From drivers who forget to use their indicators to those who speed up at passing lanes, Bay of Plenty road users have shared their pet peeves about behaviour on the region’s roads.
However, potholes rather than driving habits were the main concern for the majority of the dozen people who took part in the unscientific survey on The Strand in Mount Maunganui about specific driving habits.
One woman complained people couldn’t park, while another complained about people who drove under the speed limit before speeding up at passing lanes.
A couple of men who recently moved to Tauranga from Auckland said the driving here was much better but took aim at traffic congestion.
While drivers being distracted by their mobile phones was a concern of a crane driver.
“I see it all the time, stupid people using their phones in traffic. It’s like they want to kill themselves or something.”
According to survey results of AA members, the greatest driving annoyances from 2013 to 2020 were red light running, followed by tail-gating, drivers in the slow lane speeding up at passing lanes, and drivers using a cellphone.
Brake director Caroline Perry said drivers nationwide picked up “various bad habits” but many may not realise.
“There are other distractions which drivers may not see as a bad habit but can also put you at risk on the road, such as changing your GPS whilst driving, or eating or drinking at the wheel.”
There were other bad habits drivers might pick up that could be frustrating to others and could still result in a crash, Perry said.
“For example, not indicating at roundabouts and junctions, tailgating, not stopping properly at a stop sign, or failing to give enough space to other road users, particularly those who are more vulnerable like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.”
Taking a hand off the wheel to use a mobile phone and looking at it instead of the road to dial or text was dangerous, as was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding, and not wearing a seatbelt, she said.
Bay of Plenty acting district road policing manager Fane Troy said some of the worst habits were being discourteous on the roads, merging was “always an issue”, and drivers speeding through road work areas.
“We need to look out for [road workers]; travelling through a site with loose chip on it at 50km/h to 60km/h is throwing a whole bunch of metal up as projectiles at these people trying to get our roads up to a good standard.”
Troy said officers often got “bad press” for doing their jobs.
“Our people are out there trying to keep everyone safe because we don’t want to tell people that someone’s been killed or seriously injured in a crash when it can be completely avoidable if the public takes some responsibility.”
Tauranga cyclist Kahn Day, an alternative transport advocate, has been involved in a handful of scrapes with motorists.
Twice a driver has gone past Day while he was riding along before turning left into him, and once on Devonport Rd a motorist shot through a red light and nearly took him out. Day said he luckily avoided injury.
In Day’s experience, both cyclists and motorists alike needed to be more aware of each other.
“Some cyclists like to think they’re above traffic signals and sort of get a sense of entitlement.
“But my biggest pet peeve is red light runners. I think there are a lot of motorists driving through so they don’t have to wait for three minutes while the lights go through to the next phase.”
There were no red light cameras in the Bay of Plenty but road policing data showed there had been 109 officer-issued red light infringements between January and March and 1590 nationwide.
Police had also issued 1087 mobile phone infringements in the Bay of Plenty district between January and March compared to 220 for the same period in 2022.
There were also 1463 seatbelt offences in the first three months of the year compared to 411 for the same period in 2022 locally.
Keen Rotorua cyclist Dave Donaldson’s pet peeve was people who threw glass bottles onto roads and paths that caused punctures.
“It’s frustrating and potentially dangerous.”
Donaldson, a former Rotorua deputy mayor, takes long rides out towards Tauranga.
He said “the worst bit” was around Okere Falls and having drivers following and overtaking too closely was “intimidating”.
“The majority of drivers are great, they’ll give you plenty of space and give you a wide berth; The general rule is you give a cyclist 1.5 metres.”
Donaldson wanted people using shared paths to stop listening to music so they could hear others around them.
“Nothing frustrates me more than ringing my little bell on my handlebars to people walking along but they’ve got earbuds and they don’t hear you coming and, once you’re right beside them, they get a heck of a shock.”
Cycle Action Tauranga spokesman Andrew Thorpe said cyclists were often tooted at by drivers for claiming the lane, an act undertaken to avoid hazards and prevent unsafe passing.
“Most drivers are bloody good and the things that do frustrate or scare cyclists are from a minority of people.
“We can’t ignore the bad behaviour of cyclists either ... We’ve got to acknowledge cyclists are far from perfect.
“At the end of the day, it’s about having a bit of compassion, a bit of empathy and trying to see things from the other person’s point of view and acknowledging everyone makes mistakes sometimes and when they do, take a deep breath and try not to let it happen again.”
Luke Kirkness is an assistant news director for the Bay of Plenty Times and Rotorua Daily Post covering general news. He previously worked at the NZ Herald for three years, mainly as a consumer affairs reporter. He won Student Journalist of the Year in 2019 at the Voyager Media Awards.