Thursday, July 05, 2007

The lore of the road

My driving instructor was a strange little chap: we couldn’t start my lesson until The Archers had finished (in case it affected my concentration); he could smoke and I couldn’t (ditto). “You drive like you live your life,” he told me once. I took it as a compliment.

But I remember him most for introducing me to the rudiments of the lore of the road. “Beware of Volvo drivers,” he cautioned, “they think they own the road.” The father of my boyfriend of the time drove a Volvo and perfectly satisfied the stereotype. Saab drivers were to be given a wide berth too: “Their cars are built like tanks so they’re not too bothered if they hit you.” I quickly learnt that BMW drivers (especially those in black cars) were part of the same clique.

Today, Audi drivers appear to have adopted the mantle. There seem to be more Audis on the road: they always used to be aspirational motors that were confined to the affluent. Either Audis have come down in price or people are buying cars out of their class. They certainly don’t show many manners. They think nothing of pulling out in front or cutting you up. For such expensive cars, I find it quite curious that most don’t have indicators fitted as standard.

In that respect, they are almost on a par with the kings of the indicator avoiders – the boy racers. It seems to be a badge of honour – along with fat exhausts that look like empty baked bean tins and a mind-numbing bass beat that they nod to like the Churchill dog – to turn off or pull out without signalling their intention to other people on the road.

I spend two hours commuting, five days a week. I have developed a very thick skin and can string together whole lists of expletives in a most artistic manner. Audi and BMW drivers, I have found, are especially good at tailgating you at 80mph. I don’t move. If they flash their lights, my foot involuntary removes itself from the accelerator. I am also quite handy at gesticulating and blasting the horn. “Once you’ve found the horn,” says one of my colleagues, “you never forget where it is.” She’s so right.

34 comments:

@themill said...

Oh Lordy. Do I confess now? But I do always indicate.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, eminem ! I would caution you against getting too arsey with BMW driving w@nkers - if they drive into the back of you, it will be their fault, but this may be small consolation if you end up in hospital.

Living in a city, I don't drive at present, so I'm not sure what your point is about Audis. Growing up in Wales they were generally bought by middle-aged farmers, as they were '4-wheel drive' before the other 'SUV/4*4s' were available.

However, I might be able to shed some light on the problem. There was an advert on the telly 5-7 yrs ago in which a w@nker in a wine bar was mouthing off, posing, generally being a 'loadsamoney' eejit. He was driving an Audi, but at the end of the advert you see that he is taking it back to the garage - he is only taking it for a test drive.

He then walks to a BMW while talking to Charles on a mobile saying b*!!*cks like 'See you later, ciao..no, not buying the car - it's not my style..'.

However much you may disparage advertising, the end result was that some BMW drivers immediately went to their local Audi garage to trade in their 3-series because they were 'd!ckhe@ds', and the 'cap fitted' from the advert, and were hoping that if they bought an Audi they would suddenly be lovely and cool.

Of course, if any further proof were needed of the superiority of you women over us feeble-minded blokes, you would struggle to find it - but look on the bright side, at least they've invented speed cameras..

P.S. the 'drongo' car of choice in Wales these days is the Vauxhall Frontera. Dreadful when it was new - it has become a 'cheap' runabout for many people due to the horrendous depreciation and naff 'I've got an SUV' appeal.

Sarnia said...

Good for you M&M! I HATE tailgaters and the speed limit here is 35 mph!

I drive a Mini Cooper but my previous car was a BMW. However - I was always courteous etc.

Gill said...

jeep cherokee drivers insist on being in the middle of the road because they are frightened of getting their black shiny paint dirty and if you see a subaru impreza its likely to be able to accelarate very fast into a tree.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Be careful of those tailgaters! Don't play games with them. I advise you to let them pass. Out on the roads it is no place to play games so let the idiots by. Don't fuel their anger. Let them pass to have their inevitable accidents with some other poor bugger.
That was the serious bit. My beef is with taxi drivers! Who the hell do they think they are? Kings of the goddam road or something? Rule number twenty three - NEVER give way to a taxi. Let em wait!

Anonymous said...

gill - yes ! you are so right !

the subaru impreza is truly the idiot's car of choice these days.

sadly in wales a middle aged teacher who should have known better drove one at 90+ and killed a person in a car coming the other way. see it is no joke - men just don't grow up.

mutterings and meanderings said...

@themill, I'm sure you're the exception that proves the rule ..

Anon and YP, I don't play games - I just refuse to be intimidated, I have every right to be there and not be pushed out of the way. Flashing your lights is the height of bad manners...

Sarnia, 35mph everywhere??? What a waste for your mini cooper (I covert a mini cooper)

Gill, I bet none of them have tow bars on the back either... 4x4s without tow bars are wasted...

Sarnia said...

Well - not 35mph everywhere - in some places (town and near schools) it's 25mph.

I did 40 once but got away with it.

Seriously though the roads are so narrow that only a fool would want to drive faster than 35.

Drunk Mummy said...

What about White Van Man M&M? Surely the most ignorant and intransigent of all road users!

Sarnia said...

Oops! That might have sounded rude - of course I'd love to drive my car faster than 35mph (just not do-able in Guernsey).

The States are strict re: speeds. I LOVED driving there. The roads were wide and straight. Speed limit on the Interstate was 60mph (I think - was a while ago!). Moving from there to Guernsey (with its narrow little lanes) was quite a frightening experience!

DJ Kirkby said...

You spend 2 hours commuting?! Suddenly I don't feel so sorry for myself...when do you find the time to blog???

Blossomcottage said...

