I had a truly frightening journey in a car this morning. It was on the eight-lane Brisbane to Gold Coast M1 motorway beside a driver I had never travelled with before. A pleasant lady in her forties who has been driving for many years so has had plenty of experience behind the wheel in a variety of cars.
However, she wasn’t what we in the motoring game call a ‘driver’; meaning she had no real interest in what she was doing, simply regarding driving as a means of getting from point A to point B. Fair enough, we can’t all love our driving – though as a revhead of many decades standing I do feel sorry for those who don’t simply love being behind the steering wheel.
This lady was steady in her driving, attentive at all times and was aware of and considerate to other road users.
Where she frightened me was in overtaking trucks. Her car had a cruise control and she used it as soon as we got onto the motorway, with the speedo sitting right at the posted limit. Not one kilometre per hour over or under the posted speed limit.
Obviously she was a believer in the grossly exaggerated ‘Every K Over is a Killer’ nonsense that I’ve written about before.
So when she came up beside a truck sitting close to its 100 km/h speed limiter it took an agonising length of time to overtake it. Hills would knock a few kays off the truck’s speed and we then slowly crawled up to it. As we crept past it I was staring at wheels, mudflaps and fuel tanks rumbling along only about a metre from my face. Then as we crested a slight rise the truck got back up to 100 again and we remained side by side for far too long.
This was frightening stuff – that sometimes went on for minutes at a time just to overtake one truck. Then another, and one more, and… I was just about at screaming point at times.
But it’s not polite to comment on other people’s driving to their face so I bit my tongue and suffered in silence.
All it needed was for my driver to push the accelerator for a few seconds, accelerate past the truck, and then back off to her steady 100 km/h. But she had been told that Speed Kills and had no intention of ever going over that limit.
Presumably every trip this lady does on motorways is like the one I suffered through, so she regards it as a normal part of driving, not realising the danger she is in herself, as well as the danger she is creating for others on the road.
These Australian bureaucrats with their academic theories on speed have got a lot to answer for.
It really worries me that otherwise intelligent people can be brainwashed by Australian government propaganda into believing that 100 km/h is safe, but 101 km/h is dangerous. But I guess if you tell them something often enough they will eventually believe just about any nonsense.
I use the word nonsense advisedly I’m not long back from a business trip to Europe and spent many days driving at speeds of around 130 to 140 km/h, the European norm, on motorways.
At no time did we look like crashing, indeed the added concentration demanded by moving at these speeds undoubtedly adds to road safety.