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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Strutting your stuff can stuff your struts

Strutting your stuff can stuff your struts

Last updated 11:38 24/06/2011
Canterbury drivers have never had much of a reputation for patience. Few have time for such nuisances as indicating, putting their lights on when in low light and keeping well left.

But that other scourge and highly rated pet-hate, "tailgating", has become more prominent of late as Christchurch drivers crowd the few roads left for commuting. Not only is it dangerous for the way a closely following vehicle can "monster" the driver of the car it's travelling behind into making sudden evasive moves, being too close to a vehicle is damn bad manners.

Being as I'm driving other people's cars most of the time, some of them with hefty excess margins with their insurance cover, I tend to stay well back and when conditions suggest, I back off even further to increase available braking and avoidance distances should someone do something silly.

Such silly doings come more often these days, as drivers suddenly come across a new quake obstacle, sink hole or piece of debris and lurch out of the way. All the better to be following a good distance behind, as if you're tailgating it leaves you just a split second in which to avoid quake damage to your car, as a crater or protruding manhole slips quickly out from under the car you're tailgating.

Just like the Mazda6 I was following this morning. I noticed the car in front of him jink quickly from left to right, only for the Mazda to have time to make only a minor adjustment to pace and direction before dropping its right front wheel into a 20cm deep sinkhole, damaging the front suspension, bending the wheel rim and giving the tyre a nasty bulge.

I can't help thinking that by strutting their stuff by tailgating, such drivers are only stuffing their struts as a result. Moving back a few following metres gives much more warning of looming suspension-unfriendly influences.

I'm sure the schoolteacher from that Mazda6, whom I picked up and gave a lift to, will not follow quite so closely in future.

Well not in that particular car for a while anyway.

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