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13 March, 2007

Driving in Queensland - Part 2

Yesterday, I explained how the Rules of the Road for driving in Brisbane were not quite as the Queensland Government tells it. After years of observation, I have pieced together the real rules for driving in this lovely city. I have already covered the topics of lane discipline and signalling. Today, I conclude with a discussion on Positioning your vehicle on the road.

Positioning

Coming up to a junction, you might be tempted to position yourself to the right if you are turning right and to the left if you are turning left. In Brisbane exactly the opposite is the rule. As you approach a junction, keep your speed up, keep your eyes away from your mirrors, then, at the last moment, brake hard, swing your vehicle in the opposite direction to the one in which you intend to go (ensuring that at least two wheels cross any white lines on that side), then swing back hard and make your turn. Don’t forget to flick your indicator as you go round the corner.
Even if you have to stop, at a T junction for instance, be sure to position yourself on the left if you are turning right, and on the right if you are turning left. This will make it easier to turn the corner sharply, cutting across any white lines you may need to cross. (Remember: do not signal until you start moving.)

Because of the mandatory lane-changing rules, positioning on ordinary roads and motorways has very little relevance for Brisbane drivers. The important rule of thumb seems to be that, if you have a turning coming up, it is better to swerve suddenly across three busy lanes of traffic when you get there, than to position yourself in the correct lane well ahead of the turn. This way you do not risk staying in one lane too long and maximise the number of white lines you cross.
A corollary to this rule is that if you see a ‘left lane must turn’ sign but you wish to go straight ahead or turn right, you must enter the left lane, drive as fast as you can and then swing back into the lane to your right at the very last minute. Flicking your indicator as you re-enter the traffic is not mandatory as other drivers are obliged to brake or swerve to avoid you anyway.

Concluding Remarks

Once you get the basics down, the rest is really quite easy. The fuss that other states and countries make over road markings and signage is really quite foreign to the Brisbane driver and almost everything can be safely ignored. In fact, ignoring things is at the heart of the Brisbane driving regime. If I have learned one thing from these years of patient observation, it is this. The golden rule is to behave as if you are the only person on the road. Forget about all those other road users. Just put them right out of your mind.

Remember, Queensland is the Smart State, so they’re bound to have a great hospital system if things go wrong. Right?

1 comment:

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