Firstly may I sympathise, empathise and generally commiserate with your, let’s face it – chosen, dreaded daily commute. I’ve done my fair share of miles the length and breadth of the UK and for a few years was pulling lorry driver mileage, although not in a lorry, mind! I know the stress, the irritation, the tiredness, the eye strain and the restrictive nature of sitting in that cockpit at the mercy of others, for what can feel like an eternity…
It perturbs me, as a road user and as a diligent observer, that the general regard for this weapon of mass destruction, that is freely available to all who can afford it, is lazy at best and totally ignorant at worst.
It wouldn’t matter how day-to-day their usage became, all the gun owners I know would never treat their weapons of mass destruction with such disdain and arrogance as to forget the seriousness of their worst outcome, for even a second.
Car drivers on the other hand – what are you thinking?
“I’m tired” “I’m hungry” “I want to get home” “That last meeting was interesting” “Can’t wait to have a drink” “I’m late” “I’m important” “Me” “Me” “Me”
That’s how it comes across anyway.
One false move and a child is dead. One false move and you’ve killed someone elses Mother/Brother/Father/Son. One lapse in concentration and you’ve killed your occupants. One careless manoeuvre and life is changed forever.
The thing is, my observations and experiences lead to me to realise that, when that crucial split second occurs…… you, the driver, will react instinctively to save yourself. This seems to be, according to my extensive layman’s research, why so many passengers are normally far worse off than their chauffeur in the event of an accident. I’ve been in a car where the driver swerved me into a skip to save himself – we can’t help it. It’s reflex …. and definitely worth considering twice when you next have precious cargo in the passenger seat and you’re feeling stressed or distracted.
I can strongly recommend my own preventative measure, which is to always consider the same things when I get in my vehicle: People, Motorbikes, Tractors, Rushing Van Drivers, Tired Lorry Drivers, Obstacles Blocking the Road, Nervous Drivers and the random person who has a medical emergency at the wheel… that sure sobers me up. You see crazy stuff happens and if you fail to prepare…
Driving well on public roads is a superior skill. It is far too often referred to as something we do automatically “ooh how clever we are”. NO.
Please stop driving automatically.
Please cease leaping in the car with your entire focus on your destination.
Please have some pride in your skill and continue to hone it throughout your driving career. The control of your car is just as important as the colour and the craftsmanship in defining your reputation in your area.
Please have an OCD level of perfectionism when it comes to Concentration, Control and Courtesy. They seem to be the three main causes of problems on the road, ranging from the little road rage inducing incidents to the catastrophic pileups. The quantity of you who just don’t indicate, for an example, must be some sort of joke.
Blaming speed is like blaming guns
I don’t believe it is simply speed. It is the driver…. we are ultimately responsible for the safety level that we adhere to and the outcome of each journey that we undertake. Going too slow, for an example, can be just as hazardous to other road users along with being tired, hungry, distracted, wound up, etc.
Every time you get in your car the conditions of your journey will be different. Please drive to the conditions…
At the moment it is the summer holidays.
The days are longish and lazy. Everyone who can be, is in relaxed holiday mode. The sun is bright and the sun is low and blinding in the evenings.
Please bear in mind: Families with children walking, children wobbling along on bikes, the disabled, the less mobile or hard of hearing, folk concentrating on more enjoyable pursuits than whether or not you are hurtling towards them at well over the safe speed with no regard for what is ahead…
Remember: Road-going vehicles are bloody dangerous
The men who work with chainsaws put it best, in my opinion: Comfort Kills – get too comfortable with a dangerous machine and you’ll make a costly mistake
Sometimes we all need reminded.