Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Zealand Driving Rules

The inclement winter weather has brought out the worst craziness in New Zealand drivers, but it is not as if they need the catalyst of poor visibility and icy roads to show how appalling they are.

I have traveled extensively and driven on most of the world's continents and I have concluded that, given the relatively benign road and traffic conditions that New Zealanders are faced with, they are the worst drivers in the world. There seems to be an unofficial Road Code that parallels the official one in providing guidance on how New Zealanders should behave behind the wheel.  I haven't been privy to the secrets of this black book, but I have deduced that the following are some of its rules:

1) In a 50km/h urban area, slow down to 15km/h in case you miss a vacant parking space.
2) Never indicate that you are about to turn or pull over.  Never.  Especially if you are a taxi or courier.
3) On a narrow street, never give way to on-coming traffic.  Never.
4) On a multi-lane highway, stay in the centre-most lane, no matter what speed you are doing.
5) In a 100km/h open road speed zone, slow down to 83km/h, except...
6) Where there is a passing lane, speed up to at least 125km/h to prevent anyone passing you.  Resume 83km/h as soon as the passing lane ends.
7) When a multi-lane road reduces to single lane, never let any other car merge in front of you.  Never.
8) If there is a gap between your vehicle and the car in front of you, you are not following closely enough.
9) When approaching an intersection, check to see whether the way is clear and, if it is not, stop in the middle of the intersection thereby blocking all cross traffic.
10) Traffic light colours mean the following:
     RED - Go until the cross-traffic blocks your way.
     AMBER - Speed up. Do not stop.
     GREEN - Slow down and if in doubt stop in the middle of the intersection, thereby blocking all cross traffic
[Update: one more occurred to me:]
11) The dashed line in the centre of the road is for decorative purposes only.  You may drive on either side of the road.  Approaching traffic will pull over to the shoulder to make way for you.

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