Matt Greenop: Raging against traffic

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Auckland City commuters in gridlock, view along Albert Street, Auckland CBD 7th March. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Auckland City commuters in gridlock, view along Albert Street, Auckland CBD 7th March. Photo / Brett Phibbs

I found myself in the horrific position of having to drive across Auckland while we were putting the final touches on this weekend's Driven. As anyone who has to tackle the maze of idiots, accidents, road works, cyclists (calm down) and slow-moving pedestrians regularly will tell you, this is not fun. When you're in a hurry, it's absolute torture.

While waiting for three light phases an emo in a rustbucket ignored the sound of my horn, as well as several others, to ensure that she had her Facebook status just right. Fine, I can understand the needs of the cool kids to get just the right combo of depressive whinging and abject narcissism for their Facebook friends to cackle over, but please don't do it on the road.

I thought phones were illegal when driving now, anyway.

I must have missed something.

But Happy Emo Doris wasn't the worst impediment to my urban adventure - it was little old ladies driving along at 35 to 40km/h, grasping the steering wheel like they're on the final stage of the Dakar Rally, that I found the most annoying.

I know it's a bit of a generalisation, and I apologise to those grannies who fit in with the flow of traffic and drive like they should. It's funny, we spend a lot of time and resource chasing people for driving too fast, but what about the amount of aggravation caused as people made severe lane changes to avoid having to spend another ten seconds travelling at the speed of dark behind these wholly inconsiderate drivers? In Auckland, where the 50km/h signs are generally treated as a guideline rather than a real rule, driving at 35km/h does make you feel like you're going backwards. One nice gent of, let's say, lawn bowls and sherry age, did actually go backwards, but in a stream of unabashed courtesy - a much-missed relic of a bygone era - was careful to ensure everyone understood his apologetic hand signals.

Who do you think causes the most trouble on the roads, speeders or those who insist on dawdling along city streets while traffic builds up behind them? Obviously Doris' Facebook-updating, light and horn-ignoring ways are worse, but there is (theoretically) a law against that.

- NZ Herald

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