Thursday, June 3, 2010

Driving On The Other Side Down Under

We've now logged a couple of thousand miles over the past few years driving in Australia and New Zealand. With that modest experience, we'd encourage anybody from "Up Over" not to hesitate in hiring a car "Down Under."

The drivers are civilized and there is not the degree of tailgating or any other kind of reckless driving that can be found elsewhere. Australians and New Zealanders both adhere strictly to the posted speed limits, always aware of the presence of speed cameras and radar. The police apparently tolerate as little as a maximum of three kph over the posted speed limit and radar detectors are illegal, pretty well taking all of the sport out of it.

That probably explains why our Australian Ford Falcon, set up as something of a high-performance car with lots of zip, has an "overspeed indicator" that can be set warn you if you go above whatever speed you've set. Traffic tickets are expensive here, and even overspeed indicators may not protect you from faulty speed cameras.

We continue to be careful in intersections. Roundabouts have been civilized, although something of a nuisance during a rush-hour type of situation. Fortunately we've generally avoided the busy times.

We drop the car off today - we're only about a two-hour drive from Melbourne - and utilize Melbourne's terrific public transit system to travel around for the next few days.

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