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Driving While Bogan

As I’ll be going to Australia later in the year, I suppose it’s a good thing I was made aware of a bit of slang: Bogan. Apparently it’s a bit like a “chav” in the U.K. I don’t know how the term is actually received in Australia, but if any readers want to weigh in…

And, this, according to the website “Things Bogan Like,” is how a bogan drives:

While the bogan generally engages in few critically important activities and has accrued a lifetime of missed deadlines, when on the road it is in an urgent hurry. If delayed by a stop sign, it will charge through. If delayed by a line of traffic, it will seek to drive in the emergency lane. It will reach its destination a full 90 seconds earlier than the non-bogan, and it will consume that 90 seconds, along with 300 other seconds, to stake out a parking space that is 30 steps closer to Boost Juice.

However, the notoriously poor coping skills of the bogan make it susceptible to losing its cool entirely if it finds that the traffic conditions are not to its liking. A key problem of road-based bogans is that a car makes a bogan invincible. Encased in a 1500kg glass and steel shell, the bogan transforms from an irritation to a menace. It enforces its skewed value system and desire for the x-treme by speeding, running red lights, and burning rubber, disregarding other road rules as it sees fit. If someone does not let the bogan do these things as it wishes, the trouble starts.

Just as it will do in relation to free speech, the bogan sees itself as entitled to break any road rule, but everyone else is not allowed to at all. The bogan will even reserve the right to object to other road users driving safely and correctly. If someone merges into a lane in front of a bogan, the results will depend on a number of factors:

1. How badly it wants to go to the shopping centre or nightclub strip
2. Whether the bogan is intoxicated
3. The presence of tribal tattoos
4. Any other obstacles that the bogan has encountered that day
5. The presence of personalised number plates
6. Degree to which the offending motorist is perceived to be Asian

If the bogan’s anger becomes moderate, it will scream from inside its car, and make obscene gestures. It is unlikely to realise that the other person cannot hear its profanities from inside their own car, but this does not deter it from pursuing this action with vigour. If the anger level becomes high, the bogan will attempt to overtake the other car without indicating, expecting surrounding cars to part like Katie Price’s legs. If it is not allowed to re-enter its original lane, it will emerge from its car in a blind fury. The alpha road warrior bogan will attempt to lure the other driver from their car with an elaborate roadside war dance, intermittently spitting and kicking door panels. If this is not successful, it will eventually return to its car, do a burnout, and rocket off into the distance, which is usually the next traffic light 100m up the road.

(thanks Alex)

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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 18th, 2010 at 8:12 am and is filed under Drivers, Etc., Traffic Culture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Driving While Bogan”

  1. Matt Says:

    I don’t want to be the thought police, but in some ways the bogan piece is a bit of ugly writing. I suggest it maybe Kiwi in origin, rather than Australian. The tribal tattoo thing would suggest New Zealand, where moko, or tribal tattooing is more common. With that and the stereotypical view of Asian drivers, it is saying that the average bogan is racist (if the writer isn’t racist himself), which may have some truth to it, but then the whole bogan term is stereotypical as well. The whole driver with personalised number plates being a bit of a dick stereotype is however completely valid on both Australian and New Zealand roads. The whole thing is written by a young writer going by that “The Katie Price” thing. That’s like an English celebrity thing, and anyone in Australia or New Zealand following that kind of news is a bit of a cretin themselves. The young person car culture in Australia and New Zealand has definitely taken a turn for the worse since the days of the muscle cars, morphing into boy racers in their big exhaust, modified body, Japanese buzz boxes. All hail the Phantom Expander, superhero in the NZ town of Blenheim, who puts expanding polyurethane foam into their modified exhausts, so the good people of Blenheim can get a good night’s sleep.

  2. Hendrik Says:

    Funny. This reminds me of reading your own book (Traffic) where you write that we seem to have the need to give traffic offenders a face in order to tell yourself: “Ah, see it is a …, that’s why he/she is driving/acting like that”

    If it was only so simple to define traffic offenders with this short set of rules. Saddly we all know it can be anybody snapping like that (yes, even ourselves). Do this even only once or twice or year (because you are in a hurry/bad mood/traffic/whatever) multiply this times all the drivers and you will have an almost daily dose of aggressiveness in traffic.

  3. Timothy Albiez Says:

    I am Australian and I would like to point out that the bogan you refer to could be classified as more relevant to their lifestyle and social standing, and not so much to their driving ability or lack thereof.

    I have at times been at the receiving end of some road-rage when I am driving by the rules. Being a family man that quite often has his wife and 3 kids in the car means I almost always have the welfare of those closest to me at stake, so I’m not going to bow to any intimidation.

    Many Australian youths have a period of reckless driving that usually curbs with age and/or experiencing an accident as a result of their on road behavior or that of a family member or friend.

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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