Canuck notes #2: road fright

Now here’s the thing.

In Australia, speeding on the roads is something you do only if you are:

a) so bloody rich and influential you can talk or buy your way out of a ticket; or

b) stupid.

Reason being, we have automated speed cameras all over the place as well as red light cameras and random police radars. Just 3km/hr over the limit and you are toast, my friend.

Of course on our Canada trip, being good Australian drivers, Ms Canada (a 30 year expat) and I set our cruise control to 100km/hr and sat back smug in the conviction that we were immune to the dreaded speeding ticket. But, as it turns out, not immune to the ire of the average Canadian driver, who considers a speed limit a suggestion rather than an edict.

In 2500km of driving we spotted only two police cars and one speed radar (between Banff and Lake Louise). We spent most of our driving time as the target of dirty looks as the native Canadians passed us with a minimum delta-V of 20km/hr.

We also spent a few days with Ms Canadas’ sister and brother-in-law who is 75 and pretty much blind in one eye. He considers 140km/hr the appropriate speed in a 100km/hr zone, and being overtaken as a personal affront. When confronted with an 80km/hr speed limit, he grudgingly slows to 120. He is a conservative Canadian driver.

I wonder if he will ever discover the deep indentations in his arm-rests made by my clutching fingers.

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3 Responses to “Canuck notes #2: road fright”


  1. 1 John Halbrook May 13, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    It is true. Coast to coast, Canadian drivers get away with speeds even the Yanks can’t manage. It is a good thing there aren’t more of them.

  2. 2 microsoar May 13, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    IMHO, the only reason there aren’t more accidents is that *everybody* speeds, so there’s no delta-V. Ms Canada and I were probably an accident waiting to happen…..

    But Canadian drivers, conversely, are oh-so-polite. People would stop and patiently wait to let us cross the road if we were waiting at the kerb. On highways, with no pedestrian crossings. Go figure.

  3. 3 Dean May 14, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    I can’t explain it, but I have only driven in Canada and the US. In New Hampshire, for example, I was one of the slow ones at only 10 mph over the limit. In Washington State, south of us, I don’t have to alter my driving habits, although I do to avoid an out-of-state fine.

    Average speed has gotten higher over the years. I think this has to do with better cars, mostly. The car I had when I was younger wouldn’t go 130 if you dropped it off a cliff. Modern cars are much faster and safer than cars from twenty years ago.


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