7 Signs of a Real Hero on Our Aussie Roads

November 12, 2019


On the road


Pauline Morrissey

Being a good driver doesn’t just apply to being a skilled, safe, and law abiding person behind the wheel — it also pays to have good manners, too.

Call it random acts of kindness, paying it forward, or good deeds — here are some driving traits that classify you as a true-blue on our Aussie roads.

1. Letting someone get out of their lane

With cities around the country hitting a daily traffic crawl, we do everything in our power to limit the amount of time stuck behind the wheel.

We get it, you’ve got places to be, but when you see some poor soul stuck in a ‘right turn only’ lane, but they’re clearly heading straight like you — slow up, give them a wave, and let them change lanes. You never know, that good karma might pay dividends further along your route.

Traffic jam of cars
You're not legally required to let another car into your lane, but you'll be doing a good deed if you do. Photo: iStock

2. Giving the cyclists a break, and some space

The rivalry between cyclists and drivers will probably rage until the end of time, but if you’re a driver and want to take the high road (pun intended), then give the cyclists a bit of space on the road when passing.

You’ll make the road a little safer for everyone, and maybe go a little way to repairing the acrimonious relationship between drivers and cyclists.

3. Keeping to the left

Such a simple message, yet so often dismissed across our nation's highways. You’ll be a diligent and considerate road hero if, even after overtaking on a multi-lane highway, you get back in the left-lane.

Don’t be one of those people that just sit in the right-lane, forcing people to back-up behind you and change lanes erratically — unless you want to become the subject of some angry, lights flashing, road rage yourself.

Reflection of trucks in rear view mirror
Remember to stay on the left lane, unless overtaking. Photo: iStock

4. Giving the newbies a break

Remember, we were all learner drivers once, fresh-faced teenagers, nervously clutching the steering wheel, checking our blindspots every two seconds, and trying oh so hard not to go over the speed limit. The only thing worse than that sheer terror, was someone right on your tail, especially when you’re only able to go 80km/hr on the highway.

So now, as a fully fledged driver yourself, if you’re behind a learner driver, think back to that time, and give them a little less pressure on the road.

5. Helping out when someone loses their trailer load

Speaking of dangers on the road, it always makes for a frightening predicament when a ute or trailer has lost their load, with debris and materials strewn out on the road.

If and when this happens, stopping to help out will not only relieve someone’s embarrassment, but can also make the area safe for other drivers. You could even just stop to help by pulling off the road to warn other drivers of the danger ahead.

Overloaded trailer on back of car
Warning other drivers of lost load can help prevent accidents from happening. Photo: iStock

6. Stopping to give a tow

Our country’s proud four-wheel drive owners love to get off-road and explore the country, but it’s not without its own troubles.

Whether in the bush or out in the sand dunes, chances are you’ll come across someone stuck in a rut and without any hope of help. So if you happen to come across this and you’ve got your own towing gear, take the opportunity to be their shining saviour, as you never know when you might need a tow yourself.

7. Giving credit where credit is due

While incidents of road rage are often spotlighted when it comes to our roads, it’s important to remember that not all of us act this way. Instead, there’s a whole subset of considerate drivers, like those who give way when there’s a traffic build up, and those who are patient when you’re trying to perfect that parallel park. These are the real heroes on our Aussie roads, and it’s important to not let their good deeds go unnoticed.

And thus the simple form of a hand gesture wave exists, as if to say, 'cheers mate!' from behind the wheel. You’ll appear grateful while the other driver will feel appreciated — it’s truly a win-win scenario that can only perpetuate more good deeds on our roads.

Pauline Morrissey

Pauline has worked in-house at Smith's Lawyers and has written for publications such as Domain, Real Living, Traveller, Time Out, Sitchu, and Houzz.