Rather you than me all that driving, I hate having to go to the village shop these days, only a mile down the road. I used to drive hundreds of miles every year in a great big horsebox with three ponies, two children I husband and 4 dogs, no one argues with a woman driving a horsebox except of course the children, the husband and the dogs, and the ponies by crashing about in the back and threatening to fall over!!
Nice to have met you.
Blossom

Stay at home dad said...

I have to disagree with your otherwise accurate analysis, M&M. While Audi drivers (apart from those in souped-up models) are generally pretty well-behaved, EVERY SINGLE BMW driver thinks they're driving a go-kart. It's the rear-wheel drive, I think, or maybe just the image.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Sarnia, your Mini Cooper - perhaps you should donate it to me, and get a bike instead ... ;)

DM, I think white van men would take up a whole post in themselves ...

DJK, I start early and am home by about 5.30pm all being well, then I do horsey stuff, then the blog gets attention if I feel inspired!

Blossom Cottage, welcome along. i so wish I was a woman driving a big horsebox ...

mutterings and meanderings said...

SAHD, perhaps it's North East Audi drivers then!

Omega Mum said...

Now being told that I drive the way I live my life would worry the hell out of me.....Never get out of second gear; brake just when I get to the interesting bits. Middle of the road. Fan belt sagging. My God, how can you take it so calmly? Or perhaps you're just a much better driver.......

Anonymous said...

djk - don't listen to her, she does the blog WHILE driving...smart these girls with their 'multi-tasking'..

lady macleod said...

can't write, laughing.. can't wr...

rilly super said...

you don't like saab drivers? sob, nobody loves me...

You are right about men driving too close though M&M. Just the other day I met a chap who said he had been rear-ended by my husband, sigh

Karen said...

I hate white van men - they are the worst for panting up your arse.

Premature ejaculation drivers - people who pull out in front of you - are pretty bad too. Especially when they proceed to drive at 2mph one they've pulled out in front of you.

And you forgot to mention BLOODY FARMERS (except for Uncle Jimmy). They are hardly ever courteous and pull over for you.

Much like 4x4 drivers who couldn't possibly go off road in case their car gets muddy. Which of course is the inverse to 4x4 drivers in London who buy spray on mud...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, eminem, I forgot to mention that in Wales cars have different names..

An Audi in Wales is pronounced 'or-dee'..

And a Mercedes is pronounced 'Myrrh-sea-dizz'..

It is rather amusing, a bit like that skit Clarkson does about how the Americans pronounce Japanese car names...talking of which, check out this great advert..please don't deprive yourself of this..

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kWF-hH1nloo

mountainear said...

Another well behaved Audi driver here I'm afraid.

Seems to me that there are people who could be driving a hearse and still be bad mannered. Or pedestrians even. Perhaps being behind a steering wheel makes them worse.

Lord Straf-Dresden said...

...we couldn’t start my lesson until The Archers had finished...

I call that a fine set of priorities. Well done to him.

ziggi said...

BMWs are definitely the worst! Mind you it's tanks I have trouble with - just cause they could drive over you without blinking they think they own the the tank tracks!

Nunhead Mum of One said...

my driving instructor claimed that I was very kind to pigeons in that I would slow down and sometimes actually stop if I found them in my path.

We're getting rid of our BMW because the last time David drove it, he cut up a little old lady who - he said - was going at "zero miles an hour". This little old wound down her window and asked him everso politely what the initials BMW stood for. When he said he didn't know, she said "Bloody Moronic W****r!" and drove off.

We're thinking of getting the new Astra.....

muddyboots said...

boy racers. l just can't believe l haven't seen one of them die yet. why do they always overtake you on corners or going up hill, & another thing, why should you let them in when there is a car coming in the opposite direction! as for the fury dice, baked bean tin exhausts, low suspension & oh small engine size... & then there's the flowers when they kill themselves........

lady macleod said...

I just saw this and thought of you!

driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/article2037212.ece

Mopsa said...

What do you do on those 10 forced in-car hours, apart from driving that is? Sing? That's more than a working day.... I feel tired at the prospect.

Orhan Kahn said...

We have way too many BMW's in Sydney.

Rob Clack said...

I try to apply the principle that a nutcase driving away from you is less likely to crash into you than one driving towards you.
Can't fault your logic, but being right doesn't mend broken bones.

Brom said...

I once turned into a road in the USA to find a woman driving towards me on the wrong side of the road, of course my inbuilt safety system instantly assumed that I was driving on the wrong side of the road as I was the foreigner, so I drove onto the wrong side of the road, just as she turned onto the right side of her road. Luckily there was still some time left to put things right.

beta mum said...

My uncle drives a BMW and is a tailgating, speed limit disrespecter who's already lost his licence a few times.
My Dad drives a Mercedes in the same way, but keeps a look out for speed cameras.
Out of the two, I reckon my uncle is the most dangerous.

patsy said...

Okay, have to confess to BMW estate but it is second hand, 5 years old and usually full of dog, kids ,tack,grooming kit, shopping, lipstick and bombay mix.
I am paranoid about leaving space in front of me on my twice weekly sojourn up the A34 to Oxford but then some plonker usually nips in to the gap I have created!
M&M I was probably at my least safe driving round the roads of Northumberland at a great rate of knots on my way to some emergency or other in my country vet days in a very beat up old car. Got pulled out of more than one ditch on snowy days!

Bruce said...

Thanks for the blog.
You made me remember my first driving experience.
My instructor did not tell me anything, even "beware of Volvo drivers".
But I think that we have to avoid vans, cause every van man thinks that he is a king of a road, and he really does whatever he wants, and this is a problem, especially for beginners.
In sum at my first lesson I was hit by a white van man. very pity.