Jeff Corbett on the motoring habits that drive him to anger.

One of the problems I have with retirement is the number of old codgers and biddies out and about driving between peak hours when I'm out and about driving. If ever you've seen four of them stuck looking at each other at a four-way-stop intersection you'll sympathise with me.

Then it gets worse at 2.30pm, when the roads become clogged with women drivers picking up their kids from school.

From 10ish the roads are crawling with oldies tootling about in their manicured cars oblivious to the fact that the rest of us have places to go, then into the mix at 2.30 charge huge numbers of drivers who think they are the only driver on the road, who are oblivious to the pandemonium in their wake.

It's a real pity that those who gave women the right to drive all those years ago could not have spent an hour-and-a-half from a school day 2.30pm on the Hunter's urban roads today. It's almost enough to drive me back to fulltime work.

Now, I don't want to exaggerate the terrible toll these two groups have on sane, orderly, considerate drivers, and I must acknowledge that they're never guilty of tailgating, lane hopping or speeding. That's the stuff of westies and other hoons, but we can fairly fit the gerries, which is my respectful word for geriatrics, and young to middle-aged mothers with everything else.

Probably their most incendiary habit is hogging the overtaking lane, seemingly intent on ignoring the cacophony of blaring horns behind them. They may tell you they're travelling at the speed limit, which amplifies the problem because it prevents the drivers in the jam behind from passing on the inside and startling the lane hogger by cutting sharply back into the right lane. Mostly, though, I think they're oblivious.

Almost as infuriating is their delay in taking off when the lights turn green. It's a mystery as to what they do in the car when the they realise that the cars in front have gone, and I wonder if they have to disengage the handbrake, put the automatic lever back to Drive, then check that their hands are at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock on the wheel.

For too long young drivers have been blamed with pretty well all the bad driving, and are burdened with rules, while the most inflammatory drivers are almost guaranteed a clean slate because they don't speed!

Worse than having to brake and wait is that because many lights are triggered by a gap in traffic the selfish driver gets through just in time and you don't. A pip of the horn will remind them that there were drivers behind with places to go, and just in case they're gerries who are hard of hearing give them the finger by way of remonstration.

Stopping unnecessarily at roundabouts is probably their most dangerous everyday failing. While you're looking to the right and see that there is no vehicle on the roundabout the silly woman or old goat in front of you has stopped. It is, I've read, a major cause of accidents, and the reason is that women of all ages can't seem to grasp that roundabouts are about not stopping without good reason. Hopefully the horn will help them understand. 

I refuse to travel in a car with my wife driving unless she vows not to stop unnecessarily at roundabouts.

Hey, don't you just love it when you're driving down the outside lane past cars stuck behind a car turning right and one of the stuck drivers puts on the left blinker! It's always a SBW (silly bloody woman) or a SOG (stupid old goat), and it's funny that they seem to think someone should stop to let them in. But it's not at all funny when another SBW or SOG does. Again, use the horn educationally. The same inconsideration explains the insistence of gerries with nowhere to go stopping to let vehicles in from a side street when the queue of cars is at last moving forward. They are in effect giving your turn to move forward to someone else, but, as I've explained, they're oblivious to those behind. At least they're oblivious until you lean on the horn. It's this same stupor that sees gerries or women with kids stop halfway into a service station driveway, blocking the cars behind them while they decide on a bowser. The same stupor that prevents them sensing the frustration behind when they don't keep up with the traffic, that allows them to slow to a crawl to check out a house. Start with a corrective pip and move up the scale as required.

For too long young drivers have been blamed with pretty well all the bad driving, and they are burdened with special driving rules and penalties as a result, while the most inflammatory and inconsiderate drivers are almost guaranteed a clean slate because they don't speed!

If anyone should have special requirements for their licence, it's the SBWs and SOGs, and a rear-view-mirror light that flashes every 10 seconds to encourage them to look behind should be the first. Fines and loss of points for driving below the speed limit should be the second.


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