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Fannying About On A Roundabout

Stop me if you’ve heard this. This one’s about driving standards. You’re driving up to a roundabout, right, and.. No. Wait. Come back. Let me tell it to you my way. Okay, you’re driving up to a roundabout, right? Let’s say the roundabout is, entirely hypothetically, a three-point mini-roundabout in Marlborough. There are cars stopped at all three junctions.

At The Roundabout

Now, we have a rule in the UK to the effect that drivers must give way to the right. It’s a matter of etiquette and traffic flow. Then why was the hypothetical brainless berk to my right just sitting there with a look of desperate confusion on his face as I waited for him?

This meant that the bloke at the other junction was looking at me in keen anticipation, ready to move; foot twitching on the throttle. Result; all three cars were stationary. We sat there looking at each other for so long I started to rust. In despair, I took the decision to go first, like the final gunfight in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I despaired because this is an all too frequent occurrence. Much is made of speed and anti-social driving. We all know what the cameras are for but what about the ditherers? As you might expect, I drive a lot and see a lot of driving, much of it average at best. It’s all about our driving standards. People seem to me to be less alert and less able at the wheel.

At The Junction

There is a chilling road safety piece sometimes shown on TV that has a car driver failing to see a fast approaching motor cyclist with the inevitable horrific consequences. I have lost count of the number of times I have been driving along and seen a vehicle waiting at the exit of a side road with the driver looking at me in the distance. You can almost see their mind working.

The trouble is, whilst they have been dithering about making their assessment I have come within danger distance. Only then do they pull out. It is as if the decision they reached was formed by the impression they had many seconds previously. By this time I am breaking hard and mouthing a crash course in very basic Anglo-Saxon. They can’t hear me but they can understand exactly what I am are saying.

At The Traffic Lights

Driving along a road. A couple of hundred metres away you can see a set of traffic lights and, it being you, they start to change back to red. Why does the car in front start slowing at that point? The end result is that a queue of cars is creeping towards the lights at one mile per hour. What is this bloke doing (it is always men)? Does he think that he is saving fuel by engaging first gear? Is he exercising mind control over the lights so that he doesn’t have to come to a halt? Has he had an idea for a poem and is jotting it down? Who knows?

In The Middle Lane

Need I say more?

Devices R Us

There are many frustrations and dangers that come with modern age driving and they are not all caused by speed. Fill in your pet hates. It is well and truly clear by now that devices and technology hold the key to bad or careless or thoughtless driving. There’s nothing wrong with having the latest thing, it is how we use it that’s the problem. The mobile telephone being at the top of the list, as you know.

It is said now by ‘experts’ that even hands-free is distracting. Fiddling with dashboard features is too. Great if you’re parked but on the move? There are even instances of thickos using tablets at the wheel. It beggars belief. The snag is – he says, returning to an all too familiar theme – there is nobody to see them and by that I mean real live police. Nothing will change until there are boots back on the ground.

All the emphasis is on speed. Poor driving is rife and causes much anger and frustration in other motorists. That includes fannying about on roundabouts. If you come across a car that has spontaneously and furiously exploded, that’ll be me.

Geoff Maxted

P.S. No, I’m not Mr Perfect. We all make mistakes. But I don’t do dithering.