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Frustrating driving situations

There are a lot of places around town where many drivers ignore road rules in order to save a few precious seconds. For those that do stick to the rules, it can often be a source of frustration and road rage when seeing others “get away with it”. Invariably these locations involve intersections, so I’ve highlighted a couple below where perhaps more policing is required.

I was a passenger in a vehicle heading out to the Airport the other day and what I witnessed inspired this post. We had a good run along SH20 and SH20a until we caught the tail of traffic waiting to get through the Kirkbride Rd intersection. The tail was roughly back to the start of the top arrow shown on the map below:

Kirkbride Rd Intersection

We were in the lane closest to the centre and as we waited patiently we noticed vehicles using the hard shoulder. At first it was just a couple of vehicles but the closer we got to Kirkbride Rd, the more vehicles we noticed on the shoulder, until at one point it became a solid third lane of traffic. Most of the vehicles were using the shoulder as a way reach the free left turn lane onto Kirkbride Rd. However not all were doing this – quite a few pushed their way back into the queue of traffic waiting patiently for their turn through the lights. The end result is that those doing the right thing have to wait even longer. Another group of users, mainly couriers and airport shuttles, would use the shoulder to turn left but then immediately do a u-turn on Kirkbride Rd and use the free left turn from there back onto George Bolt Memorial Dr.

But what can we do about it? The issue of vehicles doing u-turns could easily be solved by a simple raised median down Kirkbride Rd. The issue of vehicles using the shoulder is potentially much harder to solve, with perhaps the most effective option simply being better enforcement. Long term it is likely that this intersection will be grade separated, making the route more into a motorway, however that may just shift problems further down the road to the next intersection.

Kirkbride Rd Intersection 2

The next problematic intersection is one I travel through regularly – Lincoln Rd and Universal Dr in Henderson. When approaching the intersection I am usually coming from Universal Dr, turning left (north) in the direction of the motorway. The left turn is controlled by lights, and a large proportion of the time I have to wait for the signal to change. When that happens, a lot of the time a vehicle (or two) will still enter the intersection on what I assume is a red light. It happens so frequently that I often wonder if the timing of the lights is wrong. If not, there definitely needs to be improved enforcement as it means there is a hell of a lot of red light running. Heading south (away from the motorway) I often also see couriers turning down Universal Dr and doing a u-turn like mentioned above.

Lincoln Rd - Universal Dr

These are only two examples, but I’m sure there are hundreds of locations out there that some drivers exploit at the expense of others. Where are the ones that really frustrate you? And what do you think can be done to solve them?

47 comments to Frustrating driving situations

  • Adam

    Corner lincoln and triangle is madness,

    – People scooting up the left lane of lincoln, only to cut back into the right lane for city motorway
    – Queuing across the intersection in every direction
    – Where the cycle lane barriers on triangle end, people queue across the cycle lane (much better than the situation a year ago though!)
    – The T2 lane on the motorway onramp being blatantly flouted

    I have never seen any enforcement of any of the above, despite numerous complaints.

    Seems silly really, if they decided to target the situations like this, and those in the post, could really pump some revenue, and improve behaviour!

  • OrangeKiwi

    Turning right into Neville St from Portage Rd, New Lynn. Next to the turning lane there’s a flush median that runs right up to the intersection and cars (knowingly or unknowingly) queue on the flush median and cut off people who are turning from the turning lane.

  • OrangeKiwi

    ^^ People knowingly or unknowingly queue on the median – not cars obviously.

    I have to add that the intersection has changed recently, so I hope more recently updated intersections don’t have a median and turning lane side by side…

  • Mr Anderson

    How about red light runners in general. On an average day I’d probably see at least 5 people drive through a really really bad red light. It could be a wonderful revenue generator if we policed this better.

  • I’ve seen this tricky u-turn move on Hobson and Pitt St for gettng on to the motorway. I’ll add an image.

