Tips for Driving in Cairns

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Cairns can get busy during the peak seasons and for locals and the people that live in Cairns it can be a little overwhelming. Compared to big cities like Sydney or Melbourne though, the traffic is nothing to write home about. Regardless, there is a growing culture of road rage and terrible driving in Cairns of which we’d like to discuss.

Cairns quite possibly has the worst drivers in Australia. There, we said it! Sure, it’s not just the people that live here and the tourists contribute a good deal to the amount of accidents and issues on the roads, however it is primarily the people that are living in Cairns that are the issue.

Tips and Tricks

If you are in a dual lane, stay in the left lane unless overtaking a car.

If you are only doing the speed limit in the right hand lane then you are going to have a Cairns driver tailgating so close to you that you’ll be able to see the freckles on their face in your rear view mirror. Tailgating is a terrible habit and we have seen it many time in Sydney and other big cities, however in Cairns it is a strong culture and is very noticeable.

Be wary of turning in roundabouts

Cairns drivers (and tourists as well) seem to have issues with the rules of Australian roundabouts. Many will drive right in front of you as you are going through a roundabout. Others will not even bother to indicate at all. A big issue however is dual lane roundabouts. Be mindful of the arrows on the road and try to avoid accident hot spots such as the Smithfield roundabout (where accidents occur all the time).

Indicators are for amateurs

Let it be known! Many Cairns drivers do not use their indicators! Always anticipate that they can and will do anything and they will not give you the slightest notion or idea that they are about to do it

Tourists and human traffic

Every culture is different, however some have more apparent differences than others. Be on the ball when you are driving in town. Tourists have a tendency to walk right in front of your car without notice. It happens to Cairns residents all the time! Try to keep under 50 km per hour when driving in the city to avoid manslaughter charges!

Kuranda’s Kennedy Highway

Kuranda is a beautiful part of the world. A tiny village in a rainforest full of hippies and those that seek the alternative lifestyle away from the “big smoke”. Unfortunately, the road that leads up the mountain to this slice of heaven is a death trap and a magnet for local road rage. Take your time driving up or down this road (especially in the rain) and be mindful of the cars behind you. If you have a car on your tail, wait for the next turn off bay and let them pass. Most often it is impatient Kuranda locals that are more familiar with the roads and want to drive faster. This causes problems though, as most accidents that occur on the roads involve the locals.

Wet season mayhem

It’s logical to drive slowly when the downpours are apparent in Cairns and when it rains in Cairns it’s in another league of its own. Take your time and don’t rush in a heavy downfall. Pull over if you can’t see anything on the road and be mindful of some crazy locals that seem to think they are invincible.

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