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Irritation vs Understanding...?
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ade and liz flint
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 10:52 pm    Post subject: Irritation vs Understanding...? Reply with quote

I was tempted to write this by an experience at work this week. I drive 15 miles each way to work, up/down what passes for an A road in West Wales (it does at least have a white line down the middle - mostly). This is a gorgeous twisty coast road, which passes through several villages and also encompasses some stunning views. More importantly, it's a great drivers' road, albeit one which can catch out the unwary/foolhardy with a couple of surprising bends and VERY few overtaking opportunities.

Now, the reason for this post is that I frequently get frustrated at the unthinking trundling of many other drivers. I can't blame it on tourists, who after all don't know the road, as these characters are a feature of coast road drives in summer and winter alike. The classic example of the breed is one who does 40 through the 30 limits in the villages.... and 40 in the national speed limit sections. In the 15 miles or so from home to work there are only 3 overtaking places, so given the likelihood of traffic coming the other way, drivers like this can produce a very frustrating drive. I find it very hard to understand how someone can be so insensitive to the variation of the road as to maintain a constant speed throughout, and get decidedly chunter-ry when these individuals brake from 40 into what I know is a comfortable 60mph bend.

However...

This week I did an induction for a new member of the team into the vagiaries of our office pool car (Mazda 3 2.2d). We then did a test drive to give my colleague chance to get used to the car ahead of what will probably be a 5 hr round trip on business on Tues (it'd take me under 4 hrs Very Happy Twisted Evil Twisted Evil )

Spending time talking to my colleague gave me pause for thought... She used to live in London and so didn't learn to drive as a youngster. She passed her test a couple of years ago, in her mid-thirties, having moved back to West Wales and found that public transport was not a viable option. Now, this woman is extremely capable and effective in every aspect of her life and work. I was delighted to be able to recruit her into our team, and she in confident physically, socially and intellectually. She was nervous of driving the pool car, simply because she's not used to jumping in and out of different cars (which comes with practice and experience), and has never driven such a long distance as she will be faced with on Tuesday.

Given that I have high respect for her abilities, and am confident that she'll manage the journey with aplomb and will rapidly gain driving confidence, this has made me question my attitude to the people I described in the second paragraph of this post...What if I'm metaphorically grinding my teeth at these slowcoaches when in fact they're just like my colleague - capable but inexperienced? Should we all be giving a little more benefit of the doubt and assuming inexperience rather than incompetence? We're all very ready to rant at the shortcomings of other drivers, but would we be happy to see/hear someone doing that to our son/daughter/friend who we knew needed only to build their confidence to become a good, safe and competent driver?

I'm not convinced that this will stop me rolling my eyes at the inevitable idiots I encounter on every long drive but it certainly has made me think. And just to clarify the non-gender aspects of this, I would have to say that the dodgiest driver in our office is probably one of the fellas (no names...) but is run a close second by one of the girls.

What do you all think, how do we distinguish between the true idiots and the inexperienced?

Liz
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 11:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having been a passenger in many cars of people who I would become frustrated behind, I'd say one of two problems are big issues. One is fear, those that are terrified because they can't judge overtaking gaps and simply sit on the bumper of the caravan/truck, making a rolling 100ft overtake. The other is poor forward planning, drivers who sit leaning forward in the seat, reacting to hazards as they appear, rather than anticipating them; they drive on and off the brakes and gas, and jerk at the wheel when making steering manoeuvres even at speed.

Of course you also have your old giffers who can't see, and husbands who's wives are terrified passengers, but I don't believe they were necessarily bad drivers when in their physical prime and without the wife on board.

I think the main issue remains the antiquated driving test. You can get a driving license without ever exceeding 40MPH in the cities, and you can't get any 60+MPH motorway driving experience until after you pass your test.
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 11:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know how long you've had your licence joylove, but dual carriageways have (unless posted otherwise) a 70mph limit, so you can drive above 60mph before taking your test. In fact, from our village, the first and last 10 minutes of my wifes lessons (probably 15 years ago) were at 70mph, getting to the town that had the nearest test centre.

Please note, whilst she is safe, this does not make my wife a 'good' driver.

To some people driving comes naturally - to others, they just go through the mechanics of driving a car.

