Duck shover

Duck-shove is first recorded in The Australian National Dictionary from 1870 to describe the pushy behaviour of Melbourne cab drivers. It seems to have grown out of observations of ducklings, waddling in an orderly queue behind mother duck. The idea is that there’s always one little duck that is pushy, and elbows the others aside to get what it wants. If that is correct, then it means that the original duck-shoving was actually done by ducks – from where it extended to human behaviour that involves “elbowing others”. (Thanks to ABC News Radio for this excerpt).

There don’t appear to have been any trucks rumbling around the roads back in 1870, Jackie Howe had only just invented the singlet and Ruthven Street in Toowoomba was evidently a different place to today…

Ruthven Street, Toowoomba

Ruthven Street, Toowoomba 1870's

… Duck Shoving had obviously already become a problem.

In the transport game today Duck Shoving takes place most commonly in the line up to the wharves and grain silos around the nation and is frowned upon by all but continues to occur.

The version that I come across most often is the dill who dives in from of me at the lights to get that little bit ahead of the rest. Nine times out of 10 they are still no further ahead 30 minutes later when you get to the other side of town and upon sighting the wide open expanse of the highway they turn to water and get under foot.

Before you duck in front of a semi at the lights next time, have a look at the photo below. The driver in front of me thought he could get ahead. He’s not the white car either, the little black hatch behind him!

Duck shover

Duck shover

I had a similar experience later in the week also but with a guy towing a box trailer, I could still see the car but had a nasty turn when I launched on green and then remembered he was towing a trailer when he ducked in front. Had I not remembered at the last minute he would have been in danger of carrying a very heavy front axle… mine!

As Mr T would say… “Drive safe, Fool”