Chris's Pet Peeves

You know - a list of what it is that really winds you up and gets you going. Here's mine, mostly to do with driving in England, but with a new section covering driving in America. So if you fancy commenting then email me from the menu on the left.

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UK section

[blueboxow] People who hog the centre lane.
Do I even need to start on this subject? I thought not.
[blueboxow] Centre-lane missiles.
[missile] You're on the motorway, approaching a joining slip-road. You pull out in to the centre lane to clear the inside lane for joining traffic. The rep-mobile comes tearing down the on-ramp, straight across the inside lane (without looking), straightens up in the centre lane and then stays there despite the fact that the inside lane is clear for miles. I was hit by one of these guys once - a green BMW (oddly - it's always Ford Mondeos or any sort of BMW that does this) tore into the centre lane of an empty motorway and ripped off my front bumper in doing so. I'm still not sure to this day how I avoided the pair of us becoming so many pieces of flesh inside a mangled twisted heap of torn and burnt metal. Evidently though, it was my fault. It seems I had no right to be in "his" lane. At least that's what he told me just before he clouted me with a Krooklok after we'd stopped. I never saw him again. But then I was unconcious on the side of the road for 20 minutes so that sort of explains it. Oh - and because I couldn't get any witnesses, the police weren't interested.
[blueboxow] Brakelight-sensitive lane-discipline.
You're driving along, minding your own business. Everyone is in the outside two lanes because they have no concept of what the inside lane is for. Suddenly, there's a rash of brakelights ahead of you in the outside two lanes. Now, all the lane-hoggers decide it's about time they used the lane on their left instead, and everyone pulls in because (curiously) those lanes are free. This in turn frees up the outside lane, at which point I pull out to overtake all the lemmings, and at which point I'm then usually given no end of abuse by those same people for using my initiative and following the overtaking rules. Hey - it's not my fault that you guys don't understand what the left lanes are for. Interestingly, they're not only for use for when you tear across them to get to the outside lane, or need a free lane because the traffic in front is slowing down YOU MORONS!
[blueboxow] People who don't indicate.
Especially when I'm on my motorbike. People just changing lanes on the motorway with no warning should be cautioned. The other scenario is people on roundabouts who never signal their intentions.
[blueboxow] People who do indicate, but......
...then decide that perhaps they're not going to turn after all. A good example - you're waiting at a side turning. The car coming along the road sees the junction after where you are, and starts to indicate. You pull out because you see him indicating to turn into what is presumably their first available exit. *Smack*. Even Apeldoorn bellen. (for the Dutch amongst you).
[blueboxow] People who do indicate, but only microseconds before they turn.
Typically these fools sit in the front row of a traffic queue at the lights in a lane which is assigned for straight ahead or turn right. They wait for a nice long queue of cars to build up behind them, and then when the lights go green, on comes the indicator. Now everyone who is in the lane to go straight ahead has to wait for this person to clear their path. They in turn have to wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic. They never seem to think that perhaps if they'd been indicating whilst stationary, then that row of irate, shouting drivers behind them could have been avoided......
[blueboxow] People who indicate as or after they turn.
There's plenty of these about. Not much to say really. They change lanes on a motorway, and once they're halfway across, the indicator comes on for less than one blink. These people should be forced to do a single journey by motorbike to give them a better understanding of how inconsiderate and dangerous they are.
[blueboxow] People who ignore your indicators.
These types always believe that they own the road, and that no other road user can possibly mean it when they start to indicate. Consequently, whether you are indicating for 30 seconds or 30 minutes, they will not allow you to change lanes, or maneuver as you're intending. Instead, they hog their own precious little bit of road as it you are somehow challenging their right to live by wanting to change lanes.
[blueboxow] My Bulbs don't work?
These are the people who drive around without ever once checking to see if perhaps one (or all) of their indicators/headlights/tail lights/brakelights might have failed. Strangely, this seems to affect newer cars more than older ones. On average, I'd say the split between the number of cars less than 3 years old, and those over 3 years old that have at least one failed light is roughly 90/10 respectively.
[blueboxow] Foglight Morons.
There's two subcategories here:
  • Frontlighters. Listen, you Billys, those are foglights, not driving lights. TURN THEM OFF IN NORMAL DRIVING CONDITIONS - IT MAKES YOU LOOK STUPID AND ANNOYS THE CRAP OUT OF EVERYONE ELSE!!!
  • Backlighters. Okay - look carefully at your dashboard. See that red light that's lit up with a foglight in it? Now look up - is it foggy? No? THEN TURN OFF THE SODDING FOG LIGHT!!!
[blueboxow] People who don't see motorcyclists.
*CRUNCH*. "Sorry mate - didn't see you." Exactly which bit of me didn't you see? The six-foot motorcyclist in a reflective jacket? Perhaps the two headlamps on full-beam? Or was it the huge, white, quarter-ton motorbike that you somehow missed? Despite the fact that 99% of motorcyclists drive with their lights on in the daytime to make them more visible, that's the comment that every single car driver in the world makes. Without exception. A statistic for you - 98% of motorcycle accidents are caused by car drivers. (source RiDE magazine, Jan'97)
[blueboxow] People who try to take revenge on motorcyclists.
