It just seems very appropriate that while I am currently flying over America at an altitude of 30,000 feet on my way to Las Vegas that my first guest post is from a guy that seems to live his life in airplanes, and is also a frequent business and world traveler. In fact, he goes by the name “The Guy” and his blog is one that I do enjoy reading. Terrific posts and pics that describe his travels, whether it be the cities he explores, the airlines he takes, or the trials and tribulations of getting around. Give his blog a read, as he offers some great tips if you are looking to travel abroad. Plus, he occasionally goes on a rant as I do!
Take it away Guy! (I sure do love in-flight wifi!)
The Frustration Of Driving, Anywhere!
A few decades ago it was considered a privilege and an honour for the few. Those were special times of sparse roads and few petrol stations. Now cars are everywhere and the frustration of driving is shared by many.
Only a decade ago my trips to India and China saw relatively clear roads compared to the West. Now with these up and coming economies you risk your life if you dare ride a bicycle on these roads. Cars are anywhere and everywhere.
So as an experienced and accomplished driver for many years, without any fines or penalties, I suffer frustration at the attitude of other drivers. So what are some of my frustrations of driving?
Not using indicators
It is a basic feature which comes on all cars today. Yet somehow why do people forget to use it? I remember my driving lessons and being taught “mirror-signal-manoeuvre”. Not difficult really just remember the second bit (and the first bit for some of you numpties).
I’m sick of being thrown off the pleasure of driving by idiots throwing me a curve ball manoeuvre out of the blue. Suddenly I’m braking because the car in front has acted randomly (even though I’ve kept my distance). Or I’m sat waiting for ages at roundabouts (traffic circles to you Americans) since I don’t know where you are going. What do you expect me to do, read your mind?! Oh and how I hate it when as a pedestrian a car looks like it is going straight on then it suddenly turns into my street as I’m crossing the road… Arrgh!
No this is nothing to do with scissors but your shocking driving technique. I like to keep a safe distance from the car in front, I’ve no idea what he or she will do. So what happens? Some idiot cuts in from the side, nearly takes the front end of my car off and forces me to slow down so I have a safe braking distance.
If you are stuck in a queue of traffic this can become just as annoying as people keep swapping lanes, jockeying for position and squeeze, without invitation, into a space in front of me that didn’t exist. (And guess what, they didn’t indicate either!)
As I said before, I’ve never had any driving penalties or fines, this includes any speeding fines. Yes, I’m that person who drives you nuts because I drive up to the speed limit. What’s wrong with that?
People with far more skill and knowledge of the road and surrounding area have studied and decided what a safe speed is for that road. Why should I argue with them? If it says 40mph then that is the top speed I’ll drive at on the road. When Mr Impatient passes me by doing close to 60mph I get really annoyed. Why is your journey so much more important than mine? What gives you the right to break the rules which I’m so compliant too? What makes you so special to imply my driving is not good enough for you? Idiots!
As for people who complain about speed cameras, seriously, get a life. I’ve never been caught by one and if I do it is entirely my fault. Speed limit signs are up and even sat navs now tell you the speed limit to drive to. Don’t give me that clap trap about it being a money raising scheme for the police or the authorities. That is nonsense. It is a voluntary tax and you are stupid enough to choose to pay it.
If you are like me and live in the UK, you have a lot of expenses to pay with a car. There is the initial car cost, road tax, insurance, toll roads and a very expensive cost of fuel due to high government taxes on petrol and diesel.
So when I’ve paid so much why do I have to pay so much more just to park the blinking thing. If I’m trying to go the shops I’m helping the economy; don’t stifle it by giving me a major disincentive to park.
I’ve never had a parking ticket but I will look far and wide for an unrestricted parking area which is free or very cheap.
On a weekend trip to Washington DC last year I was mortified to find all the underground car parks in the centre were closed, yes closed on a Saturday and Sunday daytime. There was very short stay parking bays which were inappropriate for my weekend trip. Begrudgingly I gave in and opted for the expensive hotel valet parking.
Tail gating is a term I only really hear in the US but I promise you that you’ll find this frustration of driving anywhere. Basically the guy or girl in the car behind you drives so close to your bumper that you could smell their bad breathe.
Keep your distance why don’t you? Have you never heard of reaction time and braking distance? I don’t want my back seat pushing through my front teeth because you had no chance to react to my emergency stop.
Dabbing the brakes is a common trick to tell the driver behind to back off. Though it beats me why someone who has a licence needs to be told how to blinking drive! Yet I find mixed reactions from dabbing brakes. Sometimes it works and sometimes I receive verbal and visual abuse from the culprit. Why? You’re the one driving like a moron, not me.
Jumping red lights
The modern day traffic system sees the use of traffic lights to control the safe flow of vehicles. Robots (as they are called in South Africa) help more than one road/crossing to handle the movement of auto-mobiles. Yet there is always some idiot who has to jump the light, accelerate when the light is moving to red. It shouldn’t be a surprise that it turns red, we had an amber (yellow) light just before to warn you. Why risk your life and others?
Whether you should drive on the left hand side or the right hand side of the road doesn’t really matter. Just know what side it is for the country you are driving in then stick to it, please! I’m sick of people crossing lanes into my path and forcing me to slow down or swerve further away from them. Or there are the enlightened drivers who think the broken white line in the middle of a road is a driving guide which should pass under the middle of your car.
And don’t forget, for clarification if there is a parked car on your side of the road then you don’t have right of way to overtake and block my path.
Following on from lane discipline is the old chestnut of turning cars. I hate approaching junctions where traffic is turning into my road. It is crazy the number of people who take the junction wide and cross into my lane from a blind spot. If you can’t see what you are turning into then blinking slow down, keep in lane and approach with caution.
I had a couple of near misses from this last year, not from motor cars but from cyclists! On each occasion they flew around a blind corner turning quite clearly into the wrong side of the road. Thankfully both I and they were alert enough to take evasive action. Thank God because if we’d collided then they sure as hell would’ve lost.
This is my biggest frustration of driving anywhere and it appears almost universal. I must admit though that after driving in many countries probably the worst I see is in the United States.
Why is it that people can pay thousands and thousands of pounds/dollars for a really fancy car and even a fancy phone, yet some how they can’t afford a hands free set?
You can spot the people on hand held phones or texters without even looking at their windscreen, just follow their driving. They drive at erratic speeds, can’t drive in a straight line or respond slowly to any changes in traffic.
I’m sick to death of people who falsely claim their driving is unhampered by them using their hand held phone. Liars! Tests have shown how it impairs your driving time and time again. Plus I just need to go out on the road and I can see the effects. What will your defence be when you kill that young child? I doubt the judge will think your use of a mobile didn’t affect your driving skills.
Well these are just some of my many frustrations of driving that I’ve experienced around the world. What drives you crazy on the road and how do you react?
About the author
The Guy has been a frequent business traveller for more than a dozen years. The number of flights he has taken falls into the thousands whilst his frequent flyer miles are in the millions. Read more of his experiences on his blog Flights And Frustration – the rants, ramblings and ruminations of a frequent traveller.
You can follow The Guy on twitter @TheGuyWhoFlies
or on facebook Facebook/FlightsAndFrustration