My advice for the road in Wales? Use a motorbike. It will open up more overtaking opportunities. Wink
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ade and liz flint
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PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Araf wrote:
My advice for the road in Wales? Use a motorbike. It will open up more overtaking opportunities. Wink


...and based on current (local) casualty rates, more opportunities of death Evil or Very Mad We recently missed (and thankfully didn't witness) one very recent incident leading to a motorbike death by minutes...poor woman. The reason for her untimely demise was an impatient company car driver pulling out to pass a slow-mover (as OP) on a bit of wiggly road, and not seeing her approaching on the other carriageway. The results were ugly. We'd passed her (opposite direction) only minutes before, doing everything by the book. Most road deaths round here are motorcyclists...a haven for their weekend trips where they meet impatient/inexperienced/rubbish car, van and truck drivers.
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Araf wrote:
I don't know how long you've had your licence joylove, but dual carriageways have (unless posted otherwise) a 70mph limit, so you can drive above 60mph before taking your test. In fact, from our village, the first and last 10 minutes of my wifes lessons (probably 15 years ago) were at 70mph, getting to the town that had the nearest test centre.
True, but not everyone lives in a village with dual carriageways around it, most dual carriageways in cities and towns are 50's and 40's (and rarely maintain that speed), and there is not requirement for the learner to travel at 70 as part of their training, or test, learning and being graded on lane discipline and anticipation.
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ade and liz flint
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 12:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joylove wrote:
...... there is not requirement for the learner to travel at 70 as part of their training, or test, learning and being graded on lane discipline and anticipation.


I (Ade) remember my 1st post-test journey at 70mph(ish) in 1983 on the M6 north of Walsall (a very busy section, even then). Luckily, I had an experienced companion in the passenger seat and I scared the sh1t out of them with my new found inability of high speed lane changing. I learned that lesson very quickly. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

joylove wrote:
.....and there is not requirement for the learner to travel at 70 as part of their training, or test, learning and being graded on lane discipline and anticipation.


I quite agree. However, that is not what you originally said. My answer was to the following

joylove wrote:
.....you can't get any 60+MPH motorway driving experience until after you pass your test.


and the anekdote of my wife's experience was just to show that 70mph experience while learning, does not guarantee a better standard of driving, post-test. Wink
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Araf wrote:
joylove wrote:
.....and there is not requirement for the learner to travel at 70 as part of their training, or test, learning and being graded on lane discipline and anticipation.


I quite agree. However, that is not what you originally said. My answer was to the following

joylove wrote:
.....you can't get any 60+MPH motorway driving experience until after you pass your test.
I stand by this.
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 1:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Specifically motorway, no. Though I would say that dual carriageway driving can require more skill as the number of hazards can be greater.

I will withdraw my argument though. Laughing Sorry.
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always try to keep in mind that when I see slow driving especially on country lanes that the other driver may be inexperienced, nervous or just plain rubbish.

I say "try" deliberately, because I'm only human and if I'm already running late for work for example sometimes it's hard to do that. Usually just saying to myself "it's not their fault, you are the one who should have allowed more time for your journey" works.

What I find far more annoying is agressive tailgating on roads like that, people who can't see more than 5ft beyond their front bumper and are clearly agitated by the fact that you are "in their way". It's only compounded when you are stuck behind a ditherer and have some muppet right on your rear bumper, jinking around to the right the whole time like they're going to overtake no matter what.

In the B10 this was much easier to deal with than in the Passat Laughing

Don't even get me started on most bikers.... they're just so *special* aren't they, no laws or rules of the road apply to them, most certainly not, because they're bikers and therefore God's chosen ones. Grrrrrrrr.

A good rant does ya good Smile
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

John_C wrote:
What I find far more annoying is agressive tailgating on roads like that, people who can't see more than 5ft beyond their front bumper and are clearly agitated by the fact that you are "in their way". It's only compounded when you are stuck behind a ditherer and have some muppet right on your rear bumper, jinking around to the right the whole time like they're going to overtake no matter what.


Funnily enough, this happened to us in the Blackmobile last Thursday. Except the mad weaving tailgaiter was in a brand new Bentley welded to my lovely shiny black Alpina bumper Shocked Liz swears he had Alpina Envy Laughing Now, I know the roads and was making good, safe, fast progress......and he dangerously overtook a long line of vehicles, us included, doing 60mph on a national stretch coming down a long hill into a 30 causing everyone to break over-sharply to let him in. Obviously not a local....not in that car, anyway Laughing T!t.
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re motorway(ish) driving - I took my test in the mid-80's, in Leeds, and had the opportunity (i won't say pleasure) of experiencing the Leeds ring road before taking my test. My driving instructor also offered motorway driving lessons as an option once the test was passed - needless to say, not may took him up on it Rolling Eyes Very glad I did as my first taste of the M1 in the mid 80's was an experience!

