Sunday, 26 September 2010
Dear driver, this undertaking must stop
I passed my driving test more than half my life ago. 1988 if you must know. Second attempt, as it happens. All the best drivers pass second time, so they say. I could never commit the stopping distances to memory and, in any case, they were entirely meaningless as I can't judge distances from numbers.
No it's true -a total deficiency. Mrs TomTom has underlined my failing. She says: “In 100 meters, turn left. In 200 meters, go left on the roundabout.”
It means nothing to me. Not a clue. I can have a good guess at weights and even small distances “you’re having a laugh, that is never eight inches”.
So it wouldn’t do me any good learning how long it would take to crash at 30mph. Those sorts of things I think I must have learned by driving quite a lot over the years.
I do remember most of the other rules though. Like on a motorway, you don’t stop, you try to avoid eating in a service station and - you stick to the inside lane, only overtaking if necessary, then returning.
Now I don’t think many of the rules have changed, except that weird country dance maneuver you used to have to do a turning right at a crossroads if someone was coming towards you turning to their right.
It was the law that overtaking was when you went round to the right of a car in front of you that was going more slowly. On a motorway or dual carriage way this is easier as the oncoming traffic isn't generally an issue.
But lately I've noticed a new set of maneuvers coming into play.
Firstly there’s the ‘I’ll just stay in the outside lane because my car is nice and shiny and it’s less effort than indicating and looking and going back over there to the left. Am I in your way, oh sorry. Oer, don't get all flashy and cross and tailgaty on me. That’s it, I was going to go, but I’m not now’ outside lane hogger.
Admittedly driving around Glasgow’s M8 it’s perilous to saunter along in the inside line oblivious because suddenly you can find yourself on a non-stop route to Govan, Easterhouse or somewhere else you aren't likely to want to go.
However the outside lane hogger seems to have given rise to another driving outrage. The undertake.
These are motorists whose lives are so important they can’t possibly wait for the outside lane hogger to get the message. They just drive round them on the left.
They obviously have to be somewhere so urgently that they don’t care that drivers are working on the reasonable assumption that inside lane vehicles will be going more slowly than outside lane ones.
I know they do it in America – you see it on the movies. But America is different, they hang people there. They have sidewalks, trunks and diapers. They charge people who are sick and a lot of them think Sarah Palin is a good idea.
So I’d like you to dig out your old Highway Code book and remind yourself of the rules. Undertaking is against them, it’s selfish and it really annoys me. Please stop.
Pic: Boy One gets his first set of wheels