The Greatest Driver In The World…. YOU!

Posted: May 11, 2014 in Whingevism
Tags: , , , ,


“I’m a good driver”. It’s a commonly held belief amongst motorists. In fact to many people, this is not just a notion, it is a fully fledged conviction. If we were to run a survey asking driver’s to assess their own ability, I suspect we will find out what we already know to be true, we are all the best drivers in the world.

Road statistics provide some damning evidence against this belief. But then, statistics can be used to prove anything, right? If you believe these crazy figures, we seemingly have a predisposition to speed, drive drunk, ignore stop signs, run red lights, engage in road rage, crash and kill. We’ll even speed and run a few red lights to make sure we’re not late for a road accident victim’s funeral! That’s how good we are. But as I said, statistics are worthless, 95% of all people will tell you that.

Drivers aren’t all created equal though. Some can claim “I’ve never been in an accident”, others “I’ve never been in an accident that was my fault”. Then you have groups that would prefer not to focus on accidents, but on their proficiency in avoiding the law. “I’ve never been CAUGHT speeding” or breaking the road laws. No, we wouldn’t dare claim that we have never actually broken the law, just that we’ve been getting away with it so far, which is naturally an advanced driving skill in itself. There’s always a few who might say any law breaking would have been purely unintentional due to ridiculous signage or factors outside our control, but the evaluation of being a great driver is the same. In any event, we’re always happy to claim we are demerit point free! Should that not be the case, then there was obviously an injustice perpetrated by ridiculous law enforcement practises that should be reviewed, before some other innocent accomplished driver gets fined.

So we’re building up a good case here. No justified speeding fines, no “at fault” accidents, no justifiable demerit points, this is starting to sound like a recipe for the perfect driver is it not?

These days it’s getting harder to take all the credit for being a magnificent driver, since our automobiles are becoming so advanced. Features such as Anti-skid Braking Systems, air bags, crumple zones, and space age materials have all assisted in making car control that little bit easier and our cars even safer. Indeed there are some vehicles out there, that despite our best efforts, will still reign in our desire to lose traction or execute a four wheel drift worthy of any world rally driver. Why we would need such systems to hinder such advanced driving techniques I will never know. Even road design these days is taking the “tree that jumped out of nowhere” out of the equation.

This superfluous technology has given advanced drivers like all of us a lot more time to enjoy our driving experience. Now we can easily carry on conversations on our mobile phone, browse the internet, or even watch a DVD in the comfort of our own vehicle, whilst still performing admirably behind the wheel.

Not all drivers these days rest on their laurels though. Many actively seek to increase their skill by pursuing “advanced” driving courses and developing their skills in other arenas. This combined with a vast amount of time on the road gives them supreme confidence in their outstanding abilities.

According to the best motorists in the world (that’s us), the only real danger to our pristine record is the influence of the incompetent individual’s around us. Take for example the mindless drunken pedestrian, that strolls on to a motorway ignoring the “Don’t Walk” instruction or physical barrier. He gets hit and killed, and suddenly it’s the motorist’s fault? What rubbish! Then there’s the ignorant cyclist who believes he is entitled to ride in a lane of a busy road that was meant for more important things like high speed traffic, without any high visibility clothing. He gets hit and killed by someone who had trouble seeing him, now whose fault is that! The motorist was under the speed limit, and the cyclist was obstructing traffic, it’s clear the cyclist should never have been there! It goes on, the seemingly innocent child who runs on to the street after a basket ball. Does she stop and look for oncoming vehicles like she was taught in primary school, noooo, she just runs in front of a car and gets killed. The driver had nowhere to go, they were doing the sign posted speed limit, they were paying attention, how it is their fault!?! Now they have to live with the horrible vision of a child bouncing off their bonnet for the rest of their lives.

Fortunately in today’s society, we are desensitised to such unfortunate tragedy and able to disassociate ourselves from other “people.” This means that when a bloody corpse bounces off our bull bar and smears blood across our windscreens, we are comfortable enough to switch on the windscreen wipers and maybe give the washers a squirt to make sure our path is now clear. We have movies like “The Fast and the Furious” that teach us that our cars can defy gravity and make us sexually attractive. We have video games like “Grand Theft Auto” that show us that all pedestrians squish equally and that any serious crash is really just an excuse to get a new car. The only problem is that our governments are taxing us too much for our right to drive a car, but what the hell, we can afford it!

I don’t know why the road toll is so high. We’re all such brilliant drivers, it doesn’t make any sense.

I could go on, but perhaps it’s time for all of us to wake up now. The simple reality is that the best drivers are only a single “accident” away from being the worst. No matter how many idiot cyclists, pedestrians, animals or otherwise are around you, there are no excuses for people that are too ignorant to anticipate the worst case scenario. It’s not enough for us to obey the law. If the road conditions dictate that you might not be able to stop your vehicle if someone or some thing was to stray in your path, then you have failed as a responsible and competent driver. Ask yourself, “if something was to jump out in front of me right now, could I easily avoid it?” Picture the child running from behind the parked car, are you really ready? Simply obeying the law, or having an unblemished record says nothing to the family of a loved one stolen from them by a driver who valued a couple of minutes of their own time as more worthy than another persons life time. What happened to the best driver’s in the world?

  1. Russ Chaplin says:

    You’re right about us drivers all thinking we are good. Whenever I’m training a pupil to improve their driving I have to be very diplomatic about it. I think driving is a very personal experience that we use to express who we are. That’s why everyone thinks they’re the best. Trouble is that this attitude leads to some seriously poor driving out on the roads.

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