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Automotive Horrors We Can’t Abide

Surveys. Where would we be without surveys? For example, When we have a general election the pollsters are out and about bringing us their view of the outcome. If you take their advice you can take comfort in the fact that you will be entirely wrong about the result. There is however one group that you can poll and ensure you will get an honest response. Motorists. For example, a new poll shows that within their own ranks there are persons for whom a special and long-standing disapprobation is reserved.

This then is what we think about some of our fellow car owners, courtesy of the AA: More than one quarter of drivers think that people throwing rubbish out the window is the most annoying habit in the summer, according to the AA Populus poll of 21,877 members. Only a quarter? It seems to me that in this day and age that figure should be much higher. Only 17% of the 18-24 group thought throwing rubbish out the window is annoying which suggests they might throw rubbish out the window themselves, the little rotters.

One third of the 45-54 age group thought throwing rubbish out the window is the most annoying thing which perhaps shows they are less likely to throw rubbish out the window. Scottish drivers are the least likely to highlight car litter louts whilst drivers in the East Midlands are most likely to highlight this problem. Why that should be nobody has explained.

In a way, none of this is very promising is it? You would think that a vast majority of folk would abhor this practice. Of course, we don’t know how representative, as ever, this poll is but it doesn’t look good on the face of it.

In the last three years apparently there have been over 364,000 bags of litter collected from the roadsides along England’s main roads according to Highways England. That is over 330 bags collected a day, and each bag roughly costs £40 to tax payers. The total sum spent on collecting rubbish from the roadside is over £14,500,000. Collecting the litter also puts workers lives at risk it is alleged and you can see why. Imagine what could be done with that cash! They could spend it on road surfacing for starters.

The top ten automotive summer pet hates are:

1. Car Litter louts.

2. Large groups of cyclists.

3. Dodgy parkers.

4. Slow caravans.

5. Car ghetto blasters. (Whoever did this survey should catch up on technology!)

6. Dawdling drivers.

7. Sightseers.

8. Tractor Boys.

9. Overloaded cars.

10. Groups of motorcyclists.

Forty people also mentioned half-naked drivers as a turn-off. I expect this one was hotly contested as there are – how can I put this – certain variables. The top ten list is likely to make anyone seethe. Personally, I can’t abide dawdlers in a car or on foot. I reserve a special loathing for perfectly healthy people who slump across supermarket trolleys and creep about the shop for example. I want to push them right in and shove the trolley out of the door and into the car park.

Commenting on the poll, Edmund King, AA president, said: “Car litter louts are a needless menace who cost the country millions, spoil our environment and put road workers’ lives at risk. There is no excuse for tossing out litter. Car occupants should bag it and bin it at home. Many of the other pet hates concerned groups slowing drivers down by being lost, slow or indecisive. Drivers need to be more patient in the summer on the roads because anything can happen. By checking your car, route and being prepared, means that drivers are less likely to get hot under the collar and more likely to reach their destinations safely.”

Who are these people who offend us so? I’ll tell you. It is us. If the idea of flinging litter about appals you, it may be that you are guilty of parking poorly. If you hate those skinny, Lycra-clad two-wheelers it might be that you drive at ten miles per hour swivelling your head around like a Japanese tourist in Wonderland.

We are all culpable, one way or another. We hide these guilty secrets behind our blameless exteriors. There is a one-size solution that fits all. Behave better. Think more. Think smarter. Go on: have another look at the list. Feel good about your automotive self. Geoff Maxted