In what must be a sign of ageing, I am rarely on the roads these days without at least one moment of rage.
Luckily for other drivers, my rage stays mostly internal – at most, I might mutter a few choice words under my breath. But I am starting to wonder if our driving standards are slipping or if we all need some reeducation on the road rules. It’s chaos out there.
Every drive, I’m either being tailgated, cut in front of, dealing with drivers who don’t indicate, or watching someone yahoo between lanes speeding, putting the rest of us in danger. It gets exponentially worse when I’ve got the horse float hitched – people see a trailer of any kind and lose their minds, as though being behind one will add hours onto their drive time. Cue the dangerous over-and-undertaking, with no regard for the fact that towing vehicles can’t brake suddenly to accommodate their stupidity.
(Also, for those who may find themselves behind a horse float in the future, I speak for all equestrians when I say that we will 100 per cent put the safety of our animals above your schedule, so tailgate all you like, we not only won’t speed up, we probably can’t even see you in our mirrors).
I’m not claiming that I’m an excellent driver.
In fact, I know I’m not a ‘good’ driver – I never attempt a reverse parallel park because I know it’ll take me 100 manoeuvres, and I will not be volunteering to teach my future kids how to drive.
But I’m a safe driver. I follow road rules and do my best to get from point A to point B without endangering any lives. Lately, I feel like the roads are filled with people overestimating their driving prowess and underestimating just how dangerous driving is and how slim a margin of error we have between safety and disaster.
In fact, for all the vitriol people like to spout about P-platers and younger drivers, I have to say that I rarely see a P-plater driving dangerously. But hit the Majura Parkway at any hour of the day (I drive that road four times a day, so take my word for it), and you’ll probably get tailgated by a truck, have people merge without shoulder checking, and watch everyone speed their way past the 80 sign onto Horse Park Drive, only to slam on the brakes at the traffic lights. It’s a miracle that I only drive past a wreck every second or third day.
Maybe when we renew our licences, we should have to do another driving test – a refresher on road rules. Or perhaps we should all be forced to listen to a report on just how many fatalities and avoidable costly accidents our roads see every year as a reminder not to take our responsibilities as drivers lightly.