Sydney Vs. Melbourne Driving

I've lived in both Melbourne and Sydney and recently switched again! For the most part, everything is basically pretty similar, but I've noticed that the way people drive in Sydney vs. Melbourne is terribly different! Things I've noticed:

1) Sydney drivers just (on average) drive faster. If I'm on a Melbourne freeway, the average speed is probably around 95 - 96 for a speed limit of 100. If I set my cruise control at that speed, I don't get annoyed at people. Anything higher and people will just be blocking the way. In Sydney, I'd say it's more like 102 - 103 in the middle lane, with people regularly going at around 110 down the right lane.

2) Sydney drivers tend to jump into gaps much more frequently than Melbourne drivers. When I first moved from driving in Melbourne to driving in Sydney, this would always shock me, people just jump in out of nowhere. I've gotten used to it, though. I wouldn't say it's dangerous overall. I guess Melbourne drivers seem to be better mannered in that way.

3) Melbourne drivers are more sensitive. I feel like I get away with more in Sydney. In Melbourne, it seems like people honk at everything.

4) Melbourne has much lower speed limits on average, even though it has much better designed, wider and easier to drive roads. E.g. the Tullamarine Fwy from the Bolte Bridge to the Calder has a speed limit of 80, they're supposedly "trialling" 100, but it's one of the widest and straightest stretches of roads I've seen. Similarly, the Monash Fwy from High St to the tunnel. In Melbourne, all tunnels are 80, but 100 not uncommon in Sydney.

Probably plenty of other differences, but share your thoughts!

Comments

  • +8 votes

    grabs popcorn
    Ah the old Sydney vs Melbourne debate!

    Perth would win hands down if this was a competition of worst drivers, just sayin

    •  

      Just having a bit of fun. To be honest, they're more similar than different.

    • +1 vote

      Perth would win hands down

      Its hard not to win the traffic discussion when you're a big country town ;)

    • +3 votes

      I haven't driven in Perth, but that can't be true.

      Drivers in Melbourne are horrendous.

      • +3 votes

        Of course they're horrendous, they're not looking at the road.

        Their eyes are glued to the speedo.

      •  

        I can't speak for Perth but Melbourne drivers are much better and more aware than Brisbane drivers. It's no stretch to say it would be similar in Perth.

  • +6 votes

    Ive been in Melbourne for a few years now (from Sydney) and have noticed Melbourne drivers like to drive side by side on multi lane roads at exactly the same speed making it difficult to overtake. It happens even when there's little traffic.

    If I drive at the same speed as the cars in the next lanes, I try leave a gap next to me so that I can swerve suddenly if I really need to without swiping someone.

    Also, Sydney drivers accelerate faster when the lights go green and more traffic gets through each light cycle.

    •  

      It's getting better.

      Ten years ago, there were heaps of people hogging right most lane on freeways. I honestly think the intimidation tactics are actually stoking conversation about the problem.

  • +2 votes

    Interesting topic.

    I constantly compare the differences in driving habits between different states, and other countries as I drive.

    But for me it was going from living for a long period in Melbourne to living in Adelaide that was the biggest difference. The major things I've noticed are: I feel like Adelaideans generally drive slower (unless they're driving a BMW?), they indicate less often than they should, and I've witnessed drivers that don't know how to merge properly on countless occasions.

    While certainly these things happen everywhere, it's just been my experience that I've seen it happening more often in Adelaide.

    • +1 vote

      I noticed the same thing about Adelaide and Hobart, even Canberra, they all drive slower than Melbourne or Sydney.

    • +3 votes

      Can't blame the Adelaidian. They're not used to having another person on the road.

      •  

        well ackshully, the last time I was in Adelaide I was surprised at how congested and narrow some of their main roads were. That was about 7 years back. It must be worse now.

  •  

    You should try China, Thailand or France and Italy. Sydney drivers are rather okay 😆

    • +2 votes

      I have a Thai license, travel twice a yr at minimum over the last 12 years. Thailand is much more civil as in road rage. Take Thailand off your list.

      • +1 vote

        +1 for Thailand even though they have shitty Lane's and lights drivers are way more aware and look out for one another never see that in Sydney.

    • +1 vote

      Philippines and India I hear is hard level.

      •  

        India = honk if everything is going okay.

        •  

          Lol.. Philippines I know does not honk as much but there is pretty much no road rules like India and no existence or knowledge of the concept of right of way besides try not to get hit by a pedestrian or car and me first you last type of mentality.

    •  

      Try Russia and Eastern Europe… You'll have to switch survival mode on.

      •  

        True that. They have another difficulty level different rules probably more pvp where as Asian countries more pve.

        lol.

  •  

    Lovetodiscuss

  • +1 vote

    I recently went to Sydney on the weekend. Not sure how you even were able to change lanes, get up to 60kms/h as the traffic was atrocious for a Saturday afternoon.

  • +5 votes

    Speed is definitely different due to different policing enforcements. In NSW you get the "rough" speed limit +10%. But in VIC they seem to enforce anything over a couple of KMs over. And they have speed cameras hidden everywhere without need to sign them.

    •  

      I find that hilarious in Sydney. Having signs almost literally saying "Speed camera coming up"

      In vic. they have similar, but they just say "safety cameras operating in this area"

      •  

        It makes sense to have the signs. If it's about safety rather than revenue, as the authorities say, it's better to have prominent signs before the cameras to prevent speeding rather than have drivers speed and be pinged after the fact. In Victoria, it's more about revenue with our highway patrol camping with their hidden cameras and tight tolerances.

        A common argument: If there are prominent signs where the cameras are, drivers will speed everywhere else.

        Counterargument: Without signs, drivers will speed everywhere. This is not an issue for areas which are not prone to accidents. It is better to let drivers speed in other locations and put cameras and signs in dangerous locations where following the speed limit is important.

