Oh, this is probably my top moan ever. I really hate bad drivers, and some days you just seem to get them all on the road at once, like yesterday.
I’m off on holiday and decided to drive to the bottle bank then off to the new Doctors to register. Well, we’re new to the area, not the Doctor. Anyway…two incredibly annoying and stupid incidents that just made me think about the arrogance of people in their cars.
I was driving along towards a junction that has a right and left lane, but before that the road has no markings and is about wide enough for two cars side by side, just.
So I’m on the left hand side waiting in quite a queue of traffic for the lights to change, and it’s about it’s third go at green and I reckon I’m in line to get through on the fourth.
Since I love my car and want to look after it, mainly by not being in an accident, I am very aware of space around it.
Space in particular means braking zone and leaving enough space to drive around something in front of you.
So. I’m sitting there with about four feet in front of me, and as you always see, the cars creep forward a little and everyone crams up behind just in case that extra foot means life or death.
Well I didn’t. I just sat and thought there’s no need for me to race forward until the lights change. So the gap is up to about five or six feet now.
Then I caught glimpse of a car coming from behind and I thought, “that’s odd, it’s very far out to the right”. Well, they had decided to drive around me and pull into the small gap I’d left just as the lights changed and the traffic moved.
I started to move forward and this car just cut right in front of me, into a five(ish) foot and rapidly closing gap. I, of course, sounded my horn in anger and as a warning to the driver that they were about to hit me, and that really is not an exaggeration.
As some will know, I’m very good about the size of my car and driving it through spaces where some might think it wouldn’t fit. I can just tell these things, and I need to with the size of my garage! So I was shocked that I was concerned how close it was.
The driver just pushed the car in regardless and gave a little wave. Well at least they managed to get one car in front and save themselves all that time, luckily they didn’t need to fork out for a new nose on my car. Mind you, if I lacked the strong self control I have (no laughing) I would have been forking out for a new nose on that driver!
Space and braking distance is something that really is ignored by most drivers. When I’m on the dual carriageways or motorways I always try and keep a decent braking distance between cars (I’m not perfect, but I do try for the majority), but what happens? Someone pulls into the space and you have to back off again, then someone else pulls in, etc. It’s infuriating and you can see why some of those drivers don’t leave enough space.
So, that was the first one. The second one is related and was while I was driving back home and was stuck in a queue at some temporary traffic lights. The road is quite narrow but very busy, parking both sides and two way traffic with workmen blocking the section to one lane (probably to pressure people into going with congestion charging!).
Sitting in the queue I had made sure there was space in front of me again, but noticed that no one else had. A van was pushed up against my rear and the cars around were doing similar to the cars in front.
Suddenly, siren sounds. I started looking out for lights and then saw them from behind so I pulled in to the side of the road and waited. Luckily I had the space to do so, and with me moving in there was space for the van behind to do the same.
Not so with the cars around us though. The vehicle in front had to turn steeply and just drive onto the pavement (at a school crossing no less) and others did similar strange manoeuvres, all with a Fire Engine sitting waiting with it’s lights and sirens blazing.
It even had to wait at the temporary traffic lights as a driver idled slowly forward through them, perhaps they were thinking they had right of way as the lights were at green.
Madness. Why people can’t just leave the space around them and take notice of the Highway Code, I don’t know. The Code is there for a reason, it’s not best practice, it’s to keep your car, you and your passengers and other drivers and passengers safe, and alive.
I keep seeing such arrogant behaviour on the roads where drivers just believe it’s their unalienable right to drive into that box junction and block it, or push through those red lights, or block the entire cycle lane, etc. These things can cause deaths and injuries.
Time and time again you see drivers not care about Fire Engines and Ambulances, especially at rush hour. A number of times I’ve seen an Ambulance stuck on Leith Walk in rush hour traffic waiting for cars to move. Just sitting there, lights and sirens going and no one doing anything. Someone’s life could be ebbing away and these people are concerned about their place in the queue, or they haven’t left enough space to manoeuvre.
It seems as soon as people get into their cars that safety cage around them gives them unbreakable arrogance. Perhaps it’s knowing that their car is safe, perhaps it’s the power of the engine, who knows. They just need a hit of reality to realise the indirect affect.
Hopefully that wouldn’t mean an accident causing injury or death, in my case it’s years of riding a bicycle in towns (and obeying the road law as any other vehicle!) and driving a motorbike.
Perhaps the motorbike test should be compulsory for all road users. I remember my instructor telling me “Imagine all the drivers on the road are out to kill you. Then you should be safe.”, that and the fact you had to make so many checks around you when turning, it really made you aware of your vulnerability.
So drivers, if you’re not being aware of everything around you, start, and realise that saving a cars length or a few seconds on a journey isn’t going to help if it ends up in an accident.