My stated purpose with this column is generally to entertain, not offend. But I am forced to the latter rather than the former when it comes to the subject of driving in Perth. Or, rather, whatever I say is going to be offensive…so I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, and at my age there is a lot more about me that suggests mutton.
I am guilty of several sins when it comes to driving:
a. I drive at a little bit less than the speed limit, if I can.
b. I drive with one car length between me and the car in front for every 10 Kph on the speedo. 80 Kph…8 car lengths.
c. I frequently drive with the headlights on and the radio off.
d. I wear a hat in the car.
e. The car is a little 5-year-old Suzuki Swift hatchback with no pretensions to glory or prestige. No personalised number plate. It is bright green.
In my defence, I keep to the left hand lane. I attempt to merge smoothly. I do not talk or text while driving.
But I will not be bullied into going faster than the speed limit to cater to the tray-top tradie or Daimler despot. If I am in the right hand lane going over the Narrows bridge and interchange – with an 80 Kph posted limit – I will stay there at that very speed rather than dive off to let some scofflaw past.
I have frequently raised the ire of the desperate and entitled when trying to negotiate unfamiliar suburban streets at dusk – the drivers returning home have had to cope with me seeking my way while they know theirs. No-one has mercy at 6:00 PM…particularly when they feel they are near home territory and can be anonymously aggressive. I avoid dusk trips for just this reason.
I am also not at all shy about calling out impatient or aggressive drivers who bully their way through car parks – these are hard enough to navigate when you drive a small car and must cope with being hemmed in by SUV’s on all sides. My car is highly visible, and there is no excuse for taking your half of the narrow lanes in the middle.
As you can imagine, all of the above is a red rag to a motoring bull as far as many other younger drivers go. You can read their snarls on Facebook every day. Fortunately I cannot read Facebook whilst driving and so they can snarl as much as they like.