Every person who drives a car likes to believe that they are a good driver. It seems unlikely that, when asked about their driving standards, an individual would cheerfully raise their hand and admit to being hopeless behind the wheel. “Me! Me! Pick Me! I can’t drive to save my life! Or yours”! Not going to happen is it?
Yet we all make motoring mistakes all the time. Now, I know what you’re thinking; surely DriveWrite isn’t owning up to error? Well, let’s just say that it isn’t entirely unknown for me to not quite live up to my own driving standards, that’s all I’m admitting to.
The Highway Code & Driving Standards
It has come to my attention that apparently up to two thirds of UK motorists do not have a full word for word grasp of the latest issue of The Highway Code. This is to be expected. How many of us even look at the thing once we’ve passed the driving test? Rules change but the sad fact is that our own driving habits fail to change with them. Is this a timely reminder to bone up on the latest even if it’s about as exciting a read as your old school reports.
Inevitably, speeding is the most common motoring offence although this may be because the authorities have such a bee in their bonnet about it. Our lovely government considered, sensibly, raising the motorway limit to 80mph and then bottled it as usual. Speed of itself doesn’t kill. It is how you use it that does the damage. Thus speeding inappropriately in the wrong place causes accidents and plenty of them. That is why we sensibly have speed limits even if some of them are over-zealously applied by car-hating, money-grabbing apparatchiks. It would be nice to think that we could leave it to the drivers to be sensible; alas that cannot be because there are too many stupid people on our roads.
More attention is now being given to distracted driving. There is a law against using a mobile device whilst driving although you wouldn’t think it to look about on the highways. These idiots think they are inviolable, if indeed they think at all. Sadly, few get caught because of a disgraceful absence of traffic cops (what you get when accountants instead of thief-takers run the police). There seems to be more of a will to make laws rather than enforce them.
We Are All Culpable
From time to time we all do something a little bit illegal or chancy on the road. We moan like buggery and deliver a universal hand-gesture when we see an unworthy dolt flouting the rules. Examples include not being as attentive as it is necessary to be at junctions or parking in a disabled bay (“Well, I was only going to be a minute…”) or taking two bays in a crowded supermarket or doing dodgy u-turns or undertaking or driving at thirty-five in a thirty limit or fiddling with the infotainment centre at speed…. The fact is most of us have done something of this ilk, albeit perhaps inadvertently. Just because the outcome is usually okay doesn’t make it right of course.
We are only human. We are fallible. We make mistakes. This is why authorities are so hot for autonomous cars, even if we, the motorists, are ambivalent about the boring things. We are to be saved from ourselves although don’t act too surprised when the reality doesn’t match the dream.
So don’t delay. Hasten ye to W.H. Smith’s and pick up a Highway Code. I guarantee it will contain a revelation. Failing that at least give your driving standards some thought. Next time it could be you. Geoff Maxted