I remember a friend telling me that having children makes you a lot more patient. I’d say I’ve definitely chilled out with regards to being less strict than I expected I’d be. But I don’t think my patience has improved. Especially not with driving.
I do love driving. But didn’t want to drive at 17 like so many of my friends did. I was at boarding school for 6th form and then at university, so I wouldn’t have had any opportunity to drive for several years. On leaving uni I decided I wanted to learn to help with getting a job.
After my first lesson I was so excited and felt really empowered. Just the prospect of freedom was exciting. Luckily I passed first time although I didn’t have my own car for a couple of years.
I’m quite a confident driver. I’ve done a lot of driving over the years – commuting 140 miles a day for 5 years, then 5 years of 85 miles a day. Plus plenty of car journeys for dancing and genearl exploring around the UK. It all gives you confidence. But being a commuter gives you confidence in driving and increases your annoyance with other drivers around you.
My list of driving irritations seems never-ending:
- Poor parking
- Those who drive into spaces in busy car parks, take longer to get into the space than those reversing in, and then take ages pulling out carelessly on leaving
- Lack of indicator use
- Non-existent use of fog lights when appropriate
- Forgetting to turn off indicators for ages
- Middle lane hoggers
- Drivers who don’t say thanks when you give way, especially when it’s not their right of way
- Buses who barge down narrow rural roads without even slowing down
- Fast lane tail gaters when you’re already overtaking someone at a decent speed and there’s nowhere to pull in
- Slow drivers who go well under the limit when the road and weather conditions are good
- Indecisive drivers who are vague about pulling out or overtaking
- Drivers who do 40 mph everywhere
- Yellow box or roundabout exit blockers
- Those who cut you up with no warning
- Consistent lane veerers
- tailgaters in average speed limits
I’m sure I could go on. Obviously we’re not all perfect drivers (I’ve been on a speed awareness course, and have scraped into a wall and crashed into a parked car – no idea how on either! I’ve also since done a defensive driving course and assessment through work as well which was brilliant), but it feels like the more people on the roads, the less road and s pace aware drivers are becoming.
So I don’t have the best patience when I’m driving. I like fair and I like right so I do a lot of shouting to myself about the incompetence of drivers, when driving. My language has also got worse since having N which is the wrong way round. I need to stop the swearing.
My indignance has had some benefits with N. Car journeys can end up being educational. He tries to spot drivers who have no lights on or don’t indicate first. We also discuss road safety, , why the rules are there and different things in cars. N is pretty good with rights and wrongs when driving and being aware of cars and people around him.
Hopefully add to that understanding his spatial awareness from driving around a gator, bike and quad bike from an early age, by the time he’s driving an old banger around the farm he should end up as a well rounded and aware driver.
There are divided opinions on parents driving. Insurers charge less for parents because if you’re driving your children around, the expectation is that you take more care. But others say that parents can be more distracted by having children in the car with them.
My patience may not have improved since having N, but my awareness and looking for dangers has. I’m lucky because I usually only have N in the car and he’s quite good as being quiet when I ask.
Maybe one day I’ll end up chilling out more in the car. Or at least swearing less. Until I retire and have as much time as possible to get to places, it’s pretty unlikely I’ll stop being bugged by other drivers.
What are you like when you drive? Are you confident or wary? What things about driving annoys you?
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