SLOW BURN OF FRUSTRATION
IS IT me or are Victorian drivers getting worse every year?
I can’t understand why everyone needs to drive 10 to 15km/h below the official speed limit all the time, and in the fast lane, too.
I am an experienced driver, have had no speeding fines or accidents, and have managed it without being a road pest, being conscious of other drivers and conditions around me. I appreciate it when others need to get ahead of me, even if they need to go over the speed limit.
So can anyone explain the rationale behind these slow-goers’ thinking? Are they trying to change other drivers’ attitudes? Are they not confident enough drivers?
If they looked at the big picture, it is causing worse traffic conditions, a longer drive and more chances of an accident.
I do not condone speedsters or road rage because it’s not civil, but it’s time authorities looked at these offenders too. Paul Misquita
email Fear. That is the reason why people drive so slowly. It’s a result of the speed camera mentality in Victoria, as people have become whipped into submission by fines and threats. The under-the-limit driving behaviour is not the same in other Australian cities or, in my experience, anywhere else in the world. Ed
AFTER three second-hand cars over the past 12 years I am finally ready to buy my first new small car.
I’m looking to spend up to $20,000. Can you recommend a car for me and when to buy? My main priorities are safety, fuel economy, running costs and resale value. Elizabeth Daniel
email The safe choice is always a Toyota, but not the best value despite fixedpriced servicing. You should choose from the new Mazda2 and Honda Jazz, based on your budget and how the cars work for you. Ed
ONLY IN AMERICA
I HAVE just returned from a threeweek holiday in the US where I drove a rental car in four different states. I was amazed at how well-behaved and courteous drivers are in the US, including LA, population 20-plus million. I saw no crashes, tailgating, unnecessary lane-changing or road rage.
On interstate highways, trucks are permitted to use only the slowest two lanes and are restricted to 55mph (88km/h). Cars can use all three lanes with a limit of 75mph (120km/h). You never see three trucks side by side at a set of traffic lights as you do in Melbourne.
On most roads there is a visible police presence to enforce speed limits and monitor tailgating and general driver behaviour, a stark contrast to Victoria’s hidden speedcamera network, which does nothing to target bad drivers.
However, I think the main difference is driver attitude, which is the main factor in safe driving no matter where you are. Andrew Caddy
email There is a theme emerging here. Is it time for sensible, considerate, experienced motorists to make more noise about the situation in Victoria? Let me know. Ed
A MOTOR-SPORT LAMENT
I USED to be a fan of motor racing. I’m talking about 50 years ago when it had great technological diversity.
Engines were V12, V6, V8, straight eight, six-cylinder, flat four and straight fours. Chassis layouts involved suspension by solid axle, swing axles and de Dion layouts. Sports/racing cars could actually be used on the road. Motor magazines actually discussed the technological differences with some enthusiasm.
Now, GP racing is technologically advanced but boring. Sports car (prototype etc) racing shows a small glimmer of hope but gets no coverage.
Supercar racing, with its obsolete pushrod V8s and solid rear axles, is just another ‘‘gee whiz’’ spectacle and has only a vague relationship to what we drive. Only ultra-specialist magazines discuss the technology. J.J. Hilton
email Technology and tight rules have honed things down so much that there usually is only one ‘‘winning’’ package. Sad but true. Ed
Small change: the Mazda2 three-door Neo is a good choice for a new buy.