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A Personal Rant: Nine things that drive me insane about driving

Michele, Rants, Room 101

Jemima with road rage

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.

  1. “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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Cyclists. Especially Motorcyclists. I don’t feel any further explanation is needed here.
  7. 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.
  8. 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’.
  9. 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.

Big sister driving

  1. My number 1 hate when driving …. when someone driving down the road stops for no reason to let someone in from a side street.
    That is why there is a Give Way sign on the side street you numpty driver.

    1. The optimist in me wants to argue they are being courteous but of course you are right, thats annoying. Think they come under the ‘irrational driving category’ and are probably the same people who stop to chat with their mates in the middle of the road, In fact its probably one of their mates they’re giving way to. Thanks as always for reading and your support in writing.

    1. I’m glad you agree. I did feel a little guilty moaning about cyclists as they are usually such healthy bods and aren’t damaging the environment like I do when I drive but facts are facts and they are dangerous and annoying. Thanks so much for taking the time to read, RT and comment, it really means a lot to me.

  2. Well driving is very close to my heart right now as I will be soon allowing my teenage child to drive. Everyone beware. I may be guilty of number 3 but I usually allow enough room for the car behind to pass me. I think also I am guilty of number 9 because I am one of those lollipop ladies…..oh dear. I usually give my kids whiplash when I see a safety camera because I jam on my breaks. Not so safe! Driving in the U.K. I don’t think I am brave enough anymore!

    1. Loving your honesty about number 3! I am also relieved that you see the irony of the “safety” camera. Hadn’t thought about whiplash I hope my children don’t suffer when I jam on the breaks too. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment, very decent of you.

  3. I’m noticing how many more people change lanes on a motorway without signalling, even when cutting in. I’m sorry to say my children have learnt a ripe vocabulary from my battles with White Van man. In fact, ‘Bugger’ was one of the first words my daughter articulated!

    1. How could I have not included white van men and people not indicating? These offenders should go to the very top of the list! Thanks so much for taking the time to read & comment, its very comforting to know I’m not alone in my irritation!

  4. brilliant piece,though I daresay in the near future you will add a tenth.
    two little dulcet voices in the back hollering…………..mummy are we there yet…………………..ah the expectations that still irritate after the 10th times in 10 minutes………………………..
    but really we love it………………….enjoy the drive

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