Editorial: Idiot drivers alert

By Annemarie Quill

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I left my car at home on Christmas Eve. Not because I was partying - I was only going to and from work, but because I read police's crash risk report over the Christmas and New Year holidays which said traditionally, Christmas Eve has the highest crash risk with a peak between midday and 5pm that is attributed to "last-minute" travel.

Having seen the traffic in the Bay, it is no wonder that police are taking a proactive approach to help avoid needless crashes.

It is not volume of traffic that concerns me - although it has visibly increased over the holidays it is nothing compared to the crawling five lanes of traffic I was used to in London.

What worries me about Tauranga's roads is some drivers. Their all year round bad habits seem to escalate at this time of year.

It would be hypocritical of me to criticise driving skills. I am no Lewis Hamilton - people who know me think I am a bit of an over cautious driver.

However it constantly amazes me how many drivers flout rules. One would think that a good deal of cars in Tauranga do not have indicators. Drivers stopping suddenly, driving unbelievably slowly, pulling out right in front of you from an intersection ... are just some of the hazards I have noticed all year round.

As for contributing factors for holiday crashes, the most commonly cited include losing control, travelling too fast for conditions, alcohol, inexperience and fatigue.

Police are rightly cracking down on speeders, with a police speed enforcement campaign penalising drivers caught exceeding the speed limits by more than 4km/h.

They are also out in force to stop drink drivers.

Working over the holidays has made me appreciate even more our dedicated police and emergency service teams, who are sacrificing their own holidays and time with their families to keep the community safe.

It is a pity that much of this valuable time is spent dealing with hazards caused by dumb driving.

The *555 service allows other drivers to alert the police against such drivers. Local police say that as a direct result of public phoning in, they have been able to prevent serious crashes from occurring.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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