New rules good for us
It feels like the nation is collectively holding its breath in anticipation of this Sunday when the changes to the give-way rules come into play. Going by some of the media coverage it’s hard to know whether to expect minor confusion or Armageddon.
In the meantime, we have been able to sit back and watch the NZ Transport Agency burn $1.2 million in 10 days advertising the law change – television, radio, online and print advertising, a leaflet door drop to 1.73 million homes. You name it, all bases are being covered. I would go so far as to say anyone who hasn’t grasped the new – and very logical – changes by March 25 probably shouldn’t be on the road to begin with, but I have to confess the status quo has stumped me once or twice, where I’ve found myself at an intersection wondering, ‘‘ Who does what now?’’
And I’m relieved to learn from Porirua Road Safety co-ordinator Mark Kairua I wasn’t the only one who already thought it law that traffic turning from the bottom of a ‘‘T’’ intersection gives way to right-turning traffic from the top of the ‘‘T’’.
Still, I was dumbfounded by the woeful scores of people asked to take the NZTA online quiz by Campbell Live last week. At least until I remembered how many times on my way to and from work each day I strike motorists in Porirua who haven’t seemed to have grasped the concepts of indicating before turning, merging with other traffic or navigating a roundabout.
Perhaps March 25 will be a day of reckoning after all?
I have an optimistic hunch the law change will give New Zealand motorists a much-needed wakeup call, and improve our driving generally.
Most bad driving isn’t caused by motorists being too stupid to know the rules, or recklessly disobeying them.
It comes from us getting complacent and lazy behind the wheel. Experience is a double-edged sword. The more we drive (without incident), the more our awareness is dulled, the more bad habits we adopt. The new rules should sharpen us up, spark motorists to take to the roads with renewed diligence and focus.
Should the predicted boon time for panelbeaters not transpire and the accidents actually reduce, I won’t be surprised. I may even petition the government to keep the changes coming – maybe one every six months – just to keep us honest.