This week on Newstalk ZB, I became the poster boy for the drivers in New Zealand who don't keep left.
I was talking with Hamish Piercy, a motor vehicle crash investigator. We were discussing how on earth two drivers could crash because both refused to merge like a zip. I casually remarked about being overtaken on an inside motorway lane when I was doing 100 km/h.
Well, that caused the text lines to meltdown because, apparently, the biggest idiot was me.
"You should keep left, you plonker."
"It's idiots like you hogging the outside lanes that causes people to undertake."
"You are an arrogant driver, keep left unless you're overtaking."
Unfortunately, as I later explained, I was overtaking and I was going as fast as you are legally allowed to go on a New Zealand road.
I was part of a queue of cars travelling at 100km/h slowly overtaking another queue of cars travelling at 95km/h. I was leaving a two-second gap. A car screamed level with me and then made a dart for the space that I had left from the car in front because I was following the two-second rule.
It was a dangerous manoeuvre, with his back corner missing my front corner by a metre or two and it caused me to brake to avoid him.
As I also pointed out, since I was going the maximum allowed legal speed then nobody should be overtaking me because they are not allowed to go any faster.
That caused another explosion of anger from the text machine, where the kindest comment was that I was a pedant.
Here are my conclusions:
New Zealanders have no respect for the speeding laws. If you're in the fast lane going 100km/h you're still not going fast enough.
New Zealanders somehow believe that everything is the other car's fault. Dangerous manoeuvres are forced on drivers because people are too slow.
New Zealanders feel that everyone else should keep left so that they can freely overtake and speed at will.
My interview was about how bad New Zealanders are at driving. Hamish Piercy believes too much attention goes on speeding and drinking. He believes we need more education on things like keeping left and knowing how to merge.
I don't disagree with him but the cavalier attitude we have towards something as basic as speeding and sensible driving means dream on getting agreement on lanes and merging.