The spray came thick and fast: ”Oi, learn how to fucking drive, mate.”
It wasn’t directed at me but some poor bloke in the car in front, stuck in the never-ending traffic queue that was Queenstown during the Christmas and New Year break.
He was sitting at the Ballarat Street roundabout and, rather than clog the traffic flow further, stayed put until it was clear to move forward.
Some might say that was the sensible option.
But the driver in the other car decided to shout abuse and toot his horn - repeatedly.
I can only assume he hoped it would make the guy in front of me move faster.
He was clearly delusional: traffic was going nowhere. This bit of foul temper is just one example of poor driving behaviour I witnessed during the festive period.
In most instances I reckon the offenders were Kiwi or local drivers, which might make my opinion unpopular.
There’s a long list of indiscretions: overtaking at speed on corners, ignoring double yellow line and other cars in merging lanes, aggressive overtaking, verbal abuse, speeding towards pedestrians, blatantly talking on the blower or taking to social media to abuse every rental car driver in the vicinity.
How do I know they were local?
If you are driving a branded vehicle or roar with a Kiwi accent it is pretty obvious you’re from around here.
I get it. Queenstown, Arrowtown, Glenorchy - all the surrounding areas were heaving.
Traffic was a ‘mare and for those of us working, getting anywhere was a massive pain in the backside.
But shouting and yahooing at other road users isn’t going to get you to your destination any quicker.
All it does is make drivers, particularly visitors to our resort, more nervous - and increase the likelihood of an accident.
The amount of road rage wasn’t pretty - sadly it was anything but festive.
It isn’t too often this column agrees with our mayor, Vanessa van Uden. Before Christmas she asked drivers to be patient, saying our reputation as a tourist destination is based on providing a warm welcome to visitors.
Evidently many ignored her and I shudder to think what most visitors thought of the traffic situation here.
I am not suggesting this is a reflection on all of us. But I do think some locals need to look in the mirror before criticising foreign drivers in New Zealand.
I also don’t reckon it was all Queenstowners.
I can’t imagine those sitting in the back of a ute sipping on a Speight’s and yelling at will are from the Wakatipu.
But the odd bogan aside, we all have a responsibility to drive to a certain standard, regardless of how busy traffic is.
Yeah, I got frustrated at times.
A few expletives may have escaped my mouth, but I didn’t direct them at other road users.
Why? Because we all choose to live here.
That includes born-and-bred Kiwis and us imports who call this great town home.
It is just part and parcel of life in the Queenstown metropolis. It is busy, living here comes with a price tag, we all signed up to that. So stop whingeing. Be tolerant.
Wake up and realise the town is just going to keep growing. Traffic isn’t going to get better any time soon so, if you don’t want to get stuck in traffic, perhaps you should consider living elsewhere.