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Friday, September 16, 2005

Road Rant

Some drivers really make you lose hope. I was driving back to work this morning having dropped my wife off at the train station. The traffic was moving somewhat slowly around the one way system, but not as bad as it can be. The car in front of me slowed to allow another driver to pull out of a side street into the traffic, she then pulled forward... and almost got hit by the white van driver who pulled out of the sidestreet behind the car. He cursed and gesticulated and generally acted like an idiot towards the woman, before I left a gap and so he could pull out and then he hurtled at speed into the other lane, breaking hard to avoid hitting a car stopped in the traffic at the lights.

He was at fault, it was the woman's right of way and she had courteously let a car go. Yet in his mind he was the injured party and he wasn't above dishing out some choice phrases to show his displeasure - how dare she not let him out!!!!

Some drivers really seem to believe that they have the divine right to do what they want rather than accepting that they are sharing the road. Plus you are licensed to drive, it is not a right anyway (except in the US (Colorado) where the test was so easy, they might as well issue licenses on your birthday).

That reminds me of something I overheard a friend say one time in the US. She is an MD and she mentioned to her husband that people in Boulder drove too slowly (we were doing the limit) and that you should get up behind them to speed them up. I almost asked whether she understood the concept of stopping distance and reaction times, I wish I had.

Then again this is the same woman that used the point that you should not ban mobile phone use when driving since it is only as distracting as having a car full of kids. Should we ban all mothers who take kids to school since they are a potential danger to other road users? It never once occurred to her that her argument was based on the premise that if something bad is allowed then we should allow all bad things, even if one is much more easily preventable than the other. I doubt that any of you reading this fails to see the stupidity inherent in this argument. I do like her I am just amazed that this highly intelligent woman could be so dangerously inclined on the road, especially having worked in an ER. Then again all the medical students I knew in my first couple of years at university smoked, drank too much and had ingested every substance that it is possible to ingest in any method imaginable. I guess that means they were familiar with the stuff when treating for it later.

Oh and another thing. To the guy in the delivery van parked on the main road this morning. If you have pulled into a legitimate parking space at the side of the road at the front of a row of parked cars, don't put your hazard lights on to signify that you are parked. The car behind you obscures the view so that it looks as if you are indicating to pull out! Stop it!


The Holywriter said...

None the less, there are others things people do while driving that are more distracting than a cell phone.

Kav said...

I'm not disputing that here, though through anecdotal observations I am heavily biased against mobile phone use whilst driving and that's beside the actual testing.

Simply put, the argument stinks. We have something that has been shown to cause major distraction to the user and to increase the chance of accidents and harm to other road users. To suggest that it should not be banned because we have not taken action on another accident causer is nonsensical. To take it to extreme, you never do anything since you can never start anywhere.

Kav said...

To those who do use cell/mobile phones whilst driving I would urge you not to. I do not mean to offend but everytime you engage in a conversation you are potentially endangering yourself and anyone else on the road.

My advice is to read the Stewart report for starters. It highlights that it isn't just the use of a phone in your hand that is the problem, rather it is the effect of entering into conversation that is the problem. The way one of the panel members described it, it was that the other person is unaware of the conditions you are driving in and as such makes no allowances in their conversational style as a passenger is likely to. Strange but true.

Kav said...

Out of curiosity, what do you have in mind as being more distracting?