Friday 9th March. Airbags and accelerators.

I like to think that, for a bird, I’m a pretty good driver.

My first car was a mark one Golf GTi, and I’ve driven them ever since. I like the speed, the safety, the looks and the park-ability of these iconic little motors and I can’t honestly see myself giving up my mark-five, 200 bhp, garish red, dream-machine without a fight.

Sorry, did I say fight? What I mean is, you’ll have to pry the keys out of my cold, dead, lifeless fingers.

I like Top Gear, I like cars and I really, really enjoy driving them.

Having said all this, I have noticed that an unpleasant malady is beginning to infect Britain’s roads.

A condition that has, on at least five occasions this very week, caused me to shout “Don’t bloody mention it” at the top of my voice leaving Annabelle ‘scootching’ down in her seat,  covering her ears and muttering things like: “Mum, please don’t ram that woman’s car.”

My road using brethren have stopped bothering to thank me for letting them in, letting them out and several other variations on the theme.

Why is this?

What’s causing this corrosive deterioration of engine-ettiquette?

While mere manners have never been a statutory directive on the road, I have always been led to understand that they were an implied responsibility, serving to make our roads a nicer place to be.

Stuff like waiting patiently when a car is heading towards you, in your lane because there’s a car parked in theirs.

Kindly slowing down and flashing your headlights to allow cars to move out in front of you on the motorway.

Thoughtfully moving into the fast-lane to allow cars to merge with the dual-carriageway from a slip road.

The ‘one-driver-one-car’ rule that politely urges everybody in a traffic-jam to allow at least one person to nudge their way into the queue from a side road.

Not only are fewer and fewer people bothering to follow these unwritten rules but, and far more seriously in my opinion, there are a growing number of people who can’t even be bothered to raise the traditional hand and say thank you when you do take the time to remember that courtesy doesn’t cost anything.

Murderous rage doesn’t begin to express how vexed I become when I, like a total mug, sit there as some bloke ignores the fact that I’ve actually stopped to let him out of his parking space voluntarily and wheel-spins away without bothering to so much as look in my direction, let alone going to the effort of turning his arrogant frown upside down and acknowledge my patiently waiting existence.

Then there are the twenty-something-airhead-bimbos in their teeny-tiny hatchbacks that attack the road and all of the other people using it, as if they’re competing at a NASCAR rally.

They take no prisoners, no notice of the brake pedal and have only a dim recollection that their driving instructor ever mentioned that they are supposed to stay at least three inches away from the car in front of them.

They zip up behind you in third gear and with their engine screaming in agony, sit on your tail staring threateningly and unnervingly straight into your rear-view mirror until they see an opportunity to gaily stuff their vehicle into an even lower gear and, smoke pouring from their bonnets and tyres, shudder past you.

It is generally when they are just about level with you, on a hill, with you purring along at sixty miles an hour that it dawns on them that, unlike you, their little Renault only has a one litre engine and that they’re probably not actually going to manage to get past you before that articulated lorry that’s currently bearing down on them actually hits.

Leaning determinedly forward in their seats, chewing gum and peering aggressively through the spokes of their steering wheel, they simply refuse to just give up, accept they’re beat and slip back in behind you.

Nope, they were told by their hot-wiring, joy-riding, excellent influence of an older brother and his drug-dealing mates ‘off the estate’ that the art of getting from A to B is all about relying on your air-bags and your accelerator, and letting Lady-Luck handle the rest.

So this leaves you in an awkward situation, do you let the daft tart lay in her bed the way she made it and watch her vanity-plated, brand-new Citroën Saxo get flattened underneath an Eddie Stobbart lorry, or do you do the decent thing, exercise some self-control and maturity, brake and let her tuck in ahead of you?

We all know that there is obviously a clear answer to this conundrum, but my rational head tells me that it wouldn’t be fair to do that to an innocently, minding-his-own-business lorry driver, so it’s probably best, on balance, to brake.

Yep, it’s rough going out there on the roads these days and so I’m going to issue a warning, in print, to ignorant pig-people everywhere.

Next time I let you out, say thank you because my little Golf also has air-bags and I’m not at all afraid to use them either.

6 thoughts on “Friday 9th March. Airbags and accelerators.

  1. I do alot of drivng to and from work at the moment so I can relate to this.

    But you missed out the little chavvy guys (who are obviously trying to compensate for something with their big ‘phat’ exhausts) who seem to think it’s cool to sit with their head against the window, how this can be a comfortable way to drive I don’t know?


  2. Totally loved your post today, it made me laugh loudly! 😀
    My 14 year old daughter told me this morning in a rather cutting voice that ‘yes Mum, I have heard all that before’ after I ranted on for about 5 minutes about people not saying thank you when you wait to let them go first when on our narrow roads on the way to my daughters school there is only room for one car at a time. This morning 3 ignorant drivers one after another didn’t have the manners to raise a hand or even look at you and smirk in thanks for stopping for them. It really makes my blood boil and is my number 1 pet hate. So reading your post I am happy to see I am not the only one getting irate over the lack of basic road etiquette.


  3. Hi

    I am not a single mum but I love your blog… it has made me both laugh out loud and cry (occasionally at the same time) so I read your blog for the 31st March with interest…. I get them in my email in box. I then searched for the Mirror Blog you talked about and felt that it was a) obviously a bit of a ‘beg’ – ie someone desperately trying to be witty but, in my opinion failing miserably and b) nowhere near as well written, engaging, funny or ‘real’ as yours. I tried to leave a comment but could only seem to do so if a) I agreed to have it link to my Facebook account (and have them post things to my wall) and b) not actually say anything at all (if you read their ‘rules’ for comments it basically says you can only post positive comments). Then I tried to comment on your blog here but it’s not there – what’s going on? Have they made you take it down????


    1. Hi, I had a fit of the ‘What-If-They-Sue-Me’s’ yesterday afternoon and removed it.

      Having slept on it, I think I’ll restore it!

      Thank you so much for your comment, I really do value the support. Writing’s one of those things that can make you feel exceptionally vulnerable, indeed a certain level of vulnerbility is an absolute ‘must’ if you’re going to connect with your fellow man.

      So thank you very much for taking the time out of your, no doubt, busy life to give me a much needed bit of reassurance.


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