Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L. (emo_snal) wrote,
Echidna Media Organization project S.N.A.L.

02 of 30 - Driving in Australia vs California, a Comparative Analysis

   I have found driving in Australia to be fundamentally somewhat different from driving in California. Beyond the obvious driving on the left side of the road thing.

   In California, on highways with two or more lanes in each direction, such as The Five (California's main North-South artery) for most of its length, on paper the fast (left) lane is for passing only. I hear in other states they actually enforce this and people abide it and I assume all aspects of life are therefore better in these states and people wake up with a smile plastered to their face every day as a consequence. However, that is not the case in California. In California people get in the "fast" lane and sit there. Even if they are going the speed limit or even less. They expect slower moving cars in front of them to move to the slow lane to let them by and generally enforce this by tailgating, honking, light flashing, and/or generally being obnoxious and probably swearing a lot in the confines of their own car for the assumed benefit of their target. Long queus of cars form in the fast lane when someone won't move over, possibly because said front car driver is saying to himself "well I'm going the speed limit gosh dang it so I'm not getting out of the way."
   And that's another thing. The speed limit. Even on paper the speed limit is basically a suggestion, though I don't think they explicitly say you can go faster. Generally on the 5 the flow of traffic is around 80mph even when the speed limit is 65. But because everyone has a different interpretation of how much leeway they have, you are always passing and being passed.

   Now in contrast, in Australia the speed limit seems to be almost always 100kph, aka 62mph in the One True System. This speed seems a bit slow on the highways, and crazy fast on the narrow two lane farm roads winding through the gum forest. And on those narrow farm roads people generally DO go zipping around at 62mph, which frankly terrifies me. But on the major highways... people STILL go exactly 100kph. You see, the thing is, in Australia they apparently enforce a strict interpretation of their speed limits. I've heard of people getting ticketed for going 102. So everyone gets on the road, and get up to exactly 100 and sits there right on it. As a result, you aren't passed nor do you pass anyone else generally once you get going, the cars just move along the highway in line like they're on a conveyor belt.

   And generally everyone does stay in the slow lane util they're passing, but I found another thing happening. I am often turning on to the highway from small farm roads, so I need to quickly accelerate to 100 as cars are zipping by. So as not to impede everyone else, I found myself moving immediately to the fast lane (which I started doing after seeing other people doing it), until I get to 100 and THEN I move into the slow lane and move along with everyone else. I think other people do this too. Weird how the de facto use of lanes doesn't stay as intended.

Tags: 30 in 30, 30 in 30 2016, automobile travel, driving
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