As much as I love the ACT, the bush capital has one glaring letdown - Canberra drivers suck*.
Yes, this is a sweeping generalisation.
Yet I've felt my level of frustration behind the wheel escalate since moving to the nation's capital five years ago.
As one of my colleagues once poignantly remarked, "it's like everyone who moved here from interstate has brought the worst of their state's driving with them".
Here is my pick of Canberra's worst driving habits:
Merging is undoubtedly my biggest pet hate on ACT roads. So many Canberrans just don't...get it.
When I first moved here I was the owner of a humble Hyundai Excel. This is not a powerful car.
I lost count of the number of times I was stuck behind a big people-mover crawling along a merging lane, expecting to gracefully join cars zooming past at 80km/hour on the Tuggeranong Parkway or Monaro Highway. Any hope of appropriately getting my speed up in time was dashed in an instant.
Merging woes are not uncommon on much slower stretches of traffic, where two lanes become one. So many drivers don't seem to understand the beauty of the zipper formation, a utopian ideal where two lanes of traffic take turns moving forward, one car seamlessly flowing in front of another.
Indicating at roundabouts
Canberra's double-laned roundabouts are a baptism of fire for any new driver to the capital.
Just to complicate things, some drivers like to play a little game of "guess which way I'm turning". Sometimes those cheeky buggers will trick you into thinking they will drive straight through, with no indicator, only to turn left or, worse, right. Surprise!
Canberra's lack of indication is a popular bugbear among fellow road users. Stretching that hand a short distance to the left or right for a three-second "click" seems to be too much effort for many.
I jest but, on a serious note, it can lead to some close shaves on our roads or, worse, a crash.
Every new driver learns about the importance of leaving a safe distance between your own car and the vehicle in front of you. Do the right thing in Canberra and there's a good chance an impatient car will swoop in front of you, like a springtime magpie encroaching on your innocent space.
At times, it seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry is in a rush (their business much more important than yours). This is especially fun during "peak" periods (I use the term "peak" loosely - let's be honest, we've got it pretty darn good here).
No wonder there are so many bumper-to-bumper crashes. A good segue to...
Sometimes, Canberra drivers can be a little...self-centred.
Here's one scenario...
I'm at an intersection. There are two lanes of traffic, one for drivers to move straight ahead and the other for those turning right. Cue a driver who wants to go straight but is sitting in the wrong lane, the opportunity to switch lanes long gone.
The "straight" lane faces a red light, the "turning" lane faces a green light. Instead of taking the right-hand turn and then getting back on track where possible (as annoying as that is), the defiant, lost driver refuses to move, leaving a trail of cars trapped behind it or clambering to go around.
A special shout out to the people who can see you desperately trying to switch lanes within a small window but ignore that forever-blinking indicator.
Sometimes I dare myself to step onto a pedestrian crossing without looking.
Then I think better of it. My life is worth more than that gamble.
Many drivers do the right thing when it comes to slowing down at a zebra crossing. Some treat it like they treat a yellow traffic light (maybe I can JUST make it). Others disregard the painted stripes altogether.
Like anywhere, you've got to look before you walk.
It's not all bad...
As much as I make frustrated, off-the-cuff remarks about my fellow drivers, it's not all bad.
For every selfish act is a moment of heartening teamwork. The driver who does allow you to switch lanes when you're desperate. The driver who patiently waits while you negotiate a difficult parking space. The polite lifting-of-the-hand-off-the-wheel in a kind of half wave, so common in actual country towns. Moments of camaraderie when you lock eyes with another driver after witnessing a ning-nong do something silly.
So, what have I missed?
*Disclaimer: Like many people who have moved to the territory from interstate, I speak of "Canberra drivers" as if I'm not one of them, despite the fact I switched my license from Victoria to the ACT quite a few years ago. We all do it.