I Go Blogging In My Car

I now commute around 12,000 miles a year, and this means that I encounter more than my fair share of utter pillocks on the road (on an almost daily basis).

My hatred of (most) other road users, has got to the point where my wife is now convinced that I will soon perish in a road-related incident – either due to a driving-induced heart attack, or because someone bigger than me has caved my head in with a wing mirror, after I insinuated that they indulge in sexual relations with their own mother.

Please don’t think that I am one of those motorists who is permanently angry and aggressive (well, I kind of am, but not outwardly), as I view road rage as totally abhorrent, but my disdain for fellow drivers has got so extreme, that my wife fears I will shortly utter something totally regrettable, to someone totally regrettable, and this will be the end of me.

I have therefore decided to compromise with her, and I have made a conscious decision to no longer chastise those who are accidentally shit at driving.  Those road users who must have slept with the examiner to pass their test, because there is no way on God’s green earth, that they should be legally allowed behind the wheel. These people are dangerous, don’t get me wrong, but they are seemingly unaware of how poor a driver they are, and we have to hope that their incompetence only results in their own demise, and no one else’s.

That said, I refuse to back down on my hatred of drivers who deliberately behave like arseholes, as there is simply no excuse for it. True, these are the drivers who are far more likely to stave in my bonce with a wing mirror (because the other category will simply drive away, oblivious to the motoring torment they leave in their wake), but they need naming and shaming. If the good, considerate folk on the road – like myself – stick together, we can show them the error of their ways. Of course, they will probably ignore us, and continue being arseholes, but at least we can say we tried.

I have therefore decided to compile a definitive list, of the ten most detestable offences on the road (with the exception of actually killing someone, leaving the scene of an accident, or being in possession of a bicycle, as there is a special place in hell reserved for those folk).

It’s a countdown, so by all means play this in the background while you read:

10. Peekers

The most inoffensive motorists in my list (although still the most detestable humans to be placed at number 10 since Thatcher), are those people who, when faced with a queue of traffic, feel the need to move their car a couple of feet to the right, to try and discover what the reason is for the hold up, as if that will make the queue move faster.

Unless they are a doctor, and the reason for the delay is a medical emergency, then whatever they see up ahead, will make no difference to the speed at which they progress.

They may be inoffensive, but they’re still annoying.

Suggested Response: “What exactly did you expect to see?”

9. Nudgers

I understand that, if you have been trying to get out of a side road, or onto a roundabout, for a while, and there are no gaps in the traffic, it can be frustrating. But let us get one thing clear: sticking the front of your car out, to try and force me to stop, is only going to make me swerve around you elaborately, and hurl obscenities in your direction.

No one, in the history of motoring, has been faced with someone nudging their way into traffic, and thought ‘they’ve obviously been there a while, poor thing, so I’ll slam my brakes on and let them go.’ Your best chances of being let out, in that situation, are to not be a dickhead about it.

Suggested Response: “Stick it out any further, and I’ll take it off.”

8. Blockers

Having said that, if you are waiting to turn right out of a side road, or onto a roundabout, and the traffic you are trying to bisect is queuing, it is far more offensive for them to deliberately block your path, rather than let you out, when they are going nowhere themselves.

All they have to do, is bring their car to a standstill roughly ten feet earlier, and they can let you out, meaning that you can be on your way, they are no further back in their queue, and everyone goes home without being called a twat.

Suggested Response: “Well, thank you very much, you twat.”

7. Two-Space Parkers

Some people aren’t very good at parking, and get too close to the lines, I understand that. But no one, unless they have recently undergone some form of frontal lobotomy, can be so bad at parking that they take up two whole spaces, without being aware of their actions.

It’s making my blood boil just looking at these pictures (and far be it from me to point out they are all the same make of car).

Suggested Response (if there is someone in the car):

Suggested Response (if there is no one in the car): Wait for them to come back, then see above.

6. The Ungrateful

If someone does let you out of a side road, or onto a roundabout, or in any way allows you to proceed before them, it takes one second to acknowledge that act of kindness, with a silently-mouthed “thanks”, a quick raise of the hand, or, preferably, both. If it is dark, and they will not see your gratitude, then a quick flash of the lights will suffice.

