Herald Sun - Motoring - - Special Report -


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


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


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.

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