I absolutely love to drive! My dream vehicle must be a ‘Standard H’ manual preferably ‘suped up’ with enough noise coming from the muffler to raise the dead. I confess that I am fascinated by watching articulated trucks and buses, and there is no feeling like hearing an 18-wheeler backing down to make an impossible hairpin-like turn into a gap!
However, my heart is burdened by the blatant misuse of our country’s roads so I have chosen to talk about my Top 10 Traffic Travesties.
1. Ignorance of the lay-by. The purpose of the lay-by is for vehicles, especially buses, to pull to the side of the road so that there is still room for the free flow of traffic. We should not be left to seethe silently as you the driver and conductor try to race to town before the competition.
2. Indicators. There is nothing more frustrating than realizing that the vehicle ahead of you is making a turn or stopping for whatever reason without indicating. Despite, according to the sergeant, ‘driving a reasonable distance behind the vehicle ahead of you’ there is little time to prepare you for the neck-snapping braking that must be employed to avoid an accident. My degrees are in the sciences not mind reading!
3. Pedestrian crossings. As a driver it is most annoying to have persons who believe they should see a crossing fewer than ten feet away and choose to jay-walk . . . that it is his or her right and the driver must be obligated to allow him or her to cross. On the other hand what about the drivers who try their best to mow persons down as they attempt to cross the road on the designated crossings.
4. Speed Limits. The speed limits are just that. Limits. The maximum at which one should drive, cycle, run or walk. They are neither targets to be achieved nor goals to be surpassed. I should not be forced onto the verge by the sheer speed of someone who believes in time-travelling, whilst I obey the road signs. Conversely, a driver should not try the patience of another road user by seeing how close to 0km/hr he or she can stay and maintain motion at the same time.
5. Pothole problems. There is no way I can have an article on traffic problems and ignore the obvious. I have been shaken to tears when I heard the crack made by my vehicle after two-thirds of it fell into a pothole. Previously it was only those vehicles that were ‘lowered off’ seen zig-zagging through the streets or those driving under the influence of stimulants. Unfortunately, there is no standard by which the depth of a pothole can accurately be calculated. As such, there is now a ‘line-dancing’ phenomenon seen as car after car seeks to avoid the craters in the roads.
6. Colour blindness. Whilst this is a legitimate medical condition afflicting mostly men, it seems as though the vast majority of our drivers today (females included) are sufferers. The traffic light is clearly red and a long line of vehicles continues to drive through the various intersections. As such it is advisable that a driver, although he or she has the green light, should make sure that it is safe to cross the intersection.
7. The obnoxious road user. So many fall into this category – the ZR driver in the wrong lane, off route or on the wrong side of the road, whose conductor assumes super hero status, and flies out of the vehicle to stop traffic to correct the wrongs; the driver who forces you to stop by not stopping at an intersection; the driver who refuses to acknowledge you did them a favour by allowing him or her to cross; the pedestrian who saunters across the road at the speed of cold molasses up a hill backwards, whilst silently daring you to do something about it; cyclists who ride in three’s or four’s blatantly ignoring the mile-long line of traffic behind them.
8. Ignorance of traffic laws. It never ceases to amaze me the number of supposedly licensed drivers who disregard traffic laws. There are so many accidents which have clearly been caused by one or more drivers, who ignore the rules, as well as pedestrians doing as they please. It stands to reason that the persons who made the laws did so to protect road users as opposed to having time to waste poring over law books, statistics and road maps. I am sure that the relevant authorities would prefer not to have to respond to any mass casualty, especially those which could have been avoided by persons being responsible road users.
9. Incapable drivers. There are many situations which may cause a driver to become incapable of safely getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. The list includes and dare I say is not limited to the following:- the inexperienced unsupervised driver regardless of age, some of the elderly, the unwell, those unaware of the traffic laws including visitors to the island, and those who are afraid of current traffic trends. Such persons should not venture to sit behind the wheel of a vehicle.
10. ‘Poly-drivers’. Today there are many drivers who seek to drive his or her vehicle, along with that of another road user. Place yourself at the mouth of an intersection managed by traffic lights. Before all the bulbs within the green light can be fully illuminated, from six cars behind, comes the blaring of an irate horn. Such a one cannot decide for the driver when he or she should move. For me (as I suspect for any other road user), any manoeuvre is made based on the ‘astrophysics-level’ calculation combining the speed of the oncoming traffic, the power of my engine and my perception of prevailing road conditions.
I believe that this was the better way of expressing my frustrations as a driver, rather than being a perpetrator of road rage. What do you think?