  • James B

    On Dominion Road outside my work there is a set of lights that are just a controlled crossing for pedestrians. As there are no cars crossing the red light is often ignored. Also people who enter the motorway at sixty kilometres per hour.

  • Bryce P

    These have one thing in common that enables this practice – the left turn slip lane.

  • Western Springs is another one … cars coming down St Lukes Rd turning right into Great North Rd and wanting to turn right onto the motorway instead take a left turn into the entrance to Western Springs speedway, do a u turn, so that they can then when the lights change they can head straight onto the motorway on ramp and avoid the queued traffic … the really stupid thing is, the lights out from Western Springs are (to the best of my knowledge) only activated when vehicles are there, so hence, those drivers actually contribute to making the problem they’re trying to avoid worse by making cars doing the proper thing and waiting on Great North road wait even longer while the Western Springs speedway phase occurs.

  • Roger Roger

    What a great short cut idea.
    Any other sites you can identify that would save loads of time?

  • jonno1

    A disappointing post Matt L, not up to your usual standard (but not as pointless as the “Sydney” post of a few weeks ago). Certainly inconsiderate behaviour, but whether all are illegal I don’t know (and care less – I wouldn’t do any of those things, but then I’m an old school law-abiding type). You could just as easily do a post on the worst examples of cyclists running red lights (definitely illegal) but also totally uninteresting (and I have some sympathy for them anyway). I come to this site to learn stuff about the CRL, progress on electrification, HOP cards, traffic & PT volumes, cycle lanes, shared space concepts etc. Maybe it’s been a slow news day, but still… Just my honest opinion, you don’t have to agree!

    • Mr Anderson

      Mr Fussy huh?

      The issue is that people making stupid manoeuvres like shown in the post above actually stuff the traffic up for others and also create really dangerous situations.

      • jonno1

        Stupid and potentially dangerous, er, yes, that’s rather obvious. And I wasn’t accusing Matt L of being fussy, I wouldn’t be so impolite, it’s just that I like to see more substance (which he usually provides).

        • Mr Anderson

          I wasn’t accusing Matt of being fussy. Maybe start your own blog if our posts aren’t up to your exacting standards.

        • Just like the previous post on vehicle/pedestrian conflicts this is extremely important because it raises issues that can be addressed in road design. In this case it is the free left turn that makes this driving possible. First just physically but also as they reinforce the idea that you should be able to drive without ever giving way to another person.

          Not referring to you in particular J1, but it is interesting that a number of people who primarily identify as drivers seem to get huffy when the less than perfect behaviour of some drivers are described [often the same ones that are self-righteously indignant the thought of a cyclist breaking a rule].

          My view is that we can expect the full range of behaviours on our streets and roads from everyone, pedestrians, cyclists, and especially drivers [why especially? because they are, or at least can feel they are, less vulnerable and dominate the space] and it is much more important that we design the environment right to minimise tragic outcomes than to naively rely on mature, intelligent, patient, attentive, well adjusted road use by all at all times.

          This doesn’t mean by raising ideas about how things could be done differently we blame engineers [another often tetchy group it seems] for bad driving but rather that we are looking for solutions. A little less defensiveness could be constructive. The Standards were not written by Moses, and values , needs, and ideas change.

          Also you can just skip a post if you’re not interested.

          • jonno1

            Thanks Patrick, you’re the first person on this blog (that I’ve seen, anyway) to make a reasoned case against slip lanes. I agree they can be a problem – putting aside the U-turners for a moment, the real problems occur when (a) pedestrians have to scoot across them just to get to the crossing button on an island (Broadway left turn into Khyber Pass Rd used to be lke this, now removed), and (b) when there’s a pedestrian crossing included which means drivers sometimes have to wait for dawdlers to make up their minds (example: Remuera Rd left turn into Broadway). Either way creates hazards/delays at times. “Road courtesy prevails” was the mantra in the days when I first got a driving licence, a precept that regrettably is not as prevalent today.

