Tag Archive | "driving habits"

It’s Official – Where You Live Matters

When it comes to driving standards that is. The sober and august body of public guardians known to us as the DVLA have said so, so it must be true. Their figures derive from 2012 results.

Yes, that’s right, people of Smethwick in the West Midlands, we are talking to you, or about you, depending. It seems that this rascally section of the populace had more drivers banned than any other part of mainland Britain. 0.77% of them to be precise.

And it’s no good you lot in West Bromwich, just up the road, looking all superior either – you are nearly as bad with 0.73% getting your licences revoked.  In in terms of actual population number that’s 191 people in West Brom against 160 in Smethwick who have taken reluctantly to public transport.

It seems like the DVLA has it in for the Midlands but, in fact, there are pockets of miscreants scattered about the country. The Welsh, for example, need not be all superior because in Merthyr Tydfil 163 drivers had their licences suspended. So it goes on around the country. How, for example, can 131 souls in Peterhead lose their right to drive? They will be presumably be let off come independence because the DVLA will be south of the border.

Overall, in 2012, 113,646 people were banned from driving on the mainland. Obviously that’s only a tiny fraction of the population but you get bet that many, many more fell foul of the many, many rules and regulations we are subjected to. Speed camera penalties run into the millions.

Recent experience has shown that driving standards are dropping and that the guilty parties come from all the age groups and both experienced and new drivers. The reason is clear. The lack of a police presence on our roads. The sight of a police motor is all that is needed for drivers to moderate their attitude.

Unfortunately there is too much reliance on machines to do the job, but machines can’t see the mobile phone (and tablet!) users, the eaters and drinkers and all the other daft things that some drivers get up to. These as much as speed are the cause of accidents but machines cannot make value judgements. The sad truth is that if we went back to the old ways of doing things, there would be even more disgruntled, banned drivers at the bus stops of Britain.

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New Driving Rants

Picture this. You are driving down a typically British rutted two-lane road. You know that you are approaching a serious pothole and that you’ll need to move to the crown of the road to avoid it. In the distance you see a lone car approaching at about the same speed as you. You just know, don’t you, that the car will arrive at the pothole at exactly the same time, thus requiring you to hold your line and drop a wheel in. It’s no good slowing down because the other bloke will think there is something amiss and slow down too.

This is just one of things that make drivers steam with impotent rage and frustration. You know all the usual ones – middle-lane hoggers; people who don’t indicate and so on but there are others starting to appear in the great lexicon of motoring misery:

The Economist. This is the chap (it’s usually men – ladies tend not to notice lights until the last second because they are doing their hair) who begins to slow down to a crawl at least one hundred metres from a red traffic light. Why does he do this? Is he on an economy drive? Does he really think that manufacturers mpg figures are achievable? Or does he believe that by doing this he will arrive at the lights just as they change? It’s a mystery. Who are these anoraks?

The Plastic Glove. These are available on garage forecourts. Often, through sloppy handling, pump handles can pong a bit and it gets on your hands. For the rest of the day people around you will be saying in a vague sort of way, “Can anyone smell petrol?”. This is why plastic gloves are provided free in dispensers on the pumps. So why is it that when you want to buy petrol the dispensers are always empty? This happens all the time. If you are a passenger in someone else’s car the holders will be overflowing with the things but never when it is you who is filling up. Where do they go?

The Access Road. These ramps are supplied for cars leaving a side road to join a main road. The idea is for cars joining the major route to filter into the traffic. The average road speed on the main drag will always be considerably higher than that of the entering traffic so why do people persist in maintaining the side road speed as they drive down the ramp and enter the traffic stream? This causes all sorts of mayhem and may well occasion the ‘domino-effect’ on the through traffic. It can also cause the hapless followers to come almost to a halt and have to desperately accelerate at the last minute! Who taught these people to drive?

The Truck Trap. You’ll recognise this one. There you are, dutifully driving along on the inside lane, when you come up behind a lorry. You shift a gear, prepare to indicate and accelerate and….the guy behind you pulls out to pass and traps you behind the truck. All the other vehicles behind him have seen this and are making their move! Trapped! Doomed to travel miles behind a lumbering lorry which, almost inevitably, is carrying smelly farm slurry. Whatever happened to good road manners?

There we have it. All these things are as inevitable as the changing of the seasons and the tides of the sea. If you have any new bad motoring experiences, why not share them with us?

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