The Clarence Valley is notorious for inattentive drivers, often resulting in collisions.
The Clarence Valley is notorious for inattentive drivers, often resulting in collisions.

A street sign won’t fix your bad driving

WHEN it comes to driving skills, every community has its strengths and weaknesses.

Growing up in Lismore, most drivers were known for tailgating. It's not that they were being overly aggressive toward you (well, most weren't), they were simply ignorant to the safe distance needed should you have to suddenly stop.

In the Clarence Valley, it's notorious for inattentive drivers, often resulting in collisions such as the one witnessed on the North Street and Summerland Way intersection this week.

I discovered this when I first moved to Maclean and, given how many times it happened, it earned itself a nickname. I call it the 'I didn't see you' game where, regardless of any street signs or markings directing them to give way or stop, drivers actively avoid looking at the situation around them before launching their vehicle into oncoming traffic.

Just this week I met a driver playing the game of 'I didn't see you' while coming out of Church Street, Maclean.

According to this Transport for NSW road rules graphic below, the driver (B) was supposed to give way to me (A) while I turned left onto River Street. But, as expected, following these rules is optional on our roads.

NSW road rules at intersections.
NSW road rules at intersections.

Sadly, it didn't end there. The same vehicle continued along Lawrence Road, weaving over double lines and overtaking a turning truck right at the Golf Links Rd intersection in an eerie similarity to another driver captured on Yamba Road last month.

I'm glad there wasn't another motorist playing 'I didn't see you' at that juncture, otherwise I would have had front row seats to a pretty awful collision.

In my experience, the Maclean area has quite a number of inattentive drivers, but the Clarence Way and Summerland Way intersection at Koolkhan is a goldmine.

I've lost count how many Clarence Way drivers I've witnessed incorrectly cross into oncoming Summerland Way traffic.

One woman is lucky to be alive after she floated across the road just as I was passing the intersection a few months ago. When I glared at her as she passed me, she had the look of complete indifference to her near-death experience.

At the same intersection, trucks and utes are determined not to stop for anyone and often come screaming onto the Summerland Way in a dangerous right-hand manoeuvre. However, one truck wasn't so lucky. The speed at which they turned from Clarence onto Summerland Way resulted in their load rolling off onto the road. All they needed to do was follow the road rules by giving way to traffic to avoid such an expensive and stupid mistake…

As expected, this latest collision has prompted the hasty erection of a give way sign and calls for a round-a-bout, but will any of these things really solve the problem?

Clarence Valley Council erected a give way sign for eastbound North St motorists at Turf St, hours after a collision at the intersection on Thursday, 10th July, 2020.
Clarence Valley Council erected a give way sign for eastbound North St motorists at Turf St, hours after a collision at the intersection on Thursday, 10th July, 2020.

If it's not drivers too busy with their phone to notice they're on the wrong side of the road it's those who still fail to understand how a round-a-bout, intersection or stop sign works.

Perhaps taxpayer money could be better spent on correcting this poor driver behaviour, because relying on motorists to look around and check their surroundings before taking action is clearly not working.