        •  

          Maybe have signs everywhere saying speed camera ahead :D

        • +2 votes

          Sydney has mobile speed cameras now, you only get 1 tiny sign which comes up about 50m before passing it. If you're going fast enough you won't even notice it. Plenty of people get pinged without even knowing.

          The safety cameras in Sydney are blatantly designed to raise revenue as well. Traffic lights intentionally become glitchy wherever a camera is. Peak hour on a main road with hundreds of cars lining up, the lights only turn green for about 10 seconds before they go red again to let 1 or 2 cars come in from the side street. It's a choice between running a red light or going insane.

  • +1 vote

    There's nowhere to drive to in Melbourne.

  •  

    I live in Melbourne but I've driven a fair bit in Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

    I'd say Sydney is easily the most aggressive in terms of speed and "movements" between lanes. But because of the badly designed roads and lack of future planning, it's kinda necessary if you don't wanna add 30 mins to every journey. One way streets are a PITA (same as Brisbane). Brisbane has massively improved since they built all their new freeways.

    I agree OP, Melbourne drivers I find definitely slower overall. It would absolutely be due to the much tighter speeding rules and lower speed limits in general. There are a few councils now talking about lowering 40 zones to 30. Might as well walk.

    The most chill is obviously Perth as it has the least traffic, followed by Adelaide where I find drivers very courteous generally. No wonder our western neighbours freak out when they visit Sydney or Melbourne as it's a big step up in traffic aggression.

    • +3 votes

      I hear in the Melbourne CBD, the Greens are pushing for car drivers to get out and push their vehicles…

    •  

      Couldn't agree with your post and the OP's post more.

      I'd add that yes, Sydney drivers are aggressive but Melbourne drivers have this attitude (which isn't present in Sydney) where getting out of their way is your problem, not theirs. Hard to explain but that part of Melbourne driving terrified me.

      •  

        I agree about Melbourne attitude. "GTFO of my way! Can't you see I've got Mercedes Benz C200 with P plates!"

    •  

      Adelaide ? Drive fast? most of the roads are 50-60km/hr and speed cameras are on most intersections and inbetween.

    •  

      Traffic equals frustration equals bad drivers

  • +1 vote

    1) Sydney drivers just (on average) drive faster.

    This is likely due to the fact that in Sydney (NSW), speed cameras are sign posted. In Victoria, Vic Roads/Police do their best to hide them.

    On the other hand, NSW's double demerits sucks.

    •  

      I've noticed in Melbourne that people are driving slower than they used to 10 years ago (I just moved back so it was pretty obvious).

      Definitely has to do with the crackdown/zero tolerance stance on speeding in Melbourne

      •  

        I think the slow drivers has also to do with the influx of foreign residents who get given a license with no real training or experience driving in Australia. I regularly use Uber’s/Ola, etc. and the drivers are ok. But lack Australian driving experience and just do some
        Simple things very poorly.

        Like break towards a green light, go in right lane on the freeway but travel 10ks under the limit, go 40 in a road work area, but it’s a Saturday night and the usual speed limit
        Is 80 and everyone else wants to go a bit faster, but can’t. (Yes I know the latter is a bit iffy, but no one follows the road work speed limits if
        No road
        Work is happening )

  • +1 vote

    Been a while since I've driven in Sydney, but from memory there was more leeway given to speeding with an unspoken 10% rule when going over the limit, whereas in Melbourne I was once booked going 6km/h over the limit 106km/h estimated 101km/h coming back from Sydney.

  • +2 votes

    <10km speeding infringements are near double in VIC than compared to NSW. Victoria Police are also sneakier, have more cars and cameras on the road and hide cameras everywhere.

    This will be part of why Melburnians appear to "speed less".

  • +1 vote

    I found Sydney the drivers appear to be more aggressive.
    Hopping in and out of lanes, even with the tiniest gap.
    I also found them to accelerate quicker, cut corners when turning and also reverse faster without looking.
    Coming from Melbourne I could see a different etiquette and actually more similar to NZ.

    •  

      There's no other way to drive in Sydney. Safe drivers are often the ones who have accidents here because they follow unsuitable safety rules - slamming on the brakes at a yellow, needlessly stopping for no reason, driving 10km below the speed limit etc.

      If you drive like that in Sydney you'll add at least 20 minutes or more to every journey. 20 mins x twice a day for the average commuter is 40 mins a day they can spend at home. That's over 3 hours of spare time added to your week.

  •  

    My dad used to be in the NSW Highway Patrol. It was common knowledge amongst the police that VIC-plated drivers were the worst. When I moved from Sydney to Melbourne 20 years ago I learned why - most Melbourne drivers have a really hard time keeping within their lane, and a really hard time using their indicators when changing lanes. I think this is because Melbourne drivers need to weave in and out between the tram lane and the left lane which is full of parked cars.

    I agree that Sydney drivers are more aggressive, and unfortunately I still drive like a Sydneysider even though I've been in Melbourne for 20 years. I absolutely lose my mind when stuck behind traffic doing 10-15km under the speed limit, which is every time I drive anywhere in Melbourne. I never tailgate or act aggressively, I just complain to my unfortunate passengers.

  •  

    Melbourne was once a nice place but now the rif raff from above the border has invaded this city

  •  

    I should also mention that the condition of the potholes on Sydney roads is just shocking. I don't remember it being this bad. There are also so many extremely sunken-in manhole covers that leave a huge ditch.

    I've got low profile tyres and I often have to focus on the road directly in front of me to dodge potholes. If not, I get a good slamming inside the cabin as I go over the potholes (my car is stock standard and not modified).

    The condition of Melbourne's roads aren't the best, but they are way better than Sydney's.

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