Hot motoring news from the UK is the clampdown by the police on the three things that irritate motorists, namely tailgating, lane hogging and mobile phone use. Wonder what those who do these things have as a pet hate?
A change in the law will allow British police to issue spot fines without the need for a court appearance. Here in Spain spot fines are the norm except for serious breaches of the law
Only the other day, I was driving down the AP7 where the car ahead of me was tooling along in the middle lane and using his phone whilst chatting to his companion. Everyone seemed reluctant to overtake so a tailback was generated. Suddenly the car sprung into life and screamed away; those Guardia Civil certainly know how to drive!
So why do these things get up our nose so much? I suspect that we are annoyed because we feel we are being endangered in some way or because we have an intense dislike for those who think they own the road. Yes I know that we do own the road as taxpayers (well those of us with Spanish registered cars anyway) but you know what I mean
Tailgating to many people is really scary; I mean what a thrill it is when the adrenaline is pumping because if you do get any closer to the car in front you may have an accident, so you have to keep pumping those brakes and find it impossible to view any other traffic. Great fun for you, but intimidating for the driver in front. Not only are tailgaters a danger to other road users, but must have appalling fuel consumption.
Vehicle fuel is converted into energy to drive the car forward; the brakes waste this energy by turning it into heat via friction to slow you down. It is incredible to witness the tailgaters whose remaining brake lights are going on and off all the time instead of using a space cushion to decelerate
I knew that I was being tailgated when my better half remarked that she liked the shade of lipstick being worn by the driver behind; what different perspectives males and females have
Middle lane hogging on 3-lane motorways is equally annoying but the reactions to this are somewhat disproportionate. Tell me who hasn’t witnessed this at some stage? A driver plodding down the middle lane being overtaken simultaneously on the left and right? Being undertaken? Or a car doing the overtaking cutting the bugger up to get back into the inside lane? Maybe this is the real problem in that it is the reactions of other drivers that create dangerous situations; if so and you are a hogger, stop winding us up
Incidentally a common theme particularly amongst British drivers in Spain is to take the left lane far too early when approaching a roundabout. You can get away with this in the UK as it would be accepted that you will be taking the roundabout on the outside so traffic will “undertake” you without hesitation. Here in Spain the left lane on both straight roads and at roundabouts is for overtaking only, so Spanish-taught drivers will be reluctant to undertake you or will do so out of frustration.
Mobile phones cause driver distraction and we have all witnessed drivers doing daft things whilst on the phone as their mind wanders to the football match or discussions of a new dress. Using one hand to drive even automatics is not sensible, but many of us do it. I have just replaced my old hands-free with a fantastic piece of kit from Parrot that clips onto the sun visor allowing portability from car to car. The only time a cable is needed is to charge its battery up. Legal yes, but vigilance is still necessary- (God that was smug Graham!)