Are you a road-going fatberg? Or how to drive with consideration for others
The world would be a better place without the road-going fatberg. Here’s how to drive with consideration for others.
- The Fatberg does not realise there is a huge stream of traffic behind, and it is therefore an Oblivious Fatberg.
- The Fatberg does realise it is holding up a sports stadium’s worth of people, and is therefore a Dumb Fatberg.
- Safety Fatberg – is a passive-aggressive softcore vigilante who decided that the speed limit is too high, and they are providing a public service by slowing everyone down. “Nobody should be driving that fast, so it’s good that I, Frederick H Fatberg the Second, is here to save the day.”
- Scared Fatberg – would like to pull over, but is genuinely scared to do so for reasons unknown. Maybe they are unable to spot the laybys in enough time because the on-the-limit pace of 40km/h around a bend marked as recommended 60 turns the roadside into a giddy blur. Who knows. I can’t really think of a reason, but let’s assume Scared Fatberg wants to pull over but can’t.
- Late Fatberg – this is true irony right here. Late Fatberg is going as fast as they dare, but won’t pull over because they are worried about losing time on their journey. Or being stuck behind an even slower Fatberg.
- Bloody Minded Fatberg – this one sees everybody behind and takes active pleasure in slowing the whole group up. Bloody Minded Fatbergs are the reasons society in general can’t have nice things. When not cluttering up the highway they can be found online trolling, making pointless and snide remarks with the intent of causing trouble.
- Dragster Fatberg – usually driving cars that accelerate quite nicely, the Dragster Fatberg says simply “the other drivers will get by if they want to” as they crawl around a corner before unleashing the full power of their Aurion for the first quarter of the following straight, then slamming on the anchors as the next corner appears on the distant horizon. Dragster Fatbergs fail to appreciate how dangerous overtaking is, and that passing on typical fatberging roads require cooperation of the car in front.
But the law says I can drive any speed I like!
(1) A driver must not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or a pedestrian.
(2) For this rule, a driver does not unreasonably obstruct the path of another driver or a pedestrian only because:
(a) the driver is stopped in traffic; or
(b) the driver is driving more slowly than other vehicles (unless the driver is driving abnormally slowly in the circumstances).
Example of a driver driving abnormally slowly
A driver driving at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour on a length of road to which a speed-limit of 80 kilometres per hour applies when there is no reason for the driver to drive at that speed on the length of road.
How To Avoid Fatberging
- If there is a layby made for slower vehicles, pull into it. Usually these are signposted in advance, maybe 200-300 metres so you’ve got maybe five minutes to think about pulling over; and
- If there is no layby then wait for a bit of road that is safe to overtake. This would be a straight-ish stretch of road with good visibility. Now you have to indicate left, then slow down, and then pull your car as far off the road as possible. If that means slowing down almost to a crawl, or stopping, then do so.
- Suddenly stop. Indicate first, and only then slowly pull over. A nose-to-tail crash is even worse than fatberging;
- Drive faster than you feel comfortable. You aren’t fatberging if you are a slow driver, you’re only fatberging if you fail to take safe opportunities to let faster cars by; and
- Be pressured into anything uncomfortable. On some roads there are no opportunities to pull over for quite a while as the roads are so narrow and tight there’s no chance to overtake. So just keep going at the speed you feel comfortable with, and people will understand. It’s when you start to miss chances to let others by that you start fatberging.
If you drive a car that is easily capable of keeping up with average traffic speed and yet you don’t feel comfortable driving it at that speed then you should seriously consider post-license driver training.
How to deal with a fatberg
- Be patient. There’s not much else you can do;
- Pass when given the chance, and pass quickly. It is only courteous, the car in front has gone out of their way for you;
- Think about stopping if you were planning to soon anyway;
- Let others cars through. Sounds odd, but a few times I have been directly behind a fatberg but unable to overtake as my car was too slow. So I let the more powerful third car pass me, and that then car was able to pass the fatberg who then woke up and followed the example, letting everyone else past; and
- Try UHF radio if it’s one of those caravans with UHF17 stickers on the back. But do be nice…
- Hassle the fatberg by tailgating, flashing lights, horns. Chances are you’ll make the situation worse, or get them to speed up and then make an error…potentially fatal. How would you like that on your conscience? Oh, and that behaviour isn’t legal either;
- Take risks. It is just not worth it. Overtaking accidents are deadly;
- Assume you know what’s happening. In the same way that the fatberg knows nothing about you and your situation, you know nothing about them, their car, or why they are driving slowly;
- Stop just after you are let by. Do any stopping before you pass; and
- Forget to come back here and write a comment!