Shut up and drive…

I’ve been meaning to post about driving for quite a while, and since I’ve been fairly unsucessful at getting any words written during this morning’s work hours, I thought I might give it a crack during my lunch. Maybe it’ll feed into my afternoon and I’ll get my paper done…

I really dislike driving. I used to love it, I remember passing my test and going to pick Lucy up. I had a casette player and a dodgy, recorded tape with such classics as Jimmy Eat World, Sugarcult and Taking Back Sunday. I would drive to work with it as loud as it could go. There was the infamous ‘let’s drive to Cwmbran to go to the pub with Owain and friends and then drive straight back again’ trip. There were numerous drives for the sake of drives. With friends…boys(!)…

And now, I hate driving. HATE IT. There are several factors at play here:

1) My car is dying a slow and painful death. I feel like everytime I go anywhere I’m just waiting for something else to go wrong.

2) It costs money. Petrol is expensive and getting more and more expensive. I resent it.

3) Sitting in traffic jams. Commuting basically sucks out your soul. I resent this too.

4) Other people. This is the main one. Every single day I see someone do something stupid. EVERY DAY! I know this is a result of me driving on the motorway twice a day but that doesn’t make it any better. It makes me nervous just knowing these people are on the roads. I feel like it’s the majority as well, which makes it worse. At least once a day I find myself wondering why people do these things, what makes it worth it? My obsession with traffic cops/police interceptors etc doesn’t help- the other day there was an episode which focussed on elderly drivers. One of the traffic cops came across an accident on the motorway during the course of filming and sadly one of the people involved died. A mother, with two teenage daughters, a wife. All because someone had changed lanes in quick succession, not seen the traffic jam on the slip road and hit several cars. Why not just be sensible? I literally cannot understand it.  To top it off, whilst driving home from work last week I was listening to Radio 1 talking about the sharp increase in traffic accidents involving people using their phones SINCE the ban on using phones to talk or text came in to force. Apparently this is due to more people having smart phones and accessing social media, emails etc. One of the people they interviewed summed it up like this “I do it quite alot, and I’ve never had any problems.” Interviewer: “But don’t you think that you are not only putting yourself at risk, but others as well”. Interviewee: “Maybe…maybe if I had an accident then I’d consider stopping”. So, to be clear, he will consider not checking his facebook whilst driving once he has had an accident and potentially killed one or more people. These people shouldn’t be allowed on the road.

I just wish I felt like the law could change behaviour, but I don’t believe it can. I believe it is the mindset of people, that they can do what they like, that nothing bad will happen to them, that they deserve to get to their destination quicker than everyone else, which is the problem. And until they realise otherwise, like the chap who’ll stop if and when he has an accident, nothing will change. Because of this, just being on the road, or knowing others are, makes me nervous.

Postscript: after a weekend of hearing of the death of an old school friend and a member of my family, it makes me even more sad that people will take such risks, especially when they can impact other people. You only get one chance to make a decision, and the wrong one could impact on so many lives.

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One Response to Shut up and drive…

  1. Aris says:

    Very poignant. I’m sorry to hear about your loss.

    Legislation does need to be improved, along with the ways in which such legislation can be enforced. A ban on using your phone while driving came into effect in California, recently, but I hear much hasn’t changed. I’ve read about police officers being frustrated that they have no way to monitor those that are using their phones while driving, and that is a major problem.

    Commuting can be a big strain on your sanity. A couple of years ago, I had a job that involved commuting to Portsmouth, Winchester and Poole daily, which sincerely messed with my head. However, since moving back to London, I’ve not really had much reason to drive, so now miss it all the more. I think it’s safe to say that driving is a pursuit best enjoyed in moderation.

    I hope your words come back soon.

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