Elderly blamed for slow driving

The issue of slow drivers in Mosgiel, highlighted in the Otago Daily Times this week, prompted some residents to blame elderly drivers.

Sergeant Kevin Davidson, of Mosgiel, said the ODT story ''struck a sweet spot'' with the public, who praised police for ticketing a slow motorist.

But the people commenting on Mosgiel motorists needed ''balance'', he said, because driving 30kmh among heavier traffic and pedestrians in Gordon Rd was more acceptable than areas such as Factory Rd.

On the ODT Facebook page, Kim Robson said older motorists drove her ''nuts''.

''Most of us don't have all day to follow people going under the speed limit.''

Jackie Hyslop said ''oldies' slow lanes'' could be more beneficial than cycle lanes.

Emma Moore wanted faster manoeuvres at Mosgiel intersections.

''The worst thing I've noticed in Mosgiel is how long it takes some people to get around a ... corner. Gaaaah.''

Nicole Whyte said she regularly had near misses in Mosgiel.

''I almost get hit a minimum of two times by elderly who just pull out without even looking.''

Carla Thomas said she was annoyed how Mosgiel motorists treated every day of the week as a Sunday.

Kim McKeay said she wrongly gave elderly people the benefit of the doubt when she followed a motorist travelling at 25kmh.

''I'm always curious to see whether it's an elderly person driving, and when I can see, it usually is.''

Emilee Bartlett said she avoided driving in central Mosgiel during the day, ''as every time I drive through I can guarantee that an old person will pull out in front of me or drive 10kmh down the road''.

Paul Crabbe was one of the few to defend older motorists yesterday.

''The problem stems not from age but from lack of education and testing.''

Motorists needed to be regularly tested to be deemed fit to drive and not wait until they were senior citizens to be retested, he said.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz


@Blackbird": "Intersections: When traffic is heavy at peak times timid drivers don't take small gaps in traffic."

Could part of the problem here be people insisting on driving nose-to-tail? It shouldn't have to be a "do or die" effort to jump into a small gap.

Leaving a decent gap to the car in front makes everybody's life easier and safer.
I do concede though that people faffing about on the road also does my head in too...

Who taught them to be timid?

Blackbird is very likely correct about slow drivers being timid e.g. "Intersections: When traffic is heavy at peak times timid drivers don't take small gaps in traffic." Those slow drivers who are elderly have probably been on the roads so long they have had many opportunities to observe other drivers doing weird things like appearing "out of nowhere" as they speed past others at intersections, and every variety of quick, confident, bulletproof driving that can be imagined. After a while a person's confidence that others on the road are not potentially lethal ning-nongs fades. Result, over-caution: becoming timid in Blackbird's terminology.

Timid drivers

Part of the problem is that slow drivers are often very timid. Some of them are clearly terrified of driving and too scared to do anything. This leads to drivers who seem to have a personal rule that they never put their foot down more than 10% on their car's accelerator, which leads to a number of problems. Some of them are:

Intersections: When traffic is heavy at peak times timid drivers don't take small gaps in traffic. They want the sort of gap you might get at 2 in the morning. They can wait a long time for a gap of that size in peak traffic times and this leads to a very long line of waiting drivers stuck behind them.

Merging Lanes: These 10% power drivers need a very long time to get up to motorway speeds. When the merging lane ends, they will be doing about 70 km/hour and trying to merge into 100 km/hour traffic. So will anybody stuck behind them.

Traffic Lights: We could get so many more cars through traffic lights when they are green if it wasn't for these "never put their foot down" type drivers. If there is one or more of this sort in a line of traffic at the lights, then traffic will continue to build up as hardly anybody gets through that light while it's green.

Corners: Timid drivers are clearly left in a state of permanent terror after the winter months when there actually might be ice on the road and going around a corner slowly is a good idea. This means they drive like there is ice on the roads all year round. They turn around corners at walking pace.

They aren't always elderly drivers, but that is often the case. Dunedin just has an army of this sort of driver holding up everybody! [abridged]

But middle aged are perfect

Old people drive too slowly, conscious of the importance that's constantly drummed into us about not driving too fast for circumstances and ability.

Young people drive too fast, confident whether realistic or not about their driving skills in all conditions. Anyway at that age they're bulletproof, it's a well known fact (though statistics may say something different).

Aren't we lucky there are so many middle-aged perfect drivers!

So sad they have to slow down for the cautious ones who are possibly under-confident about their ability, and hope the overconfident young heroes are on another stretch of road at the time.

NZ needs more perfect people who never make mistakes and cause inconvenience to others.

Slow drivers

Did you notice that those commenting negatively on the slow drivers were all female ?  Generally speaking, my experience tells me that younger women drive far too fast in 50kmh zones, so perhaps the article should be leaning more towards that "problem" than towards the elderly. One day, though, these younger women will be older women and someone will be complaining about their slow driving.  Drive to the conditions, folks...

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