Driving for others
Over time my experience of driving has changed and some may say for the worse particularly my intolerance for those drivers who don’t have the necessary skills to exist on anything other than an empty road.
It isn’t that some people are timid or prone to exaggerated carefulness, although that is undoubtedly frustrating for those caught up in the miles long queues behind them, it is more that some folks seem to think you should be driving on their behalf. To explain by way of an example: My morning commute sees a few places where I have to create a space in order to join one road from another at a junction. As these are mainly side roads there aren’t too many other drivers waiting and I try to pick places where there is a good possibility of having space from one direction or another and sometimes both. The scenario plays out as I cross an empty lane and gently wait for the some kind person in the other line of traffic to gesture that I can get in front of them. This also plays when you are turning left into the nearer lane and the steady stream of traffic requires a little help so just a tiny slowdown gives a gap for you to fill.
Morning rush hour traffic is generally good for this as there are many people doing the same thing throughout the journey and as one good turn deserves another I would create the same space or flash up a waiting driver to indicate I will give up space for him or her.
This is not where you are driving for others but merely allowing other people the space to drive for themselves. The problem shows up where a waiting driver doesn’t know that they can go into a space and sits waiting for you to flash or otherwise indicate they can cross in front of you or take a space in front of you.
Classically where there is a driver turning right across in front of you into a road on your left and another waiting to cross your lane to take up a place in the opposite lane from that same road. Most people would see the opportunity to cross behind the vehicle turning across into the side road if the opposite lane is empty or even if it isn’t might pull forward to be ready to take a space when available, but the ones who want you to do their driving for them sit and look pathetically at you hoping you’ll give them permission to drive their vehicle for them. I’ve had occasion to flash someone up to go across, usually having to flash them several times before they get the message, which generally means they have missed the gap that was approaching and now are firmly planted across my lane waiting for someone the other side to take pity on them. I don’t generally do that anymore because if they aren’t ready they aren’t going to be in place when they need to be.
Chief culprit for this lack of driving skills is sadly taxi drivers. A cab company next to our factory has by no means the worst drivers but if I am approaching the turn into the service road and they are waiting to turn out across in front of me I will flash them to proceed. I have my indicator going to clearly show my intentions and they have clear sight of an empty road to turn into but I often have to flash them three or four times before they understand.
As I get older I feel the lack of years in front of me and often now won’t flash someone more than once and if they don’t take the hint I carry on assured that I will get there much more quickly than if I am generous and helpful.
I am sure that many of these drivers will be asking me silently, or maybe cursing me loudly for not letting them out but to them I say simply that I have my own vehicle to drive so why would I want to drive yours at them same time?