The First Grumble: Driving

Hello there again,

So, let’s be frank (no I’m not developing a secondary personality), as we get older we change – this is a universally accepted fact that I have no problem in facing.  Unfortunately though, I appear to be transforming in to a man that continually finds something to moan about. I seem to go from being care-free, enthusiastic and open-minded 20 year-old to an impatient and cynical OAP, when the hell did that happen?

In an attempt to slay this decrepit and slightly worrying turn in my mindset I have decided that I will make light of the situation and bother you all with my ramblings instead. Todays grumble is to do with the wonders of driving.  That’s right the beauty and misery that comes with owning a four-wheeled (in most cases at least) friend.

As part of the recent events in my life, and due to occupational commitments I am forced to do a lot of commuting too and from places.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy driving…. for the most part, there is just one major downfall: other motorists! I know that when you are learning being behind the wheel is terrifying but this soon disappears and you, providing you have a good instructor, transform into a competent driver.  This is not the end of learning to drive though, as many veterans of the road will tell you:

Instructors only teach you how to pass the test.You don’t know how to drive until you’re on your own!

My personal thanks to my father for those words of wisdom, and as much as I hate to admit it he was right.

I don’t know when it happens during the lifecycle on the road but there comes a time where even the safest and Highway Code abiding driver develops the memory-loss, forgetting some of the most basic rules in driving.  Now i’m generalising here quite a bit, so bare with me: I swear the first bulb to blow in a young drivers brain is the how an indicator works.  I cannot count the amount of times I have been behind/next to another motorist who has cut across lanes without a care in the world. I appreciate you probably know where you are going, but how about next time not assuming I can read your mind and indicate to let me know you’re going to career in front of me!

This then leads me to another pet peeve of mine; Lane Discipline.  More accurately though lane discipline on motorways/highways.  Let’s describe the scene: there are three lanes along a motorway, each lane consists of happy little motorists travelling at speeds they feel comfortable with. This is all fine and dandy, if all the motorists understood how to use the three lanes. The inside lane (near the hard shoulder) is often occupied by the big daddies of the road – the truckers and haulage drivers that more often than not know their place. These monstrous machines are then offset by the other end of the spectrum, the Sunday drivers – those happy to travel without a care in the world (or their surrounding motorists). The middle and outside lanes should then in theory be used for overtaking those who are travelling slower than yourself, a fairly reasonable theory.  This is not always the case though, there are two types of motorist that feed off upsetting the natural balance of the road and the fury of the cars around them. They are:  The Middle-Lane Layabouts, and Captain Flashypants!

The Middle-Lane Layabout

This particular villain says “To hell with modern convention, I’m going to drive solely in the middle lane, no matter what speed I am doing”. The dastardly menace will sit in the middle lanes of a highway despite travelling at a slower pace than that of the inside lane. These motorists amaze me at times, albeit through gritted teeth.

Captain Flashypants

We have all seen this kind of motorist on our journeys, be it as a passenger or a driver. This particular mutation transforms the humble motorist into a speed-hungry and impatient nuisance. He will race up behind you leaving just enough space so that the blinding glare of his headlights are in full view of your mirrors, but that’s just the start. If you haven’t moved out of the way at the first possible moment, he devastating power of his HIGHBEAMS! Flashing them incessantly at you, pounding your now blinded eyes with light, until you are forced into the slower lanes. Their sole focus is to get from A to B in the fastest time possible using whatever means they can to shave off the slightest of seconds.

As you can more then likely tell, these are my two biggest grumbles when it comes to driving.  Don’t get me wrong there are many others, but they are mere baby-grumps in comparison to the above terrors. Also, as I mentioned before, I still love driving despite these annoyances and I think becoming a motorist when I did helped develop me as a person.  So it’s not all doom and gloom out there on the roads.

For now I’ll bid you farewell, and drive off into the sunset – in the appropriate lane and indicating when required.

Grumble over.

Iain

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