Going All ‘Clarkson’

Yesterday, Tuesday 19th May, there was a discussion on the radio where an interviewee (Nicky Pellegrino) commented on some unsavoury aspects of NZ drivers.  As background there have been a couple of incidents reported where NZ drivers have got tourists to pull over and then confiscated their car keys for dangerous driving, road rage or hero it’s hard to know without being there.

She had taken to looking at just who is it that is driving in an inconsiderate and obnoxious manner and tagged them as ‘Clarksons’.  Her conclusion: middle-aged men probably locals!  It’s true to some degree although there are probably not that many kiwis living outside Auckland and Wellington that have patience with slow traffic, I haven’t noticed a gender difference and some of the worst around here are youngsters.  Here’s the audio link: http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201754989


Don’t want to be involved in or cause this kind of attention at a mishap just south of Charleston.

Anyway it made me think that perhaps we should have a Clarkson Score by which to rate our own driving, bit of a check on how others might perceive the way we are driving.

Here’s some things that might be suitable for such a score:

  1. tailgating
  2. passing without good visibility
  3. completing a passing manoeuvre as though the car ends at the drivers seat* and following distances are irrelevant** (*several times in the N. Is. we’ve had to brake to avoid collision with a car overtaking us;  **Sick and tired of being peppered with stones from cars that cut in front)
  4. not using indicators (by law should be a minimum of 3 seconds before slowing down for a turn or starting to change lanes)
  5. not letting joining traffic merge
  6. obstructing cars from changing lanes in front
  7. driving slowly and hugging the centre line
  8. driving slowly (except on passing lanes where they drive fast)
  9. sloppy parking (using 2 parks, obstructing roadway, on blind corners etc.)
  10. running traffic lights

You might have other things that come to mind add them in and adjust the scale.

If each was scored out of 4: never-0, occasionally-1, often-2, mostly-3.  that would make a potential score of 3o at which point you’re a right prat, 10 – 20 need to have a hard think, 5-10 room for improvement, <5 it is human to err!

Then there is 2 ways to look at this, was it intentional? for me that’s a grand score of 3.  The other way is, have I done this in the past year even if unintentional? now it’s a 7.

My experience for the most part has been that except for some hesitance and slow driving, tourists are impeccable in their application of road rules and courtesy to other drivers, sure some occasionally forget that the rules are different here and that can be fatal, for them and others, but for the most part it’s the home-grown drivers that are the worst.

So what do you think?

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