Before I get into the guts of what I really want to chat about - New Zealanders can't drive, full stop - I want to get something off my chest.
In an earlier missive I suggested women should not be allowed to drive 4x4 vehicles on public roads, I was at pains to state that I didn't want them banned from the roads completely but I'm beginning to change my mind.
Just this morning at a major junction I was behind two cars - both driven by women - wanting to turn right.
The lights went green and nothing moved. Opposite us were cars wanting to turn left but were waiting for the women to go right, which they didn't. Within seconds the intersection ground to a halt and some drivers started to take risks.
After a number of us leaned on our respective horns long enough, the first women staggered and lurched right across the intersection. I expected the other woman in front of me to follow as we had the right of way but oh no - she sat there with her indicator blinking.
I nearly rear-ended her as again more chaos ensued. Finally she too made it across. Can someone explain to me how you get a licence to drive when you don't understand one of the basic road rules?
It is with some restraint I'm not going to tar every women driver with the same brush. However, over the next six weeks I'm going to conduct a survey and want you readers to help as well. I travel up and down the northern motorway at least twice a day all week, so I am going to log every bad piece of driving I see, the sex of the driver and what happened.
If anyone else would like do the same, please do and email your results to me here
just so I know it's not just the northern motorway which is home to the hopeless and inept behind the wheel.
Ladies, please get involved also as you never know, you might not be as bad as I think you are and it's the blokes who come out on top as the worst.
What I will do is tar the entire New Zealand population as bad drivers. I include a lot of police drivers in this as well, as their track record isn't much chop either. U-turns on a blind crest just doesn't cut the mustard as far as I'm concerned.
What about me you ask. As I have mentioned in the past, I have undertaken a number of defensive driving courses to try and improve my skill base - have you? And defensive is the right word. What I learned on these courses has allowed me to avoid some numpty doing something idiotic at speed, in a tonne of metal, on the roads time and time again.
I noticed in the broadsheet yesterday a story about how the police had taken pictures of drivers crossing the centre line. I take it all 54 drivers received infringement notices for breaking the law?
If not, why not - would it not have been better to pull them all over and give them a ticket rather than take pictures?
The Grim Reaper will be rubbing his hands in anticipation of yet another bumper haul of deaths on our roads this holiday weekend - especially with a possibility of wet roads thrown into the mix.
Some, I would dare say, will not have been wearing their seat belts, which is tantamount to lunacy these days considering the number of appalling drivers on New Zealand roads.
I have said numerous times before, and I'll say it again - it's the abjectly poor standard of driver skills that are killing people on New Zealand roads, not speed. Note above the number of drivers who crossed the median line in five hours.
Our roads are the equivalent of blacktop goat tracks compared to most of the developed world yet there's no system in place to train young, old, new or immigrant drivers how to deal with our particular conditions.
Small-minded people, who still think in a small-minded manner, are building small roads that cause major traffic jams and inspire impatience, which results in frustration, culminating in rash decision making, and on occasion, the odd death.
I've banged the drum about the crap standard of driving in New Zealand, and as far as I can see, it's getting worse by the year. If government agencies, local and regional councils, council officials and even mayors, want to reduce the number of deaths on the road, teach people to drive, not make cars safer or reduce the speed limit.
There are times I think to get into government you have to have an IQ below 100. Reducing the speed limit won't stop people who speed; they'll break the limit whatever it is. How hard is it to work that one out?
Cars don't have accidents - people do - so stop worrying about changing road rules. Make it so hard to get a licence that'll it'll put most people off. Make the written test at least an hour long and no multi-guess. Make the driving test an hour long and as hard as physically possible and any mistake means a fail.
Put a cap on the horsepower a learner driver can be in control of. And after 18 months of an accident-free and ticket-free run, let them apply for a provisional that will be for another 18 months before they can get a full licence and again, just one ticket knocks them right back to very beginning.
I'll bet my house that'll keep the idiots off the road.By Eric Thompson