If you simply drive away, without giving any thanks at all, then you are a despicable human being, who deserves to suffer many years of misery. May your socks be forever rotated, so that the heel part is near your ankle.

Suggested Response: “You’re fucking welcome.”

5. Privileged Space Stealers

I am well aware that disabled spaces are not solely for the physically disabled – at least, not to the extent that their disability is always obvious – so you should never question a driver’s right to park in a disabled space, purely because you cannot see anything outwardly ‘disabled’ about them.

However, you can often tell from the arrogant and selfish way in which the person has parked in the space, that they are anything but disabled. For example, I will wager that this Corvette owner is not disabled:

corvette-taking-up-two-handicap-spaces

Disabled people don’t tend to buy Corvettes and park like this. Dickheads buy Corvettes and park like this.

‘Disability’ is a broad umbrella, which covers many restrictions, but ‘stupidity’, ‘ugliness’ , and ‘wearing a tracksuit’ are not three of them.

There can be no such ambiguity when it comes to ‘parent and child’ spaces though. You either have a child with you, or you don’t. If you don’t, then don’t fucking park there. Simple.

Suggested Response:

4. Queue jumpers

There are two types of queue jumpers, and both are detestable scumbags.

The first, are those motorists who deliberately drive down an empty left or right turn only lane, knowing full well they need to be in the adjacent queue (with the decent, considerate drivers), only to cut in at the last possible moment.

The second, are motorway drivers who know they need to change lanes, either because their lane is closing, or because they need to exit the motorway, but they again speed alongside the queue, and cut across at the last second. Their justification, is no doubt that this eases congestion, but I would counter that argument with the following: fuck off.

Suggested response: Don’t let them in, and force them to turn left or right (as their lane dictates), or continue on the motorway – preferably into some form of barricade.

3. Refusing to Indicate

Not forgetting to indicate, because that happens to the best of us every once in a while, but drivers who consciously decide that they are above indicating. These people actually choose to ignore their indicators when turning, changing lanes, or negotiating a roundabout, in an attempt to deceive other motorists and cause an accident. There can be no other explanation for such obnoxious and inconsiderate behaviour, and anyone trying to deliberately cause a crash, should be jailed for attempted murder.

Suggested Response: “I’ll just guess what you’re planning to do, shall I?”

2. Tailgating

There is absolutely no need to drive so close to the rear of someone’s car that, if they brake suddenly for any reason, you will enter their boot with some velocity. It’s putting your life at risk, but more importantly, they may have shopping in the boot.

Tailgating

Whilst I don’t condone any of the driving offences in this list, I can at least see why some inconsiderate morons commit them (queue jumping gets you to your destination faster, parking in a disabled space gets you nearer to the shop, etc.), but there is literally no benefit to tailgating someone. If they are anything like me, your actions will only cause them to slow down even more, just to make a point.

Suggested response: “Get any nearer, and I might as well tow you. Back off!”

1. Using a Mobile

This makes me so angry, because there is absolutely no excuse for using your mobile phone whilst driving. Not only do a lot of modern cars have the technology for you to make and receive calls, but if your car doesn’t have this facility (mine doesn’t), then it is relatively inexpensive to have one fitted. Don’t buy the same one as me, obviously, as mine is utter shit, but it still just about enables me to make and receive calls, with some (limited) accuracy.

The bottom line is this: if your car does not have the capability to make and receive calls, and you can’t be arsed (or afford) to have a suitable system fitted, then the calls/texts can wait until you stop.

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Suggested response: “Get off your fucking phone!”

Middle-Raged Dad’s Final Thoughts

There you have it – my definitive guide to every arsehole on the road.

Yes, I am well aware that I could have simply condemned all BMW drivers, as they will commit at least six of the ten offences on a daily basis, but then my word count for this week’s entry would have been pitiful.

Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.

