Matt Heath: Spread some Christmas cheer on the roads

Publish Date
Monday, 17 December 2018, 9:40AM
Getty Images

Getty Images

I was driving down Dominion Rd in a long line of traffic yesterday. A guy on the side indicated he wanted to pull out. So I did him the small favour of letting him in. In return, he gave me the two flash emergency lights of thank you.

A common human interaction you might think. But this simple thing felt good. It felt festive. I gave a fellow New Zealander a gift and he was grateful for it. It got me thinking about the little ways we can show we care on the roads this Christmas. After all, "it's the most wonderful time of the year".

1. George Michael sang in Wham's 1986 smash Last Christmas: "Once bitten and twice shy, I keep my distance, but you still catch my eye."

This Christmas show your fellow New Zealanders you care by not driving right up their arse on the way to the bach. Keep your distance. Only a tool breaks the 2-second rule at Christmas.

2. In 1984 Band-Aid sang "Let them know it's Christmas time".

You can let your fellow Kiwi know it's Christmas time by not driving at 80km/h in the fast lane. Holding people up for no reason is a great way to show you don't care.

Driving slowly for 20 minutes then putting your foot down when you get to the passing lane is even worse. You deserve onions, breadcrumbs, butter, garlic and mixed herbs shoved up your chicken for that one.

Of course, some of us have to go slow. Holidays can involve a bit of towage. There are going to be boats and caravans on the roads. So if a slow-moving tub tugger pulls over to let you pass, make sure you give them the friendly two-toot salute. Nothing says "goodwill to all" like thanking a fellow Kiwi for a good deed.

3. "Happy Christmas, your arse, I pray God it's our last."

We all make mistakes on the road. The way you behave when someone errs says a lot about your character.

Don't berate your fellow travellers the way Kirsty MacColl does Shane MacGowan in Fairy Tale of New York.

If someone accidentally cuts you off this yuletide season, just forgive them.

Instead of screaming "You're a bum, You're a punk, You're an old slut on junk," try a bit of festive cheer.

Channel Snoopy vs the Red Baron the night before Christmas. "Fiercely they fought, with ice on his wings, Snoopy knew he was caught ... The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights, he reached for the trigger to pull it up tight."

But he didn't. Instead, they pulled over and the Baron yelled "Merry Christmas My friend" before popping the champers.

4. The sixteenth-century Welsh Christmas song goes: "Don we now our gay apparel. Fa la la la la, la la la la." The part of which kind of reminds me of the noise a pedestrian crossing makes.

If this Christmas you press to cross, then jaywalk before the green man arrives, leaving traffic to sit at a red for no reason, then you're the Christmas Grinch and your heart is "three sizes too small".

5. "Hark, now hear the angels sing."

Communication on the roads is important. If you have an opportunity to share something with your fellow New Zealander don't let it pass.

When you see someone driving the same make, model and colour as you, send them "Good tidings". Acknowledge your road twins and give your Christmas car doppelganger the festive wave.

You've put up the tree, you've bought presents, you've got a big-arse ham, 4-dozen beers and a bottle of semi-flash bubbles in the fridge.

But you're not a great New Zealander until you show good cheer on the roads.

So this holiday while your engine rumbles like the Little Drummer Boy "Pa-rum pum pum pum, Rum pum pum pum. Rum pum pum pum" (bit of a stretch that one), make sure you wish your fellow travellers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Either that or get ready for a big lump of coal up your stocking.

This article was first published on and is republished here with permission.