Some people may remember that I used to keep a separate list of people who had behaved incredibly stupidly in front of me (and, mainly, my pupils during lessons) – a sort of name-and-shame. I stopped doing it because it was getting too big. The number of people behaving stupidly appears to be almost the majority of road users these days.
When teaching, I always educate my pupils in the ways of the real world, and not just the 30-40 minute snapshot that is their driving test (I had a pupil a few months ago pass his test in just under 30 minutes). For example:
- weekend (or “Sunday”) drivers are a real and dangerous phenomenon
- all Audi drivers are complete lunatics and just have to overtake you
- boyracers in pratmobiles always behave like… prats
- all white van drivers are just older boyracers
- all taxi drivers are specially trained to behave in a manner which would get a normal driver pulled over in seconds, and yet they get away with it
Obviously, there are plenty more. But you get the idea.
I was driving with a pupil over Trent Bridge this morning, towards West Bridgford. We were in the left lane to turn into West Bridgford town centre. I heard a noise and noticed a green Land Rover Discovery with 4-inch twin prat-pipes fitted (reg no. P968 KCF ) go past at some speed in the outside lane. The lights at the Trent Bridge Inn were on red at the time, but they just changed as we approached – and the Land Rover suddenly cut across from the right lane… over the middle lane… over OUR lane (just in front of us), and into the left filter lane to go down Radcliffe Road. I haven’t a clue how he managed it, as there was traffic queued in all four lanes, but he did. I had to brake for the pupil, otherwise we’d have hit it.
Then, on another lesson today, at the traffic lights on Wilford Lane near Compton Acres heading towards Clifton, a dark FIAT Punto (reg no. N132 DWJ ) simply had to get past a car in front of me as the lanes merged back into one. The car in front braked sharply to avoid a collision. The driver of the Punto inevitably remained in the right hand lane as the road widened into two lanes again. All of this is not worthy of comment, since 80% of drivers behave that way. But as I passed I noticed it was a woman – typical chav, with scraped back hair and staring straight ahead because no one else mattered (also, not that unusual) – but, worryingly, she had a kid in the front seat who must have been about 4 or 5 years old, no child seat, no seat belt I could see (it wouldn’t have mattered anyway with his height), and hanging out of the window waving his arms.
Finally, driving through Hyson Green towards Nottingham this afternoon, I had to brake again for a pupil because a taxi driver decided to do a turn in the road (literally, a 3-point turn) about one car’s length from the traffic lights to head off towards Lenton while the lights were on green.
I wish the Police would do something about this instead of sitting in those bloody vans catching people doing a couple of miles over the limit. Sure, breaking the speed limit is wrong, but there is much worse behaviour that should be dealt with – which contributes to deteriorating standards on our roads. Almost no one uses bloody child seats, and the only time it is ever picked up seems to be on Road Wars or Police, Camera, Action. And anything which is customised to go (and sound) fast, does go fast.
But hey. Get the instructors to sit in on tests and it’ll all be fixed, right?
EDIT 01/05/2010: Last night I was driving along Wilford Lane in rush hour traffic (almost solid). I could see this miniature/pretend sports car behind me (a grey Daihatsu, reg no. AE58 DTX – I say “pretend” because it had pathetic little wheels; it was more like a 2CV with a custom body). At the lights by Compton Acres it accelerated with nowhere to go, and succeeded in just getting in front of me (I had to brake), and just not hitting the car in front (it accelerated to stop him). The spotty moron driving it refused to make any eye contact whatesoever, so he knew what a fool he had made of himself.
Also yesterday, a similar situation occurred at the Colwick/Netherfield lights. A Peugeot 107 (reg no. FL57 PDO), driven by a hatchet-faced little chav, forced its way through with nowhere to go while I was on a lesson with a pupil. She got stuck at the lights outside the Victoria Retail Park and – just like they all do – refuse to make any eye contact. My pupil commented on it, and I explained that you can always tell when they know what they’ve done just by how fixedly they stare ahead.
And on Monday, as I was driving along Radcliffe Road to turn right at the Lings Bar roundabout, a dark green car (reg no. R23 EHD) just pulled out in front of me from Gamston at the Water Sports Centre lights. He had done a U-turn where you are not supposed to do them. From what I could see the driver was quite possibly driving on an “international licence” (and all that that might imply, above and beyond the illegal U-turn and dangerous emerge into traffic).
I have to point out that a lot of this behaviour is simply because the car I drive has L plates on it. My learners do not drive slowly when I take them out on these roads. L plates are an inducement to drive dangerously in many other drivers.