 

 

 

 

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Road Blog

In May 2012, the firm that I work for branched out and opened a second ‘satellite’ office in Sandbach. You may have noticed that I happen to live in Sandbach, and will not therefore be surprised to learn that I had a small part to play in choosing the location – which happened to be just down the road from our house. Winner.

So, after six years of working at our main office in Poynton – which is the village where I grew up on the other side of Cheshire – I suddenly found myself with a five minute walk to work, compared to the one hour drive (each way), with which I had become accustomed.

I didn’t mind the commute from Sandbach to Poynton, as it can be quite a nice drive, and I had spent four years with my previous firm having to suffer the M6 every day, so any journey is preferable to that. The M6, particularly the stretch between Sandbach and Knutsford (junctions 17-19 for you motorway buffs out there), is just about the most soul-destroying and treacherous journey anyone can ever take. People have been known to complete the Pan-American Highway faster, and would certainly encounter fewer accidents along the way.

In contrast, the best route from Sandbach to Poynton takes in winding country roads, some moderately-beautiful scenery, a large boat moored in someone’s back garden, and a massive satellite dish in the form of the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank. What more can a commuter ask for?

No matter how pleasant a drive is, though, it will never be better than a five minute walk to work, even if the scenery on that walk, in contrast, happens to be a dodgy car garage and several overflowing skips. This is especially true when you have young children, as I was now able to spend a bit longer having breakfast with them before leaving the house in the morning, and would be home in time to enjoy a family dinner, bath-time (them, not me) and a story before bed.

I spent three years at the Sandbach office, before I was informed earlier this year that it would have to close. I won’t go into the reasons behind the decision, suffice to say I understood why it had been made, and why I would have to return to working in Poynton.  I wasn’t happy, and losing the independence and responsibility of running an office certainly felt like a considerable step backwards in my career (it still does), but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

So, a few months ago, I packed up my belongings, took the pictures of my family and – more importantly – Edgeley Park off the wall, waved goodbye to ‘Audrey II’ (our ever-expanding plant, which had by now taken over a quarter of the office, and had started feeding on small rodents and unsuspecting children), and moved everything back to Poynton.

I knew the car journey each day would be bearable, as I had done it for six years previously, and I was actually quite excited to rediscover some long-forgotten CDs – instead of having to suffer Justin Fletcher’s Nursery Rhymes or the Frozen Soundtrack – but after a few months of rush-hour driving again, I can safely say that the novelty has well and truly worn off. This is mostly due to the fact that one important factor has changed since the last time I was part of the Cheshire commute: me.

At first, I thought it was everyone else who was suddenly the problem, and that driving standards had inexplicably and dramatically dropped in my absence, but it turns out that it is in fact me, and my complete intolerance of other drivers, which has got worse. And I wasn’t that tolerant before.

Of course, most people are angered by idiotic and dangerous drivers (apart from the idiotic and dangerous drivers themselves), but the list of misdemeanours that now regularly piss me off, has mutated faster than Audrey II and her all-encompassing, child-scoffing, foliage.

For example, I am infuriated by drivers who:

  • don’t indicate;
  • leave their indicators on for miles and miles, no doubt curiously wondering what that repetitive ticking sound in their ears might be (an unexploded bomb on the back seat perhaps?);
  • don’t say thank you when you let them out;
  • would rather block your path than let you out, despite being in a queue of slow moving traffic and going nowhere;
  • overtake/undertake dangerously;
  • drive too slowly and cause tailbacks –e.g. all Honda Civic or Toyota Yaris drivers;
  • drive over, or the wrong way around, mini-roundabouts, just because they can and because it will save them 0.005 seconds;
  • go past a queue of traffic at speed, and then cut in at the last minute…

Now, I know that a number of people reading this, will not only agree with the above list, but will also regard it as relatively common and widely-accepted amongst the sensible driving community. However, don’t be fooled into thinking my list stops there. That’s only the start, and my recent additions seem to go beyond what would be considered by most drivers to be ‘normal’.