            Focusing on U-turners ignores these underlying issues, which are worthy of reasoned debate. One of the strengths of this blog is that it’s not just an echo chamber, although sadly a small number of commenters do seem to react badly to alternative points of view.

            As for cyclists, as mentioned above I have considerable sympathy for them (I don’t cycle due to physical constraints, not by choice), provided there’s mutual respect shown. For example, I have no problem with a cyclist slipping left around a corner against a red light if he (it’s usually a he) can do so safely, although I know some on this blog would be up in arms over red-light running. Regarding traffic engineers, you’ll have to take that one up with Stu D. (I too am an engineer by profession, although of a different persuasion, hence my focus on logic and evidence). And you’re dead right about standards, they can and do change over time (eg the left turn rule), but at least provide a benchmark at a given point in time. Without standards we’d be in even bigger trouble. [I guess the leaky homes debacle is an exception to this].

          • Perhaps you missed this post then, be sure to read the comments:

            http://transportblog.co.nz/2013/02/04/if-you-get-hit-by-a-car-its-probably-your-fault/

            And I’m not suggesting that we do away with standards but we should do away with the lazy idea that they can’t be wrong or improved.

          • jonno1

            Some very good stuff in that post that supports our discussion above. I particularly liked your “beg button” description, maybe you could get that included in the relevant standard.

    • S

      I think it’s quite interesting to consider how the experience of driving can be made less frustrating in Auckland. It definitely falls under what I would consider to be the jurisdiction of a transport blog.

  • #1 has got to be roundabout cutting on the Ellerslie and Greenlane on-ramps, although I have seen police at both =D.

  • Tasi

    I hate the Panmure roundabout! Well at least those who cut across the lanes. There are 6 roads at this one roundabout (Jellicoe, Queens, Lagoon, Ireland, Ellerslie-Panumure Highway and Mountain – clockwise). There are two lanes on Jellicoe when entering the roundabout. The outer lane for traffic wanting to go to Queens or Lagoon. The inner lane for Ireland to Mountain. There’s a lot more traffic in the inner lane with longer queues. But what peeves me is those cars that zoom down the shorter outer lane, only to cut back into the inner lane while IN the roundabout, not before but IN the roundabout! I’m not sure if it’s illegal, but it is dangerous and certainly a slap in the face for drivers who patiently wait in the long inner lane.

  • OrangeKiwi

    My previous comment was primarily about road design, but as we’re now seemingly back to listing bad driver behaviour, here’s two of my biggest gripes: drivers who jump queues on the wrong side of a pedestrian refuge. In front of oncoming traffic. At high speeds. Without any consideration whatsoever for drivers and pedestrians alike. The second one is people taking a shortcut by going against the travelling direction on one-way Alpers Ave, only to end up at the lights-controlled intersection (no worries – you can just make up your own green phase), blocking oncoming traffic from entering the road and preventing people from crossing.

    Madness, but it happens so much more often than you would think. AT’s response about ‘behavioral’ situations like these: It’s a job for law enforcement and they’re right of course – no road design is foul-proof!

  • OrangeKiwi

    ^^ ‘Foolproof’ of course. Mods, are we every going to be able to edit our comments again?

  • The one that pisses me off is those morning rush-hour drivers who take the Port lane on the Norwestern, and then cut into the Southern Tail further up. Should be instant loss of licence for doing that.

  • Duncan

    I find it amazing you can run a red light and only get a $150 with potential to seriously hurt or even kill someone. Yet for an example having no L plate is a fine of $100 and 25 demerits.
    Absolutely astounding.

  • Tian He Loong

    While this may not be strictly on topic… Regarding Driver behaviour: Biggest peeve of mine would be Tailgating, You know, the ones that come out from a side street or from the horizon, zoom up to about 1 metre from your rear bumper and sit there when you are already doing 7km/h above the posted legal speed limit and / or following a line of traffic. In that case, I usually pull over at the nearest safest opportunity (provided that the road is wide enough and it is legal to do so) but such an opportunity is not always available (Narrow roads with cars parked up for it’s length, Clear ways etc.) and 90% of the cases where I do pull over to let them pass, they zoom ahead and tailgate the next vehicle along. (I was going to include a comment about hemorrhoids but thought better not…).