In Lincolnshire we also have rolling roads (its not all flat Smile ) and are pestered by inexperienced, nervous, ignorant etc drivers - probably over from Wales on their vacations Wink ). Also, we have our fair share of motorbikes riding in an idiotic manner, especially when they've just left Cadwell Park, and as an ex-biker myself it does beggar belief sometimes. However, on the other hand, we've just had a Harley Rally Weekend in my village, and the manner of these bikers was beyond reproach.

As in all walks of life, its the minority spoiling things for the rest of us - I just keep my favourite roads secret Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject: Re: Irritation vs Understanding...? Reply with quote

ade and liz flint wrote:
What do you all think, how do we distinguish between the true idiots and the inexperienced?


I have a similar commute along a fantastic country road and I find the same issues as you, Ade. It's also a well known bike road with one poor sod being booked at 120 just last week.

However, I'd suggest you have missed a very important category - the most experienced! I see relatively few idiots who can't drive (even the foreign tourists) and the inexperienced ones tend to be the fastest round here.

The ones which frustrate doing 40 and braking for wide bends tend to be wearing some kind of headgear and driving Micras. My guess is they are retired farming folk who don't like travelling faster than the top speed of their old corporate vehicle. If they are female, they are notable by their blue rinse.

Just last week I was in a queue of a dozen cars tailing a new silver merc estate doing 35mph with no overtaking oportunities. When we got to a straight section of road (where the biker was booked last week) there was a rush of frustrated drivers desperate to pass before the next bend. Thankfully nothing was coming the other way.

I don't wish to appear ageist. I know some very competent and fast drivers who are in their 70s and I hope to be one of them in due course. But the ones who have years of experience yet display over-caution and trepidation are the biggest cause of frustration and near misses. They are not idiots or inexperienced. They are the victims of the fact that country A-roads are the only public routes available where competent drivers can gain petrol-pleasure (even within the speed limits) because everywhere else is too congested or zealously policed.

In the days of Sunday runs with picnics in wicker baskets, these people would not have been an issue. But with todays high performace for the masses they are akin to a standard car in a Touring car race and that is a dangerous mix.

Don't get me started on caravans Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BTW - also experienced the 'average speeder'; guy doing 50, only slowed for a 90 degree bend, then got back up to 50, went through a village at 50, through some parked cars, past a school, pub and residential area at 50, left the village at 50 never once slowing down.... got onto the next straight still going 50. Not a Micra driver, but a very battered old Nissan, and yes, he was wearing a flat cap.

Caught him up on the straight, overtook, and he was going 30 through my village Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 12:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Irritation vs Understanding...? Reply with quote

Chas wrote:
However, I'd suggest you have missed a very important category - the most experienced! I see relatively few idiots who can't drive (even the foreign tourists) and the inexperienced ones tend to be the fastest round here.


Agreed, and usually have their hat on the wrong way round Wink

Chas wrote:
The ones which frustrate doing 40 and braking for wide bends tend to be wearing some kind of headgear and driving Micras. My guess is they are retired farming folk who don't like travelling faster than the top speed of their old corporate vehicle. If they are female, they are notable by their blue rinse.


Again, agreed! We have plenty of those around here, and their corporate vehicles, too. There is a well known blue rinser here with a very tidy (and new) 335i coupe which is totally battered beyond belief, with wheels like a Rottweilers favourite toy. Her (obviously loaded) hubby buys her a new one every year.

Chas wrote:
Just last week I was in a queue of a dozen cars tailing a new silver merc estate doing 35mph with no overtaking oportunities. When we got to a straight section of road (where the biker was booked last week) there was a rush of frustrated drivers desperate to pass before the next bend. Thankfully nothing was coming the other way.


Ditto. We have a long(ish) straight on Liz's daily commute which is one of our few overtaking opportunities. However, coming southbound, there is a very slight curve to the left in the road and it's got a blind apex. ie, if you're going to overtake you have to be 1) fully aware and looking for all possible hazards before pulling out and 2) very quick getting by. Listen out for the traffic news 'closed A487 in Ceredigion between the A485 at Llanfarian and the B4337 at Llanrhystud'. About 2 crashes a month there, many fatal, causes total chaos in the area as it's the only main road in the area. The worst was some poor sod hit head-on and killed by an OVERTAKING JCB!!! Usually seems to be caused by frustrated drivers overtaking slow moving traffic.
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