A Driving Instructor's Blog

This time of year you get some real idiots on the roads. I’m not talking about boy racers, but middle-aged plus fossils who simply don’t know how to drive. To make matters worse, they usually have big 4x4s specifically to advertise how much money they’ve been able to borrow in order to get it. If only they’d spend some money on refresher lessons.

A good example came just now. I was doing a merge in turn just after a set of lights, and so as not to cut anyone up I was dropping back to merge behind a grey 4×4 in the lane next to me (registration number: FN15 CDK). In actual fact, this would have meant I was giving up my “turn” in front of the 4×4, who had accelerated away just fast enough to show that he was going to “fight” over the issue. At no point did the front of my car extend further forward than his rear bumper while this was happening, so it was obvious I was not in any way trying to get past him. I was freewheeling at about 15-20mph – no gas whatsoever – so he could make progress into the gap. The problem then was that just as the road narrowed the f***ing idiot slowed right down, forcing me to brake quite sharply as I found myself alongside him. He had no reason to do this – the cars in front had accelerated away, and there was a gap.

This, of course, gave him the opportunity to shake his head and explain to the woman sitting in the passenger seat next to him how great he was and also, no doubt, to utter the immortal phrase “[insert adjective] learners”.

He was a silver-hair, and these are among the worst drivers on our roads – irrespective of how many accidents they have. A minor accident was only avoided in this case by me taking evasive action. I have no idea what was going through his fossilised brain cells. He didn’t want me to get past him, that was clear. But having “won” he then proceeded to slow down unnecessarily. Quite possibly just to “make a point”.

Drivers – and especially older ones, who have difficulty in the brain department – need to understand the concept of “merge in turn”. When a road splits into two lanes at traffic lights, it is not a mandate for you to block both lanes or attempt to prevent anyone overtaking you at any cost (it’s actually illegal for you to do that). Nor is it a mandate to sit in the right hand lane and then pull away slower than everyone else (technically, that’s illegal these days, too). Yes, your aged grey matter is probably already thinking fixedly about boy racers going faster than you, but although they are also wrong if they break the speed limit or drive discourteously or dangerously, the simple fact that they’re younger than you and drive faster (both of which are liable to put you off your Horlicks) is not reason enough for you to get involved.

And if you can’t understand that, hand over your licence before you kill someone.

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