  • Sam F

    Here’s a legend from my own lunchtime, about half an hour ago – car going through left turn slip lane on lower Albert Street turns left and mounts the ramp *in the middle of a pedestrian crossing*, drives right up onto the paved footpath in front of Esquires (drawing looks of amazement from surrounding peds), then drops 2 passengers and drives away off the kerb through the taxi rank and onto Quay Street. Magnificent. On top of that an AT company car with three meter readers in it was sitting at the intersection – all of whom looked nonplussed for a moment and then drove on towards Mission Bay.

    (Hope the image works)

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<p>Works now – Matt <img src=

  • Scott

    Not that I am a fan of roads but the Kirkbride/SH20 intersection is a classic of jobs done on the cheap in Auckland. When that motorway was built and its not that long ago (remember when the old Mangere Bridge with its Bailey bridges, and Mangere Bridge township was the main road to the airport), this intersection should have been properly built as a motorway interchange and grade separated.
    Anyhow rather than the illegal left turn a smart “Rat-Runner” would turn right into Westney Road, left into Timberly, right into Verissimo then left into George Bolt and miss out the Montgomerie Rd lights as well.

    • Luke C

      thankfully it wasn’t done though, as chances are it wouldn’t have been future proofed for a railway, which is what is sure to happen when it is done in a few years.
      Also not sure of the date of that section, however considering the minimal cost of at grade intersections, the minimal delay involved with traffic lights compared to the very high costs of grade seperation I think the right decision was made.

  • I’m astonished that Kirkbride Rd/SH20 wasn’t grade separated years ago. Far more useful project than most of the ones pushed along in the past decade. If BCR was the rationing tool it would’ve been done, but the last government was focused on SH20/CMJ/Grafton Gully getting completed and this lot has its own pet projects.

  • Torbayite

    Couple of poitns car drivers can slow buses travelling from Albany to Constellation by annoying driving
    1) Greveille Rd on ramp. Buses from A;bany going south get off and back on motorway here due to back up of cars on motorway. Works Ok to last 20 metres where the T2 lane traffic do the old favourite of driving along as far as possible before merging. The Effect: the bus has to wait behind the cars to merge. Timed it once at 51 seconds. Possibly could be solved by making it a T3 lane
    2) Cars going west along Constellation and turning left to get on motorway heading south block the bus lane. Thy obey the lights controllling them getting on to the motorway on ramp but some drivers no not consider the green paint showing the bus lane coming from North to get to Constellation bus station. When the bus gets its Green light it has to wait for the onramp to move a bit so the car can get out of its way. Could be solved by fining drivers via a camera.

  • Brendan

    How about the frustrating driving situation of getting red light after red light. How about some routes in the inner city be designated green light routes. If you drive at 5km under the speed limit (eg 45 in a 50) you could only get one red light during off peak periods. Routes could include Ponsonby rd, Fanshawe st, Hobson, Nelson and Quay. This could have the effect of slowing traffic down but getting people around faster. If Ponsonby rd was timed for green lights at 35k, then I could just about keep up with that cycling. Might require some computer modelling, but it can’t be that hard a problem to solve. Then publicise which routes are green light routes and get traffic away from red light routes (possibly queen st)

  • Auckland traffic insanity is a daily experience, my top 3 worst
    – from halsey st (by vodafone), right turn to fanshawe st. fanshawe traffic gets a nice long phase, but there’s always a few people turning right into halsey thru a red, when I have a green
    – exiting my driveway on Archers Rd, Glenfield. Always people hooning thru the stop sign on Agincourt st without looking left
    – Beatrice Ave, Hillcrest is a game of ‘chicken’, it’s steep and has sharp corners and parked cars. Should be a speed limit of 30, but some people hoon up at full speed in the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

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