Dear Driving Dunderheads

Dear Driving Dunderheads,

I’m guessing you are very kind, considerate people, probably lovely and thoughtful. However, you really need to understand the way mini-roundabouts work on the roads – yes, I know they are a ridiculous way to manage traffic at what had been a T-junction, but the same principles apply to them as apply to big roundabouts. It’s very simple, you give way to traffic from the right and you have precedence over traffic waiting on your left. So if you arrive at a min-roundabout at the same time as a person on your left, then don’t politely wait for them – you will just confuse them because they are waiting for you to properly enter the mini roundabout (‘entering a roundabout‘ is how our satnav Hilda describes it) The rule applies even if you can see the whites of the eyes of the driver on your left… I grant you, a real difficulty arises if three drivers from the three different directions all arrive at the same time – even worse if the junction used to be a crossroads with four drivers all gazing across the mini-roundabout at each other.

A similar difficulty arises, dear dunderheaded courteous driver, at the bottom of hills; as someone going up the hill, you have precedence over someone coming down the hill, so if it narrows for some reason – possibly a carelessly parked car, you can forge straight ahead uphill, and wave at the other polite and correct driver waiting for you at the top.

With both these situations, the mini-roundabout and the narrowed uphill carriageway, the ‘you go first, no, you go first, no I insist you go first’, just causes tailbacks in all directions. However, dear dunderheads, I applaud your courtesy, but just wish you would read the highway code – in both cases it is your right of way and you are not being rude by not taking it!

Thank you.

Dear Crazy Drivers…

Dear Crazy Drivers,

Yes you – you know who I mean, you were tailgating me as we went into Bristol. I was in the correct lane for where I was going and even if I had wanted to pull over into the inside lane to let you past me, I couldn’t safely do so. However, you thought it was safe to swing into that lane, undertake me, and then swing across in front of me. Once in front of me you couldn’t go any faster than I was because of the vehicle in front. A few minutes further on and you swerved back into the inside lane to take the exit… You were driving a van so maybe you were going to work, well, I hope you got there safely, and I hope the other vehicles travelling in the same direction also managed to get there safely with you no doubt tailgating them and bobbing and weaving…

And I’m also talking to you, crazy motorbike rider – you with the under-powered bike. We were travelling out of the city, along a 50 mph road with cross-hatching along the centre between the two opposing carriageways and bollards every couple of hundred yards. The purpose of this was to stop people overtaking on a fast and dangerous stretch of road. Did this not occur to you? I was rattling along at just under the speed limit, some way back from a scaffolding lorry which was belting along nicely at the required 50 mph. You struggled past me on your red bike, managed to get some momentum as we went down a hill, but then, as we went up the other side, approaching a bend in the road round which no-one with normal eyes could see, you decided to overtake the scaffolding lorry. You just didn’t have the power did you? There was on coming traffic but I thought for a moment you were going to go the wrong side round the bollard, but fortunately no, you squeezed in front of the scaffolding lorry and on you went. I hope you reached your destination safely, and didn’t give any other road users near heart-attacks.

Oh and by the way, scaffolding lorry, I hope you got to the place you were going to erect your scaffold without any of your poles coming off the back of the truck – I kept well back from you just in case they did. And I really think you ought to pop into the garage, your lorry sounded as if it was being powered by a metal-cutting saw – I presume it wasn’t.

Thank you for your attention,

yours sincerely

an ordinary road user

PS just in case you don’t know or have forgotten, here is what rule 130 of The Highway Code says:

Rule 130

Areas of white diagonal stripes or chevrons painted on the road. These are to separate traffic lanes or to protect traffic turning right.

  • If the area is bordered by a broken white line, you should not enter the area unless it is necessary and you can see that it is safe to do so.
  • If the area is marked with chevrons and bordered by solid white lines you MUST NOT enter it except in an emergency.

More motorway news

A few days ago I wrote about annoying motorway drivers – not necessarily people driving illegally or doing anything wrong, but just with very annoying  habits and I gave my top five as:

  • Don’t dare overtake me! (Drivers who speed up as you attempt to pass)
  • How dare you overtake me! (Drivers who overtake you as soon as you overtake them)
  • I hope I’m not upsetting you by overtaking you! (Drivers who start to overtake but then just cruise along beside you)
  • I don’t wish to overtake you, I want you to move out of my way! (Drivers who want you to move out of their way rather than overtaking you)
  • Swingers. (Drivers who swing back into the inside lane even if moment later they have to move back to overtake another vehicle)

Having just spent quite a few hours on the motorway again today, I noticed some other strange behaviours. Here are my top five M5/M6 odd drivers

  • I want to be your friend (I’m actually stalking you) I try and drive at a regular safe speed within the limits, and I try to hang back from the car in front and not drive too close. Every so often, another driver will come up behind me , and I might move to the inside lane so s/he can overtake… but they don’t, they pull in behind me. When I move to overtake something, so do they. If I speed up a bit going up a hill to overtake a crawler, so do they. If I slow down a bit so they can overtake me, they slow down too. If other cars come between us, then within a little while they have caught up and are tucked in behind me again. GO AWAY! i DON’T LIKE YOU, I DON’T WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND!
  • Help me! I’m terrified! Every so often a nervous driver gets trapped in a lane s/he doesn’t want to be in and drives slowly, crouched over the steering wheel, ignoring any helpful drivers who flash them to pull into the inner lane, or furious drivers who flash them to get out of the way. If they are in the inside lane they often drive so close to the vehicle in front because they are scared of overtaking. Quite often the expression on their face is one of amazed horror that somehow they have got onto a motorway at all when all they wanted to do was pop down the shop for a packet of frozen peas.
  • I am a superb driver. This is a quote from Inspector Derek Grim, from ‘A Thin Blue Line’ (David Haig) These pedantic drivers are indeed very good drivers, but are somehow extraordinarily irritating. They will hog the middle lane driving at exactly and precisely 70 miles per hour and are quite often also swingers (see above)  At the same time, they are also quite capable of flashing people who they think are driving incorrectly.
  • I can drive really fast like this.… or I can drive r e a l l y   s l o w  l y . . .  l i k e t h i s . . . I don’t know why it annoys me but it does, people who creep along, and you overtake them, then minutes later they flash past at ninety and disappear over the horizon… a few miles further on, there they are creeping along  with a queue of other cars trapped behind them. When the other drivers manage to get past them, it won’t be long before zam! and they zoom past again.
  • Who are you? I hate you! It doesn’t happen very often, but it is quite unsettling when it does; it can happen when you are overtaking, or being overtaken, and the driver and/or the passenger stare menacingly at you as if you have committed some appalling motorway faux pas, or contravened a most important stricture of the Highway Code, or done some other heinous motoring crime.