GREG RAY: Freeway driving woes

SLOW-COACHES hogging the right-hand lane are just some of the hazards of the F3 freeway, which I rate as one of the most unpleasant drives around.

Swansea MP Garry Edwards wants them all booked, but I reckon the problem runs deeper than that one bad habit.

I wrote this week about my dislike of the F3, comparing it to a video game where the main aim is to get to the end in one piece, but with a heap of games-within-games that people play for extra points or to relieve their boredom.

Like “box-’em-in”, where the turkey who has been sitting happily at four car lengths behind you, decides he has to overtake you as soon as a slow vehicle looms ahead.

He dawdles past at just the right speed to box you in and make you brake so that you will be stuck while the next 25 cars pass.

And “outta my way”, where, every time you pull out to overtake, a turkey (usually with bright driving lights) appears out of nowhere and rides your bumper, letting you know that you are slowing them down.

I suggested putting in some point-to-point cameras to monitor speed-demons and lane-hogs alike, but not everybody thought that was a great idea.

Here are some blog comments from online readers on the subject:

BrightSpark: Greg, a point-to-point camera would just make efficient overtaking impossible. It would merely restrict those who are paying attention, and would lead to even worse occupation of the right lane. No, the solution is simple: Enforce the keep-left rule properly (especially through the three-lane section from Wyong onwards) and enact mandatory licence re-testing every five years, so that lazy, ignorant drivers are weeded out.

Shillard: Garry Edwards needs to familiarise himself with the road rules. The rule is ‘‘KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING’’ on any road so signed or where the speed limit exceeds 80km/h. ‘‘Left’’ means ‘‘left’’, not ‘‘middle’’. People should be booked for hogging both the right AND centre lanes on the F3. Hint: If the lane next to you is empty, or the vehicles there are moving faster than you, you are in the wrong lane.

JB: If someone is driving in the centre of the F3 at 110km/h, you are not lawfully entitled to overtake. 

Andrew: What it says on your speedo may not be what your speed really is. I set my cruise control at 119km/h on the F3. In the real world this is 110-111km/h (as per GPS and radar). I could easily nudge it up to 125km/h, which is really around 115-116km/h and would be highly unlikely to get a ticket. 

Your safe, for instance, 108km/h could well be as low as 97km/h in the real world. 

James: I agree with practically all of the above. The F3 is now almost physically good enough to be a stress-free road but, for the reasons outlined, it is a pain in the neck.

We have a competitive rather than a co-operative driving culture in this country. It is made worse by the government’s attitude to law enforcement. Speed kills but so do a lot of other things. The opportunistic exploitation of speed almost exclusively as a revenue-raiser, the draconian penalties and the total lack of interest in driver-education policies or positive incentives (they cost money) also serve to reinforce a sense of siege and hostility among drivers. The situation is stupid, stressful, and potentially lethal.

that’s an expensive pram!!!: Many don’t know or apply the rule about right and middle lane in higher speed zones, which explains why the left lane in the three-lane sections of the F3 are often empty. Plenty of them don’t know what a transit lane is, bus lane, solid-lined shoulder, footpath even or cycle lane is or that they are not there for car drivers to use to jump the traffic lights. They also don’t seem to know that a sign saying ‘‘no stopping’’ means exactly that.

apples: Why all the stress? It doesn’t have to be. Video games are fun. 

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