Making the road a place of freedom

Have you ever been driving on the motorway when you caught up to someone in front of you who stays on the inside lane, although the outside lane is empty? They could move over and you see no reason why they don’t, but they just sit there, on the inside lane, driving just below the speed limit. You can’t really get angry because they are within the speed limit and you would not be able to overtake very quickly anyway without breaking the law, but you sit there, boiling inside, wishing (and sometimes telling them in no uncertain terms, though they can’t hear) to just “move over!”

Road rage

You politely tell them they could perhaps consider moving over…

Why do they do that? I have noticed it is usually older people or women who tend to do this, with young men hardly ever doing it. My theory is that young men think they own the road. Speed limits are for others and the inside lane is their domain, overtaking their passion. But then again, they usually think they can drive better than they actually can and certainly better than anyone else.

Older people (and often women) are not absolutely comfortable on the road. They are afraid of being stuck behind a truck in the outside lane. They need more time to react and are afraid of change (of lanes). Often they get stressed by having someone behind them, especially if they drive close behind them (as is the norm in New Zealand) and slow down a bit to give themselves more room in front.

I can understand that the lack of confidence in their ability to react influences them to do things that confident drivers wouldn’t necessarily do (or not do things confident drivers would). And of course, they get annoyed at confident drivers who take more risks than they would and therefore put everyone at danger. Indeed, 82% of drivers in Tauranga think they drive really well – it’s the others who drive badly… (Hmmm…. That sounds like a case of 18% know they drive badly, the others are disillusional).

I think that increasing confidence on the road would help everyone. I think that if everyone felt comfortable about moving over and letting the people behind them pass, there would be less congestion, less frustration and everyone would get to wherever they are going quicker and with less stress.

I advocate we start giving everyone free ‘confidence on the road’ lessons to ensure everyone learns how to drive confidently. Let’s start with all those other drivers out there – the ones who obviously aren’t confident, judging by their poor driving skills…



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