Tim Walker’s Passing

If a car overtakes on a State Highway One passing lane and no one is around to see it does the line of traffic still speed up for the duration then slow down again afterwards, or is it just my imagination?

The reality is, through empirical channels I have sourced the answer to what might just be the greatest riddle of our modern age. During a recent journey from Hornby to Burnham, as I have done countless times before but never been compelled to document on account of what I perceived as ‘circumstantial behaviourisms’ – which is to say I always saw a possible factor of mitigation amid the aforementioned, ghastly motoring antics – I noted the behaviour of those cars around me.

This time the ignorant driving habits I witnessed were unequivocal and quite simply, incorrigible.

Cruising through Templeton a particularly slow vehicle held the 70 kph limit at a steady 60 but once we hit the 100, courtesy of a cleverly positioned passing lane, we all made it to somewhere around 95 kph. This speed didn’t bother me; I don’t ever expect to maintain 100 kph on this stretch as I am aware this is the way cars roll on SH1. The queue reached the next passing lane where I was the last of three vehicles to overtake…

It should be noted that as stated, ordinarily I wouldn’t have bothered trying to maintain a higher speed; this was strictly for research purposes.

…Pulling back in scarcely before the end of the double lanes my convoy of three powered up to 102 where I stopped accelerating; seemingly wanting to push 110 the preceding two drew slowly away until they had a number of kilometres on me.

Nevertheless, from 102 kph it wasn’t long before, once again, I could read the licence plate of the second convoy member. We presently dropped back to 95 then to 90 kph. There was another passing lane looming ahead. I felt it; I knew my convoy leaders were going to go for it. The double lines opened up. Two cars ahead of me pulled out from under each other’s rear bumpers and accelerated hard…

Someone needs to teach these people that the most effective way to overtake another car is in fact not starting from a few centimetres behind its rear bumper – especially when they’re both operating four cylinder Japanese cars with a decidedly low collective torque output.

…They needn’t have bothered. From my position at the rear of a three-car convoy I witness these cars pull away from me, but make little impression on the cars in front of them. It was the most awesome thing to watch: the entire line of around six cars in the left of the passing lane all sped up in unison, as if something had suddenly shunted them from 90 to 110. By the end of the double lines these two convoy leaders with their dilatory whiplash technique, fell back into line behind the very cars they had just been trying to overtake.

From 102 it only takes a minute for me to again read the licence plate of the preceding car; I look behind to see the nose of the truck my convoy passed in Templeton. As expected, we are all travelling at a steady 95 kph.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by S H Wan

Photography by I M Parsing

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