The Maddening Crowd – A Guide To Bad Driving Habits

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Intoxicated by Mike Kline

A few years ago, my beloved Mk2 Volkswagen Golf GTi 8-valve was hit at full ramming speed from behind while I was stationary. It was raining heavily, and I’d stopped (with foot on brake) at pedestrian crossing to let someone across when WHAM – a car slammed into the rear of my Golf doing approximately 40 mph. The other car was being a driven by a lady not concentrating on the road ahead in the slightest. My GTi was written off with immediate effect, and to top it off she had no insurance.

It’s not a nice experience – in fact it’s absolutely awful. It’s physically painful of course, and your pride and joy is smashed so badly it’s beyond economical repair. Taking out a road accident claim against people like this for as much as possible is thoroughly encouraged! If the accident didn’t already, this may knock them into seeing something most sane people already realise – driving, surprisingly, needs a degree of concentration!

Below is a few things I’d like to say to all the drivers out there who are busy changing nappies, applying makeup, reading oversized maps, hunting on the floor for CD’s or their MP3 player while doing 60mph, and even shaving (down south)! Regarding road safety and accidents statistics though, I’m not going to quote a load in this article. I can’t stand them, and they’re never totally correct anyway.

So, let’s get on with my pet driving habit hates. Using a phone without a hands-free device is bad. What thoroughly baffles me is that if you do want to phone and drive, a headset costs around £10, a bluetooth kit maybe £80. If you’re having to use the phone all the time, go buy one you flippin’ tight-wads.

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An even worse one, and very common: drivers of luxury vehicles – which clearly have Bluetooth installed as standard – driving about with a phone clamped to their ear. Connecting a phone to your car via Bluetooth is a ridiculously simplistic task, and yet apparently it’s too difficult for many drivers of Range Rovers, Mercedes-Benz S-Class’, Jaguar XJ’s, BMW 7-Series… you get the idea.

Next up: Taking ‘selfies’ photographs while driving. Those guilty of this have a brain the size of a pea. A turtle, nay, a slug, has more of an I.Q than them, and their reaction times are about the same too. Newsflash; looking at your phone means you’re not looking at the road ahead. It’s not just stupid, but utterly dangerous too, and there’s already been fatalities because of this.

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Decided you don’t wanna wear a seatbelt today? A small thing called ’common sense’ comes into play here. I’m not going to be boring about this and lecture you like you’re 12 again. That’s what the Police like to do, and it just annoys, not educates.

Instead, here’s the fact for all those with a tiny brain made of deer-droppings: if you crash in a car at speed, and you’re not wearing a seat belt, you will almost certainly perish, or be crippled for life. Your delicate head hitting the windscreen, dash, or head-butting the person sat in front of you will do that.

To be blunt – as that’s what people need who don’t decide to belt up – think about this in detail: as the vehicle you’re travelling in hits whatever it does, you have no time to react, as G-forces so strong it makes the forces fighter jets pull look weak in comparison throw your body forward like a rag-doll. Your face impacts with the solid interior of the car, or as mentioned the persons head in front of you, smashing it like a baseball bat to a melon. Your ribs crush inwards, doing unrepairable internal damage to various vital organs (or the other way around), and your neck snaps as easily as a brittle twig as you bounce off whatever you’ve hit… and that’s game over. Oh, and an airbag won’t stop this either. Check out this video if you don’t believe me.

It’s graphic, but talk to any paramedic who’s been to an accident involving a crash with a car full of people not wearing seat belts, and they’ll give you enough gory stuff to make you change your mind instantly.

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Breast feeding and driving by Mike Kline

Mums ’looking after’ their kids while driving. Breast-feeding and changing nappies needs to be done, but not at the wheel! Yes this happens a lot apparently, and yes, it’s totally dumb, mums. Pull over and do it. No further explanation is needed surely!

There has to be a happy medium regarding what ’should and should not’ be done at the wheel though. As drivers, we don’t want PC Plod taking away our independence and freedom. If certain individuals in the constabulary and government had their way, a car would have everything including the stereo stripped out to avoid any ’distraction’, and you’d be monitored constantly.

Their ideal world is like some crappy Seventies sci-fi film where only grey skies exist, humans are fully controllable and we only have flat beer and cold chips for nourishment. We don’t want that. Cold chips are the worst.

It’s a hard one to fathom though, this subject. We can’t all be tarred with the same metaphorical brush as being complete idiots. Personally, I don’t see a problem with an astute road user having a nice Ginsters pasty and a cappuccino while driving in certain conditions. Lots do, and lots don’t crash while doing so – it’s all about common sense.

But then I’d rather the person driving the white van following me approximately five inches behind on a motorway would rather not. This is because a hedgehog has more road-awareness than he has.

What’s there to be done about it all though? Well, not much really. That’s life as we know it Jim. It’s down to those individuals choosing to drive like Orang-utans, to be intelligent and prudent, but that’ll never happen – have a drive down the motorway for all the evidence you’ll ever need!

Photo Credits

Photographer: Lord Jim Photos: Cop on cell phone Man driving while texting.

Drawings: Mike Kline– Intexticated & Breast feeding and driving

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