Gathan Beaga

on the road

We went to Hawkes Bay for the weekend.

(Taking the opportunity of a long weekend, we failed to realise it was Harvest Hawkes Bay weekend, a kind of big wine festival thing; we just had a nice family time with R.’s grandmother and family. No wine, no restaurants, no adventures. But very restful.)

Anyway, driving there and back made me think how much slower everyone drives these days. Not so long ago, I would drive everywhere at 120 km/h, passing lots of slower cars and in turn being passed by others faster.

A lot of that sort of thing has gone now: traffic seems to go between 100 and 105 km/h pretty steadily, and for some reason there are far fewer of those frustrating 80 km/h Sunday drivers making everyone else slow down then do risky passing manoeuvres. The bell curve of speeds seems to be narrower, clustered more closely around the limit than it used to be.

Some of this is me: I have kids now; I’m older and not in so much of a tearing hurry; I have a car that can cruise at the same speed (almost) regardless of the road; and of course there is the fear of being caught.

But more and more people seem to be content to be in a long line of traffic, so long as it’s travelling on the limit.

Which means that it doesn’t seem to actually take any longer to go places, despite me never getting to 120km/h now (except occasionally when passing) and according to police, and statistics, this should be a safer thing.