For example, I am increasingly uneasy about the number of white cars on the roads of Cheshire. This is not an irrational form of racism on my part, but I just don’t understand why anyone would want to buy a white car, especially when they will be driving it around country roads which are, by their very nature, an endless supply of mud, road-kill and shit. Perhaps all white car owners just love to constantly clean them – as I can only assume they need to do this at least twice a week – because other than that, I cannot see the attraction.

Even worse, I tend to associate different makes and models of cars with certain stereotypes, and have now started to convince myself that the owners of white versions of these cars represent the extreme end of the spectrum. For instance, we all know that drivers of BMWs and Audis – particularly those of the saloon variety – are dangerous morons, but those in white ones seem to be even worse. I swear all white BMWs and Audis must now come with complimentary sunglasses when you buy them, because every single driver I see in one of these cars is wearing them. Even at night. I can only assume this is to help make the balding middle-manager / estate agent who is driving, feel even sexier as he overtakes someone at 85mph on a blind bend. Either that or it’s some kind of BMW/Audi-driving alien invasion.

I have often wondered whether, as a man, if you go into a BMW or Audi dealership you are immediately invited to have your genitals measured. I imagine it’s a bit like that machine you put your foot into at Clarks, when you’re buying shoes as a kid. “Good morning Sir. Yes, I’d be happy to show you our range of M3s, but if you could just step over here and flop your old chap into our willy-measurer first, please?”

Presumably, only those with extraordinarily large penises are then allowed to actually buy a BMW or Audi, because all men seen driving them appear to be extremely pleased with how well-endowed they are. Indeed, they are often so large of trouser, that this is classed as a disability, and enables them to park in a disabled space or, in extreme cases, across two of them diagonally.

Then, there are Range Rovers. Since my commute to and from work takes me through Alderley Edge, and particularly past a posh school for the children of footballers and those of inherited wealth, I am forever having to be wary of Range Rovers suddenly pulling out of gated driveways at speed, intent on travelling the 50 yards from their house to the school as fast as possible, before parking at an angle on the nearest available grass verge or child. Make that Range Rover white, and you can now almost guarantee that the artificially-chested peroxide blonde struggling to control it, is in hugely inappropriate heels ready for her daily shopping trip and spray tan. Either that, or it’s the maid driving.

I could go on and deal with the drivers of other white cars, such as sporty hatchbacks (hairdressers), or Porsches (tosspots), but I feel I have adequately made my point. Sadly, though, my irrationality doesn’t end with the drivers of white cars.

Despite having a personalised number plate myself, which is primarily made up of my initials and the year I was born, I can’t abide owners of supposedly ‘funny’ number plates. It’s bad enough when some stupid tart has a number plate like ‘LOOCY XX’, or ‘SHAZ 4EVA’, but I’m seeing more and more number plates where the driver is presumably still chuckling to himself/herself months after purchase.  A recent example that I have genuinely seen is ‘53 BUS’….. on a Volvo. Why? You might as well go for ‘D1CK 3D’ or ‘4RS3 H0L3’, because it’ll send the same message to the rest of us.

I like to think of myself, generally, as a relatively upbeat and chipper individual, who lets life’s little annoyances calmly wash over him, and hopefully you have gleaned this about me from the 23 preceding blog entries. However for two hours a day, five days a week, I am in my car and I become an irrational monster – with a fuse so short, it makes my woefully inadequate non-BMW genitals look long.

In short (no pun intended), I think the commute is starting to take its toll on my sanity, and I’m beginning to lose it a little. I’ve started talking to myself while driving, and answering the presenters on the radio. I even really liked a song by the girl group ‘Little Mix’ this week and sang along. I know, that can’t be right. But, weirder than all of that, I recently drove along a country road and, whilst passing a herd of cows, I mooed at them. I FUCKING MOOED AT THEM. Loudly, too. What, on God’s green earth, would possess a rational human being to do that, when no one is around to hear them? I genuinely fear for my mental well-being.

I have no doubt though, that my irrational madness is entirely the fault of all the other drivers in Cheshire. They may be nice people when you meet them in the street, or at a party, but when they get into their cars between the hours of 7.30-9am and 5-6pm, they are insufferable cretins who should all be shot immediately.

And don’t even get me started on cyclists.

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