Here’s another of my Traffic Fury rants. This time we had occasion to drive to Western-super-Mare the other day which entailed using the M4 and M5, possibly the most boring stretches of motorway ever. To entertain and inform we decided to keep actual real notes about driving standards; a sort of automotive version of Ten Green Bottles. This is the plain, unvarnished account of misdemeanours witnessed:
Motorway Middle Hoggers
On a quiet day with low traffic and no hold-ups we still spotted no less than six drivers who hogged the middle lane for a period of several miles, often at less than 70mph with a clear motorway inner lane to their left (we followed to put it to the test).
The shocking thing is, and here I have to pause for a sharp intake of breath, they were not old farts or arsey road reps, no: They were all women aged approximately between thirty and fifty. It’s no good looking like that ladies, we can’t sugar-coat this. Even Mrs DriveWrite sat there muttering ‘Sisters, Sisters’ in a disappointed tone.
This to us highlights the fact that spy cameras that issue fines for the slightest speed transgression may be popular with authorities but they do not do the job when it comes to monitoring the highways and byways of Britain.
At no point did we see a proper copper maintaining order and witnessing the illegal lane-hogging and taking some form of remedial chastisement. All it takes is for a cruiser to pull along aside and remind people of their responsibilities without having to give them a financial kicking.
And the same goes for all the other…
As mentioned, the M roads were blissfully and unusually quiet so there really are no excuses.
It started even as we joined the M4 at J16. An electrician in a white van found himself baulked by roadworks and in the wrong lane. He flicked on his indicator and at the very same instant pulled sharply in front of our test vehicle, an excellent Ford Ranger (more soon on that): a motorway bully. His look told us that he really and truly didn’t give a flying duck what we thought.
And that’s the point. On both the out and back journeys we witnessed the same old things. Nothing has changed. Indicating is meant to be a signal of intention, not a token to excuse bad driving or a method to force a space. Tail-gating, like middle lane hogging is meant to be illegal, although many seem unaware of that.
The Motorway Conclusion
We spotted several cars lane-wandering where the driver was otherwise occupied; one instance of a delivery driver shuffling through paperwork whilst driving at speed and no less than eight idiots on the phone. In the space of approximately three hours we proved quite clearly that driving standards are getting worse not better.
The stuffed shirts in Whitehall can make as many rules as they like and write them down in leather-bound books for posterity but if there’s nobody there to enforce them then what’s the point of all that Westminster hot air? Geoff Maxted