Nobody knows my utter frustration at various road users more than my wife, or anyone else who has ever been in the car with me. I would not go as far as to say I suffer from road rage – it’s more that I just suffer, because of all the stupid things we have to deal with on a daily basis while trying to get from point A to B.
In order to give you a fighting chance at staying off my tire slashing list, I’ve put together this handy list…
#4 — Baby on Board Signs
I understand these stupid little signs were invented to promote safer driving. What I don’t understand is why, or how they are actually expected to do that. Is this the line that hoons and bad drivers don’t dare cross? Personally, I would prefer other drivers not use me as their demolition derby bitch, regardless of who I have in my car.
When I’m driving (even without my “baby on board”), I do my very best to hang back from the lunatic veering from lane to lane and throwing beer cans out the window. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to notice a little yellow sign hanging in my back window. Shit, I doubt he can even read!
The way I see it, these stupid signs have one use and one use alone – they exist to remind you that you have a baby – don’t leave them in the shopping trolley or on the roof of the car when you drive off. Perhaps you could stick it to the middle of the steering wheel as a reminder, maybe with some other useful tips, like how to use indicators.
#3 — Indicators/Turn Signals
Late is NOT better than never! Indicating late only serves to highlight the fact that I’ve already had to guess your intentions based on the status of your break lights and your position on the road. Vehicles generally come equipped with marvelous, purpose specific signal lights on each side. They are put there, front and back, for a fucking reason. Often enough, there are extra ones on the mirrors, or the side of the car. It’s almost like car designers think they are an important feature!
I have it on good authority that they were put there to Indicate what your intentions are, not highlight what you are already in the process of doing, or what you did a block ago. Give me a break and turn the damn thing on a few seconds before you make the turn or change into my lane. Whatever you do, don’t turn it on five fucking blocks before your street… the only thing worse than having to break hard and adjust to your sudden, unexplained deviation – is sitting behind you knowing it’s going to happen soon, but not the slightest idea when.
Oh, and if you stop at some traffic lights and intent to turn right, do me a favour and indicate that intention, before I stop behind you! Why trap me behind your sorry arse for three god damned light changes? All I want is the option of taking the fucking inside lane.
#2 — The Inside Lane
The rules on this one are varied and need to be managed on a case by case basis. But the common etiquette I observe is that if you’re the first car at a red light, and you intend to go straight ahead, you get to pick a lane. Most traffic light controlled intersections around me have two lanes before the intersection, and one after. Most people here pick the right lane, partly because of parked cars or to avoid blocking slip lanes. It also allows left turning traffic to stay out of the forward going lane – everything just runs smoother. If a car is turning right, it would also take the right lane, but it should turn on it’s indicator. This small act allows cars behind to instead take the left lane – where they should politely allow existing non-turning vehicles to move off in the order they got there and slot you in where safe and practical.
The way I see it, a set of traffic lights is essentially a queue. You take your place in the queue, and although things may change around a little, you play nice and sure as hell don’t force your way through in a manner that should be reserved for trying to get to the lunch buffet, on an Italian cruise ship!
There is nothing that annoys me more at a set of traffic lights than being the only person there and yet still having to negotiate a merge because some arsehole has decided to take a shortcut up the inside slip lane like the’re at a drag racing event.
I’m not a slow driver and I don’t sit at the lights in a daze for what feels like hours once they turn green. I also accelerate at an appropriate rate until I reach the speed limit – or run up the arse end of someone who insists on going 20km/h below the stated limit. Which brings me to…
#1 — Speed Limits
Speed limits are there for a reason, nobody is arguing that fact. The real problem for me however, is they only try to do half the job. It’s all well and good to stick up a sign suggesting that attempting to break a land speed record in a school zone is not socially acceptable, even dangerous, but what about covering the other end of the spectrum?
What we need is a minimum speed limit, or better still, a simple speed limit tolerance that people be legislated into adhering to. I’m not saying people have to stay above a defined minimum no matter what happens, although I do sort of think it would make a nice change.
It’s just frustrating… there I am, happily getting from A to B, when all of a sudden, my perfectly zen outing is thrown into chaos because some annoying fuck doesn’t have either the skill or confidence required, to go more than 20Km/h in a 60 zone. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me and I am not complaining about it taking me longer to get somewhere – it’s about the flow of things, in so much as, they just don’t.
Seriously, pick a speed, make sure it’s roughly the same as the one written on the signs and stick to it – it will make everyone happier – and if not, it will make you suck at driving just a little bit less.