I used to love driving. As a Sales Rep I was happy to drive over 30,000 miles a year because I enjoyed life on the road. My car was my castle but I was happy to obey the rules of the road. You see “back in the day” the rules made sense. There was the courtesy of “never causing another driver to slow down”. An amber light clearly meant “proceed with caution” not flap about whether to go or not in case it changes and you get done for running a red light. The rules used to mean safer roads and happier driving
I realise I am fortunate to have a car and still love the freedom of driving. It gives me the flexibility to see my friends and family 200 miles away and I can take my girls to activities I wouldn’t be able to on public transport but lately I just don’t find it fun anymore. I find driving brings out the worst in people, myself included. So maybe by raising the following issues that really get under my skin, I’ll find a way to enjoy it again.
- “Safety” cameras. Its an obvious one I know and I realise we need something to slow us all down but I believe they may now be a paradox and cause more accidents than they prevent. So many of us have our eyes fixed on the speedometer to ensure we’re not going to get caught doing 34 in a 30, would we notice if a pterodactyl let alone a pedestrian hopped out in front of us. Within a few miles, the speed limit can change from 30 to 40 to 50, there is just no consistency anymore. Its a constant worry you could tot up enough penalty points to lose your license within minutes.
- Inconsiderate parking. Blocking someone else in so they can’t get back into their cars and move, is just not on. Or my current bugbear is people parking in the parent & child bays when they don’t need to. As a general rule if your baby has boobs and/or facial hair its time to back away from the baby bays.
- Irrational driving. It infuriates me when people beep if they see one of their mates then stop abruptly to have a conversation with said mate in the middle of the road. This shows no consideration for the car behind who may be by now inserted up their bumper. Do these people not have mobile phones to speak to each other with? Ah yes they do, I know this because they are probably the same offenders who lurk at traffic lights and instead of moving when the lights turn green they make a phone call.
- Unnecessary signage in cars. You know the sort of thing, “Honk, if you’re horny”, no thanks driving doesn’t do it for me anymore. “Grandparent driving”, relevance? “Baby on board”, unless the baby is driving do I really need to know? Now I am happy to change pretty much everything for the sake of my babies but my point is we should all be driving with the utmost of care anyway not specifically because there may a baby on board. These stickers are irrelevant and just another distraction
- Ambiguous or poor Signage. You know where the teeny, tiny sign explaining this lovely, inviting, open, empty road is actually a bus lane, is discreetly positioned behind a big fluffy bush. We need a huge, highly visible No entry sign, stating in big red letters “Bus lane only!”. I don’t know anyone who would risk flying down a bus lane to save time but I know lots of people who’ve made a mistake only to receive a high quality photo of themselves ‘caught in the act’ & a big fat fine in the post.
- Cyclists. Especially Motorcyclists. I don’t feel any further explanation is needed here.
- People gesticulating inappropriately. Hypocritical as I’ve delivered many a well placed V sign in my time. But lets give it up and get over it, we all make mistakes.
- GPS systems. Again hypocritical as I am (literally) lost without mine but we are so dependent on them now. I realise maps had disadvantages as I remember a colleague of mine drove into a skip he was so busy looking down at a map but at least maps helped us maintain a sense of direction. Now you see people dither about helplessly looking desperately at their Sat Nav when it suffers from “lost satellite reception’.
- Jaywalkers including Lollipop Ladies (or is it politically correct to call them Lollipop people?) This is my final piece of hypocrisy as in the days before child when I thought I was invincible I would happily peg it across the road instead of waiting at a Zebra crossing. Now I realise with everything else a motorist must put up with, jaywalking is just not fair.
In my driving hay day I could be incredibly nervous about a meeting but when I slid into my Vauxhall Cavalier, rolled the windows down, popped the sunroof up and turned the stereo on, a sea of calm used to wash over me. These days I’m usually lucky enough to be driving somewhere fun for example a Baby Massage class, but by the time I get there I’m so tense its me who’s in need of a massage not the baby.
So what can we do to, to make driving a more positive experience? How about in the unlikely event you go a year without getting a speeding ticket you get 10% off your road tax? There’s got to be something that will encourage us to drive safely instead of constantly penalising us for our mistakes?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one before it gets to late. Because you know those grumpy old geezers who rant inanely over the steering wheel? Well I fear without your help, I may become one.