Get off the road!

Yesterday I made the call on my number one pet hate when driving – testosterone fuelled morons who threaten the well-being of everyone else.  I have to admit, a close second for me is drivers who are overly timid and tentative.  I know traffic can be an overwhelming and scary thing and a certain degree of caution is warranted, but every day I have to deal with people that give the impression they’d be more comfortable wrapped in cotton wool in and underground bomb shelter.

I also acknowledge that confidence is something you gain with experience and everyone needs to build their driving confidence with time.  In fact one of the biggest problem with my number one hate (hoons) is an absolutely unwarranted level of confidence in their abilities.  These cretins seem to have an inverse proportional relationship between their arrogance and their actual abilities.  Having said that, I do have an issue with drivers who never seem to lose their fear of driving.

At a certain point, my advice to pathologically timid drivers is get some fucking therapy.  Spend some time on the psychiatrist’s couch or even stay on your own couch at home watching daytime soaps.  Anything that keeps you off the goddam roads.  Think about becoming a shut-in.  Get a dozen cats and see how it feels.  Because if you brake at a green light again in front of me I’m going to pound your fucking head into a colour chart until you understand the difference between red and green.

For people who are only a little bit timid and are looking to improve their confidence, the number one piece of advice I would offer is “learn how to read traffic.”  I am constantly frustrated by people who don’t react to changes in traffic until the last second.  The first skill of driving is learning how to deal with your immediate surroundings and being able to react but an absolutely necessary longer term skill is being able to look more than a car length in front of you. 

A few examples: If there are two lanes going in your direction and you can see a block or so ahead your lane is blocked by a vehicle waiting to turn, change lanes as soon as practical, NOT AT THE LAST FUCKING SECOND.  At worst, you’ll cause an accident and at best you’ll fuck up the flow of traffic when you have to come to a complete stop rather than fluidly moving between lanes.  And people behind you often can’t see past you (particularly if you’re driving one of those stupid oversized 4WD pieces of shit) so you can end up causing an unnecessary banking up of really frustrated people.  On the plus side, this is often a chance to broaden your vocabulary as passing motorists share their “well wishes” with you.

Another good one is when you approach an intersection, try and work out what’s happening before you actually get there.  Give way signs and roundabouts are not stop signs; you’re only meant to stop if there’s someone to give way to.  At an open intersection with good visibility you should know what you’re going to do before you get there – a sure way to get on my shit list is to stop unnecessarily, THEN look, THEN decide there’s no traffic so you can go.

Also, when merging with traffic get a realistic idea of when you can go forward.  I’ve seen people at intersections who seem to be waiting for someone in the next suburb to drive through before they’ll go themselves.  You’re not going to get a written fucking invitation, you need to be a little proactive.  Again, commonsense is required – visibility and the speed of traffic are variables that need to be taken into account but I’m not the only one who gets angry at people who don’t go through gaps that you could run a circus parade through.

In short, if traffic scares you, you need to deal with it.  If you’ve been driving for more than 5 years and you’re still overly tentative it’s time to take action.  Maybe you could take an advanced driving course.  Or maybe you could drink heavily before driving to calm your nerves (kids, this is a joke – don’t do this!)  But if you think you can’t deal with it, do everyone a favour.  Stay off the fucking road. 

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6 Comments

Filed under Driving

6 responses to “Get off the road!

  1. Rick - a 'merican'

    This post and the ‘Driven Insane’ post have me wondering if perhaps you’ve gone driveabout here in the Portland, Oregon, area. I’ve driven in Detroit, Chicago, Boston, New York, and through serveral hundred small towns and rural areas and the drivers here are the absolute worst anywhere I’ve been.

    Got a hearty chuckle from your ‘throwies canon’ idea. Makes perfect sense to me and would work wonders for clearing off some of the driver-seat road debris. Could be a tidy little source of income for law enforcement types as well. I vote yes.

  2. Ahhh Mr Angry. it’s good to see you are reinforcing the reasons I refuse to live in Melbournia again. Every now and then I get this urge, and contemplate moving back so I can spend more time with my friends than currently. And then I think of the traffic. Not. A. Fucking. Chance.

    The best example for me was when I was driving an XE falcon (yes it was a few years ago), towing one of those fat-arsed moving trailers. Dual axle, fully enclosed, at least 700kilos tare (alright, an exageration, but only by 10 kilos or so), and some knob in a new(ish) car, pulls into my lane directly in front of me, and stands on the brakes.

    I invented several new swear words at that point in time, as I was so fucked off that I was combining swear words without realising it (evidently). My now ex-wife thought it was hilarious.

  3. Rick: law enforcement here isn’t shy about raising a buck – cameras everywhere.

    Gruntski: classic! that “fuck everyone else, I want to drive here no matter what the consequences” type of driver. Melbourne drivers are classics for just not thinking.

  4. RE: Comment to Rick-Second that. Bastards got me last time I was down in Melb. Pricks. 93 in a 90 zone….. (They have pretty infringement notices now, with a picture of your car, AND a close up of the number plate)

    The last speeding fine I got was around ten years ago, and the same guy’s the issuing officer. (Snr Sergeant R. Ritchie) Imagine having a job like that for 10 years… putting all those speeding fines into envelopes…

  5. Well, someone had to volunteer to be the executioner once upon a time too.

  6. You know, it sure would be nice if these ancient people would get the hell off the road too. The AARP are facilitating the deaths of people who have a fucking future. That is why, after a trip through Wisconsin, I decided to write a song about bad drivers. It may be very offensive to some but it needed to be sung. Copy and paste. http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=671835

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