This post isn’t about recycling. This post is about manners; specifically, about manners on the road. Over the last week or so, I’ve clocked up a fair few miles in the course of business & pleasure, mostly on rural & “A” roads, and I’ve been so upset by the way that some people behave when they get behind the wheel that I have to let off some steam!
Last Sunday I was driving back down from North Dorset when a big silver Audi screamed up behind me and hung so close to my back bumper that I couldn’t see the bonnet of his car. We were on a National Speed Limit road, and I was going well over 50 as I do know the road quite well, but it’s narrow & twisty with high hedges & goes down to one track in places. So as soon as I could, I pulled into a farm gate & let him pass. Within 100 yards a big white BMW had pulled up right on my tail again, and we were into the bit that goes single-track with no place to pull in. And there he stayed for about 15 miles, so close that if I’d had to brake unexpectedly, say for a vehicle coming the other way where’s there’s no passing place, he’d have found himself in my boot; the best braking system in the world can’t stop you within 10 feet at 60MPH. There were plenty of opportunities for him to overtake in the last 5 miles, but he was too close to see past me!
There have been other incidents during the week, culminating in an unpleasant run from Bridport to Dorchester this afternoon. I had a pale green VW far too close behind me from the end of the dual carriageway; at the A37 roundabout he attempted to undertake me, but another car got in his way. Straight up close behind me again, he pulled into the left-turn to Dorchester lane at the next roundabout, signalling left; I was going straight ahead in the A35 lane, breathing a sigh of relief, when I spotted him in my lefthand mirror, having attempted to undertake again. He shook his fist at me when I didn’t slam on my brakes to let him through. At the Kingston Maurward roundabout he shot into the right-hand A35 lane, and careered round the roundabout, still shaking his fist at me, and his elegantly-dressed wife, probably in her early 60s, gave me a V-sign! I watched as they shot up behind the next car in front, kept on edging out to try to overtake despite the oncoming traffic, then caused mayhem weaving in & out of the traffic accelerating up the next stretch of dual carriageway, when there was no need to weave & cause the overtakees to brake, as there was nothing else in the overtaking lane.
Why do people do it? I know I’m not the best or fastest driver on the road, or in the most expensive car, & I recognise that for some people, driving will always be a race because of their competitive nature; they have to be in front, usually driving a car that cost more than a year’s salary for most people. But driving so close that you are putting yourself & other people in mortal danger is lunatic, especially at speed, no matter how good your airbags. Not to mention intimidating; I don’t let it get to me whilst I’m actually driving, and I’m not going to go faster than the limit just because they want to, but nor am I going to slow down deliberately to annoy them because that’s just childish & only likely to cause more problems. I would love a “Back Off!” sign, but I’d also love a “Thank You!” sign for people like the person who was behind me from Dorchester to Wimborne, who kept a sensible distance, or for people who let you out of difficult turnings.
And for the person who boxed me in where I was quite legitimately parked this afternoon; if a Mum with a pushchair, or a wheelchair user, had come down the pavement you were parked half across, they’d have had to go out into the roadway on a blind corner to get past. Luckily one of my friends helped me inch out, but if I’d had to stay put until you returned, you’d have faced the wrath of – well, a very cross middle-aged Mum!
Made crosser still by the fact that some of the charity shops in our area are now charging more for clothes than they cost originally, but that’s another story…