Ramblin' On

Are Caravanners a Menace?

The following article was published in the “Sunday Mail” on 12 November 2006. I don’t know whether the journalist is writing a serious article or if he is baiting caravanners for a reaction. I’ll let you be the judge!

Caravans are a menace and should be eradicated
AT LEAST SLAP A ROAD CURFEW ON THEM, says Michael McGuire
Reproduced from the Sunday Mail, South Australia

THERE’S barely a corner of modern life that has been left untouched by the formation of some sort of whingeing pressure group. Tree huggers, gays, greens, women, men, dead people, whales, seals, oldies, nimbi’s. You name it and there is a pressure group formed to either complain about something or complain there isn’t something.

Plainly, a large section of society is not happy unless it is moaning about something. Well, if you can’t beat them join them.

Introducing, Menace to Society – Keep Caravans and Campervans Off Our Roads.

The aim of this worthy group is clear. Its members have had enough of being stuck behind dangerous, swaying caravans on single-lane country highways fearing for our precious lives and cars.

You can’t see around them, you can’t see through them, you can’t see over them. You have to drive into oncoming traffic just to see if there is anything coming the other way.

They are generally (badly) driven between 10km/h and 20km/h below the speed limit. And they have a frightening tendency to travel in convoys.  They probably don’t start out that way, but some weird cosmic force brings them together on the nation’s highways so that it’s not uncommon to see three or four caravan-towing morons or Campervans lined up behind each other.  Presumably they like to travel that way because they can annoy even more drivers than they normally do.

Behind them there will be another four or five cars with drivers plainly on the edge of a nervous breakdown, banging steering wheels, shouting at kids and on the verge of risking life and limb just so they can get around these mobile monstrosities.

They are a menace and they should be eradicated from our roads.  Scarily, there are more of them than ever before, presumably because we have a lot more older people than ever before. Most of them appear to be thinking that, with only a few years to go before they snuff it, they may as well see as much of the country as possible – extremely slowly.

There are now about 330,000 of these slow-moving death traps around Australia. According to the most recent ABS statistics released in 2001, there were 273,106 registered caravans in Australia. Of these 30,909 were in South Australia.  But it’s not just caravans that pose this manifest threat to all that is good and decent in society.  Even more worrying is that the numbers of those incredibly ugly, thirsty, immobile species of vehicle known as the campervan are growing remarkably quickly. An ABS report released last year said between 2001 and 2005 the number of campervans in Australia had grown from 33,586 to 40,693 – a jump of 21.2 per cent. But no other class of vehicle grew as quickly over that time frame.  Make no mistake, people, these people are on the march and they are coming to destroy a country drive for you as we speak.  What is even more terrifying is that these wandering death traps are the oldest on our roads. The average age of a campervan in South Australia is 20.8 years of age. The average age of all motor vehicles in South Australia is 12 years.

So most of the campervans clogging up our roads and increasing our blood pressure came from an age before modern safety improvements such as ABS brakes, power steering, decent tyres and airbags became the norm.

Think of that the next time you are stuck behind one of these misadventures in auto engineering.  There are only two real solutions to eradicate this threat to society and perhaps only one of these is viable. Number one is that roads are built solely for caravans and campervans to travel on. This will be entirely a user-pays system.

Taxes on caravans and campervans will increase by somewhere between 500 and 1000 per cent across the country. Let them pay the market rate for what they use and abuse.  Because the roads will need to be privately funded, all roads will need to be toll roads as well.

Now this may seem a little difficult as the cost would run to billions. So maybe we need to accept that we have to share our roads with these fools. In that case a curfew system – just like those imposed on unruly teenagers who need to be hidden away from polite society – should be introduced. It is proposed by our newly-formed pressure group that caravans and campervans should only be allowed on our roads between 11:00pm and 6:00am. It’s the only sensible solution. It will free up the roads for the rest of us, the caravan crowd will have nice empty roads to drive on in their ever-expanding convoys and road rage all across the nation will drop by a scientifically-estimated 87 per cent.

So join today. Remember – all it takes for the caravanners to triumph is that good people do nothing.