Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Guest post from Steve: Grind my Gears

Hey all, its been a while…

Just read this article on Which got me thinking about the things I hate that happen on the road. Obviously we all hate roadworks, speed cameras, etc. So my rant will be based on people, and what they do when let loose behind (or near) a steering wheel.

Actually, this is a complete lie. I rarely think about these things. I just shout them whilst in my car with my very loud music on. But this isn’t entirely relevant to this discussion, except for removing any doubt that I’m at least a little bit insane.

So, in no particular order, here’s my list of driving related things that annoy me:

*People who have their lights on at the wrong time

Why do people have their headlights on in the middle of a bright day? Or when it gets slightly dark? If you need help seeing ahead of you when it’s light, you shouldn’t be on the road. And if you’ve got your lights on so other people can see you, then you must think everyone else is too blind to be on the road, in which case, you would be infinitely safer off the road! See the theme here?

*People who undertake to avoid a queue

For those of you not based in the UK, undertaking is illegal here. Sometimes, when you’re faced with the infamous “middle lane hog”, it’s a fair tactic. Or if someone is driving at 60 in the fast lane for no apparent reason, it’s a necessity.

When it annoys the hell out of me is when there is obviously a queue being formed in the fast lane to get past a slow moving vehicle, and someone joins the back of queue for about three nanoseconds before racing down the inside to cut someone up further ahead in the queue.

I fear I will have to resort to metaphor here: Imagine queuing in a supermarket, with three people in front of you. You decide it’s a bit boring, so climb on the counter, push someone backwards so there’s a space to fit back in, and hop to the front of the queue. Would you do this? No. So don’t do it on the road.

*Driving instructors who take their charges through the busiest parts of town in rush hour

Why?! The day is very long. Rush hour lasts for, well, an hour. I guess. Why would you do this to a learner? As if they don’t have enough pressure!

And, more selfishly, as if there isn’t quite enough traffic on the road already, you feel you need to add to it?

*People who tailgate 

You may feel this is very hypocritical of me. You are correct. Sorry. But when I’m driving at a perfectly acceptable speed, is it necessary for people to drive six inches behind, with lights flashing and horn going? No. Is it going to make me slow down to inconvenience them as much as possible? Yes. Be warned.

*People who brake ridiculously suddenly

You may have noticed a theme running through here. I get concerned about little things that aren’t dangerous, just annoying and generally impolite. But this one is different.

You occasionally have the misfortune of driving directly behind some nutcase who feels that their brake pedal has two settings: Full and Off. No middle-ground for them! Just grinding to a halt and hoping that everyone else reacts like a tennis player facing Andy Roddick’s serve. These people are under some kind of illusion that we can magically see through their eyes, into their brain, and know exactly when they are going to brake, and thus enable us to synchronize perfectly. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Its dangerous, not to mention really expensive on tyres, petrol and brake pads.

Pure conjecture, but I bet a large majority of shunts on motorways are caused by these people.

And that’s it. One last note, if these things don’t annoy you, you’re probably doing them yourself. Thanks.

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