Thursday, August 06, 2009

Retarded Road Markings In Melbourne

Not everything has been rosy since moving here. I've never really liked driving. I used to get completely stressed out whenever I had to drive into San Francisco. And when I moved back to Manila, I had ulcer attacks whenever I had to drive to work. So you can imagine the stress level I was in when I had to finally start driving here.

When we used to come here just for holidays, it was always Hubby that drove. It freaked me out that the roads here were opposite to what I was accustomed to. Even though roads in Hong Kong were the same as here, we didn't own a car, so I never had to drive.

The day we bought our car was a day of joy and complete fear. When I finally placed myself behind the wheel of the car all I could do was to calm myself by chanting "stay on the left side of the road, stay on the left side of the road." And so I stayed on the left side of the road, got a bit more comfortable and just ignored any honks that were aimed at my driving. I thought I was on the road to driving greatness, until I almost crashed into a taxi one day. It was then that I saw just how retarded the road markings in Melbourne are!

Pardon my juvenile attempts at computer graphics or whatever you call it. I tried to make the cars look as realistic as possible, but all I could do were these barrels with boobs. So, I present to you the alleged retarded road marking:

Imagine you're the green car, hurtling down the freeway, brain numb with the kids song CD you have heard for the 37th time that day. You're in the outer most lane because you are going to turn left or exit soon. All of a sudden, your lane disappears! You see this new lane appearing out of nowhere! What do you do? If you're used to driving in the States, you merge to your right naturally. But how do you merge into the next lane, at break neck speed and no time to check the lane you're merging into?? There are no warning signs, no arrows on the road, nothing! But no worries, because as it turns out, you're not suppose to do that anyway! What you do is just ignore this lane that magically appeared and drive into it.

It was this kind of lane marking that almost done me in that night. Good thing I wasn't driving too fast and the taxi driver in the next lane blasted his horn just in time. Hubby gave me a hard time about it, but come on! What kind of retarded road making is that? It doesn't make sense!

I can go on with a few other examples, but I think I've spent too much time on illustrating roads. Is there a program that does that?

So anyway, the other thing I am also baffled about is the funky right turn system they've got in the city. I'm still undecided whether I think it makes sense or not. Had I not seen it being done while NOT at the wheel, I would have had no idea what the sign meant when it says to turn right from the left lane! Here is what it looks like:

So the red cars are stopped because it is a red light for them. The white cars are crossing the intersection. The blue cars however need to turn right. So instead of getting into the inner lane, they go to the left, in front of the stopped cars waiting for their turn to go and wait for the yellow light or when the cars in their own lane have stopped coming. All I can say is I pity the tourists who have to drive their rental cars around Melbourne!

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