This week’s been a bit of a different week for me. I’m currently in Whangarei, waaaay up north where there’s banana trees and millions of mangroves, and also millions of speedbumps. It also means I’ve travelled 600 kilometres to get here (and done much more driving over the past few days besides). This is the furthest I’ve ever driven on my own, so it might not seem like much to some, but it’s kind of a big deal to me. Anyway, the point is, I reckon this is a good time to give a few tips to any other drivers out there, for a couple of reasons:
- I’ve done a lot of driving over the past few days, and
- I’m in Whangarei having a holiday and really can’t be bothered writing a post that requires a lot of time/effort/research/etc.
Thus I present to you Beth’s driving school, feat. some of the dos and don’ts of driving on New Zealand roads. These tips will be especially applicable for road trips and long-distance driving, but many are also totally applicable for when you’re just popping to the supermarket in your pjs because you live in Hastings and have no sense of class.
- Make yourself a sexy mixtape or playlist for the road. On a long trip you’re gonna go out of signal, and the last thing you’re gonna want to do is piss around trying to find the frequency of your favourite station in every new region you drive through. Also, let me tell you, Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” is the best song to blast as you come screaming down the motorways into Auckland City and you’ve no idea what the fuck you’re doing.
- Bring some snacks. Again, if you’re feeling peckish on your drive, you’re not going to want to piss around finding something to snack on. Some muesli bars in your bag are going to be your best friend.
- If you’re feeling sleepy, pull the fuck over and take a nap. I speak from personal experience here. It’s so important not to continue driving if you feel like you’re about to nod off. Find a service stop, pull over and take a half-hour sleep. Then find yourself an energy drink and carry on.
- Keep calm and carry on. Unfamiliar roads are not the time to get cocky; if you don’t know the road, stick to the rules and the road sign directions. Unless someone’s life is in danger, there’s no cause to rush. Better to turn up late than not at all, right?
- If you’re not sure where you’re going, Google Maps voice navigation on your phone will be your best friend. Use it.
- Related to the previous point: invest in an in-car phone charger. Such an incredible little piece of technology that made my trip so much easier.
- Be a cunt.
- Overtake using the passing lane intended for cars driving on the other side of the road. OH MY FUCKING GOD. I witnessed this more than once, and let me tell you, it’s a bloody good thing I keep my wits about me when I’m behind the wheel.
- Tailgate. Even if the person in front of you is driving infuriatingly slow (and believe me, I know that feel), there’s no cause to get right up their ass. Keep your distance until you get a safe opportunity to overtake them.
- Drive too slow. Having made my previous point, there’s nothing worse than being stuck behind someone who’s dawdling, or driving erratically. Beyond being annoying, it’s also incredibly unsafe. Just do the speed limit (or an appropriate speed, if the particular road demands cautious driving).
- Be that asshole that drives really slowly and then speeds up when you’re trying to overtake them.
- Be that asshole that overtakes you at the first opportunity and then slows down. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
- Neglect your indicators. I shouldn’t even need to explain this one.
- Refuse to let someone merge into your lane (see first point on this list re: not being a cunt).
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of Beth’s Driving School. I’m so proud of you for graduating; may you take the knowledge and skills you’ve learned here wherever you go for the rest of your life, et cetera.
In all seriousness, I do see a lot of stupid driving on the roads, even when I’m just driving about town. If we all made a bit more effort to be considerate and careful when we’re driving, the world would genuinely be a much better place. So whenever you get behind the wheel, just remember that the safety of you and the other drivers you share the road with is far more important than any petty gripes you have with the person who’s driving slightly too slow for your tastes. Be safe.
That’s just about it for this blog post. I’d like to leave you with a few pictures from my time in Whangarei so far. I hope you’ve had a wonderful week, and I’ll have another post for you next Sunday!