Top 10 Road Rules We Break: Indicating Left Coming Off

In today’s Sunday Times (August 1st, 2010, page 28 of the metropolitan late edition) there is a table of the top road rules that drivers in Western Australia (WA) break all the time. It is not totally clear from reading the article where this list of the top road rules that we break came from but I think it is the WA Office of Road Safety.

[[Note: All my readers from the USA (I think there could be one) should keep in mind as they read the following that it is written for Australian roads]]

I won’t reproduce the complete list, but the Top 6 are:

  1. Running an orange light when there was ample time to stop.
  2. Not indicating off (left) when about to exit a roundabout.
  3. Crossing an unbroken white line.
  4. Doing a U-turn at traffic lights.
  5. Staying in the right lane on a dual-carriageway when not overtaking or preparing to make a right hand turn.
  6. Exceeding the speed limit when overtaking.

Each of these is a traffic offence carrying a fine and in some cases demerit points.

No.2 Not indicating off when about to exit a roundabout

Number 2—not indicating off when about to exit a roundabout—is one that really causes the stress tick under my right eye to start up. On occasion my bottom lip has even started to quiver. So many drivers uselessly indicate right entering into to a roundabout; which is not actually required by law. You cannot get fined for not indicating as you go on to a roundabout. As a courtesy you may elect to indicate going on to a roundabout, and sadly the Learning to Drive guide actually suggests that you do, although it is obviously totally pointless to do so because what else are you going to do? Put your car in reverse and not enter the roundabout? I don’t think so!

But not indicating where you intend to exit a roundabout is a bookable traffic offence and does carry a fine—not that I have ever heard of, or seen, someone get booked for this.

Even worse, you get drivers who numbly indicate right as they drive into the roundabout, and then don’t even bother to cancel that indication as the come off. So even as the are turning to exit left off the roundabout their right indicator is still ticking away indicating they intend to keep going around the roundabout.

Not stopping at a STOP sign should be in the Top 6

I cannot believe that ‘not stopping at a STOP sign’ did not make the Top 6.

I do more than the average amount of driving. I have done 20,000 kilometres so far this year. By the end of the year I will have done over 30,000 kilometres. This is twice the 15,000 kilometres per year average for WA. And this is one of my low-mileage years.

It is my observation that maybe about 5% of drivers stop at STOP signs. This would mean that one out of every 20 cars can be expected to come to a complete stop at a STOP sign.

Actually, the more I think about it the more I think 5% might be high.

I recall reading many years ago, probably about ten years ago, that drivers of automatic transmission cars are three times more likely to stop at a STOP sign than drivers of manual transmission cars. This being the case then one could deduce that there are not very many automatic transmission cars in Perth!

I should note that ‘not stopping at a STOP sign’ did make the overall list—it came in at 15.