning. No rude gestures, no tooting horns and no near misses. Just people going about their business. I did a quick trip from Manly to Moss Vale on Friday, and even at 110k along the Motorway,all the drivers were safe and courteous. Nobody stayed in the right lane except when overtaking.

And thats what should happen along the Craptain Crook Speedway !!

Thank you Mike for stating the bleedin obvious !!

And thank you to the contributors for feeling the way I do about staying in the left lane !!

I shall return to Cairns when the rain stops and the Dengue mozzies are gone !!

I may need to be away a while longer!!!

Mandy Moo xxx

Anonymous said...

Having moved here from a city and its traffic, I haven't been bothered too much by those who drive slowly in the right hand lane. Admittedly, driving in city traffic and motorways gives you a different perspective, you learn to merge like a zip, drive at the speed everyone else is doing and make sure you are in the right lane several k's before you need to exit. I have been more upset with some cyclists. We were scared out of our wits by two cyclists going through the red light on Severin and Scott St a few weeks back. When they caught up to us at the next set of lights, we pointed out that we were on a green light and they should have stopped - too which they replied that they were in a cycle lane and didn't have to. I have been startled by those cyclists going the wrong way around the roundabout. I am looking to the right when I drive into a roundabout, not looking to the left to see if a cyclist is suddenly going to cross my path. Crossing Grafton St going to the post office, I was looking left to make sure the road was clear while I crossed the road, and not to the right at the cyclist who fell off his bike trying to avoid hitting me, while cycling the wrong way up the street. I also had a near miss crossing at the lights at Sheridan and James St, the cross now lights came on, I stepped out onto the pedestrian crossing and was missed by millimetres as a cyclist sped through the red light. With the power outage the other evening, it made interesting driving through the city, those who knew how to drive through uncontrolled intersections and those who thought that if you are on Sheridan St or Mulgrave Ave then you have right of way regardless. I drive in the left hand lane, I drive to the conditions and speed limit, I don't toot at the car in front, nor do I give hand gestures out the window. I wasn't always so virtuous though, when the kids were very young and Pete was driving not me, he had to brake suddenly to avoid a collision, three little voices in unison from the back seat shouted "Stupid Bloody Bitch of a Woman Driver"