On a single-lane country road:
– a wallaby, leaping through a fence;
– a hen, maybe a feral chicken or maybe a domestic one who had escaped its pen, I couldn’t tell, standing next to a creek;
– turtles, swimming in the water covering a causeway during flooding;
– wading birds standing next to the road, several of them in different places on different occasions;
– a whole family of the above-mentioned wading birds, walking across the road, one adult at the front and the other at the back;
– a family of wild ducks, walking beside the road;
– a dead water dragon (lizard), presumably run over by a vehicle;
– a woman driving a big 4WD while talking on a mobile phone, waving at me with her other hand which was also holding the steering wheel as she drove around a 90-degree corner;
– a van which overtook me as I was pulling off the road to allow a vehicle approaching from the other direction to get around a narrow corner over a creek running several metres directly below; the van just barged through and the approaching vehicle had to pull off the road too before one or both of them fell off the edge of the road.
On a double-lane regional roads (one lane going either way, with heavy traffic in peak hours):
– a mostly-black dog crossing the road in the dark, maybe lost (though it appeared confident and seemed to know where it was going; this is the second dog I’ve seen crossing the road recently – the previous one was at a bad spot on the highway);
– lots of dead animals and birds, including a wallaby, run over or hit (usually overnight, but not always);
– a discarded pram on the side of the road;
– a beach- or bath-towel on the side of the road;
– cyclists, some training and some travelling, all of them in danger of being hit or knocked off their bikes (this morning I saw one heading down a steep hill on a 65km/h curve which runs for about 200 metres, coasting right in the middle of his lane with cars approaching the spot from both directions);
– a driver who overtook one car on a straight stretch of road and then had to squeeze into the long line of other cars in front of her, copying an earlier car which had just done the same thing, presumably well able to see that I was approaching from the other direction with a line of vehicles behind me. She only just got back into her lane in time because I was too mad to put the brakes on to let her complete the manoeuvre easily (I wanted to show her she’d done something dangerous, but if she hadn’t managed to get back into the line in time we might have crashed, so that would have shown all of us, yeah).
– a driver in another big 4WD who, in a small town suffocating under the day-visitor pressure of a hippy festival and a farmer’s market, did a U-turn from the east-bound lane into the west-bound lane in order to grab a parking spot on the southern side of the road while cars about to approach him were stopped at a pedestrian crossing, while other pedestrians crossed the road at various spots between parked and stopped cars all the way up and down the street, while a motorcyclist also crossed the road from a parking spot and rode down the centre of the road between lanes of traffic, while a small truck parked right next to the pedestrian crossing to make deliveries, making the following traffic move around into the centre of the road (facing the motorcyclist), and then the U-turning 4WD had to do a 50-point turn to get into the small parking spot, making the line of traffic (and the cars waiting to cross into it at the intersection below) all wait. And when I had to stop at the pedestrian crossing it was for a man walking along with at least three live parrots or lorikeets perched on his shoulders and arms and head.
On a double-lane highway (one lane going either way, crawling with Easter long-weekend traffic):
– nothing of interest; everybody seems to be behaving themselves. Yay.
And while I’m talking about driving: I think the foundation of defensive or safe driving should be that we should never assume anything: don’t assume the road will be clear around the corner; don’t assume that other drivers know what they’re doing or care; don’t assume that animals and birds will stay out of the way; don’t assume your reactions are as fast as you think they are; just don’t assume anything.
I continue my campaign of trying to stay alert while driving, but too many times it doesn’t go well. I hate driving now; hate it and fear it. I drive along gripping the steering wheel so tightly that my fingers sometimes get pins and needles.
And I’ve realised that my hatred of being followed by other vehicles is as much about personal space as it is about feeling the pressure to go faster. It just feels like they’re too close to me; I need more space. And if there’s 20 kilometres of road in a section where nobody can overtake, it just makes no sense that people would trail each other closely when instead they could fan out and drive as individuals in a more relaxed fashion. They’re idiots. I know they’re all idiots. It’s the human condition.