If you thought NZ drivers have issues, you’re right.
Assessing the demeanour of a nation when it gets behind the wheel is tricky. There are always exceptions. It seems so subjective. And why should a whole nation share particular driving trends and habits? How can you say that one nation’s drivers are ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another’s?
It’s one of those things that generates lively discussion around the dinner table.
But as a NZ resident who has driven in Australia and a bunch of western European countries – and as a rational human able to recognise idiotic and irrational behaviour – I can’t help but agree with those who say NZ drivers are ‘crazy‘.
Not all of us, not all the time, not everywhere. But enough experience, anecdotal evidence and statistical data to establish that crazy, unnecessary stuff happens when NZ drivers get behind the wheel.
We’re indulging in behaviour that kills and maims ourselves and others. And some of us have anger issues.
Sort it out New Zealand.
Update 06 Feb 2012: NZ Herald “NZ driving angers visitors”:
Visiting drivers say they are shocked at the lack of courtesy and patience displayed by Kiwis
New Zealand may have just had its lowest road toll in six decades, but our drivers are just as rude and reckless as ever, visitors have told the Weekend Herald.
Read the full article for a range of opinions and some hard evidence.
Update 19 April 2012: NZ Herald “When an afternoon ride turns ugly”
No article on NZ drivers is complete without a reference to the bloke who has become known as NZ’s most infamous cyclist! An insight into the psyche of some kiwis when they get behind the wheel (or take control of their chosen mode of transport ;)
See the whole incident in context http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPLYStAuZt0
Update 28 Dec 2012: NZ Herald Welcome to NZ, our roads will drive you insane
Great piece from Toby Manhire:
“Visitors, welcome. On behalf of everyone, apart from the xenophobes, obviously – awkward laugh! – a hearty haere mai. Have a lamington. Don’t mention David Bain.
Probably you’re traversing our happy little country in a motor car. Maybe a campervan. If so – and sorry, cyclists, much like Tamaki Drive this column isn’t wide enough for a proper bike lane – gather around. We’re not, you know, 100 per cent purist when it comes to the rules of the road. Or, maybe it’s better put this way: there is an extra, unpublished chapter in the New Zealand road code, passed down from generation to generation like a beloved heirloom or sixth toe.
To help you gently blend in, here are 10 unspoken rules of the road.”