There is a peculiar breed of motorist who sits all day long in their RepMobile in traffic jams, thumbing their list of contacts and talking on their mobile phone, who seem to take offence when motorcyclists overtake them. Splitting lanes is principally why a lot of motorcyclists choose this form of transport - it means they are not subject to the delays, queues and aggrevations of being stuck in a tin can in solid traffic. But these drivers seem to be of the opinion that because they themselves are stupid enough to sit in a traffic queue, anyone displaying half an ounce of creativity and common sense by using a motorbike should be smitten down by the hand of God. And if that can't be arranged, they try to knock the motorcyclist off themselves.
[blueboxow] People who push in to traffic queues.
There's going to be a lane closed on the motorway. The warning signs start 2km ahead. There are countdown markers every 200m for the last 800m. What is it that these twits don't understand about this signage? Why are there always those who go all the way up to the front, where their lane stops, and then try to push in causing tailbacks for everyone else? Because they're self-centred egomaniacs, that's why.
[blueboxow] People who block junctions when their traffic isn't moving.
This is a classic. Despite box junctions and 'keep clear' areas, why do so many drivers block complete junctions when their own stream of traffic isn't going anywhere? "Oh I know - because I can't move, nobody else is going to!" Why? Why not just keep a section of the junction clear (like they're supposed to) and allow the traffic across. It's not going to kill them to lose 4m in their queue position is it? Evidently this is not how they think though.
[blueboxow] People with no idea or regard for who has priority.
Not a lot of explanation needed really. A typical example is people who don't understand that the traffic on a roundabout has priority over the traffic joining it.
[blueboxow] People who pull out in front of you.....
.....when the road behind you is completely clear. They don't know how to accelerate and 9 times out of 10, you are the one who is forced into taking evasive action. These types typically then dawdle along before leaving the main road with no indication.
[blueboxow] People who won't allow you to overtake them.
This one I particularly hate. These people should have their cars confiscated and sold off. You know the types - they bumble along all over the road for no reason. Yet when you go to overtake them, they suddenly find the accelerator pedal, and speed up. This causes one of two problems. Either the gap you were aiming for disappears, or worse, you cannot get back in safely without causing the oncoming traffic to take avoiding action. Although you can guarantee that as soon as you pull in behind them again, they slow down and start dawdling.
[blueboxow] People who won't let buses pull out from bus stops.
There seems to be something buried deep in the psyche of drivers in the UK that prevents them from allowing buses to pull out onto the road from bus stops. I've actually seen people go on to the other side of the road and force oncoming traffic up on to the kerbs simply because they didn't want to let the bus out in front of them. 99 times out of 100, the traffic isn't going anywhere anyway so their futile and childish efforts just make them look even more clueless.
[blueboxow] People with speed limit blindness.
There are so many of these in the UK that it's amazing more accidents don't happen. The number of people who think that the national speed limit is 45mph or 50mph is beyond comprehension. These types typically speed through town centres above the limit, but as soon as they get on to an open stretch of road, they slow down to 45mph. In fact, the limit is 60mph. These are the same type who argue that the speed limit on a dual carriageway is also 50mph, not the 70mph which it actually is.
[blueboxow] Tractors.....
...or more specifically tractor drivers. According to the Highway Code, drivers of potentially obstructing vehicles should occasionally pull over to allow the traffic behind them to pass. I have never once seen a tractor driver do this, even if it's bloody obvious that there's a mile of virtually stationary traffic following them.
[blueboxow] Straight-liners.
[straight-liner] So-called because they manage to turn any curve on a road into a straight line. These are the ones who go on to a roundabout in the outside lane, cut across to the inside lane partway over, and then cut back out to the outside lane to exit the roundabout. They never take any notice of what else might be on the roundabout already, and if you happen to be the one caught on their inside, you've got three options. Mount the roundabout, brake sharply to avoid them, or run into them.

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US section

I felt I ought to start this section as I relocated from England to the USA in March 2001. Given American driver's views of themselves and each other, I've found a lot of the driving over here (there?) to be tame in comparison to England. However, there's still a few peeves to be brought to light:

[blueboxow] Old-boaters.
[oldcaddy]1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz. Need I go on? Ok - you've seen them all over the place. They come from Florida and drive an old car that gets near-zero gas mileage, has jelly-suspension, and fins. The driver is typically octagenarian and tends to weave a lot. Except that from behind you can't even see if there's a driver. They should have a bumper sticker on the back that's just a steering wheel with a pair of knuckles and a hat.
[blueboxow] Precognitive roadblocks.
I'm not sure if this isn't peculiar to Utah, but these people block you for miles and miles and miles either on surface streets or the freeway. They manage this because you get behind them, then when the traffic opens up enough to pass them, you indicate, pull out to go around them, and they then indicate and pull in front of you. I've followed cars for miles trying to get around them like this.....
[blueboxow] Gap-closers.
This one is simple - you're in a line of traffic and you want to get over a lane. You indicate, and the person behind you in the lane you want to get into sees the indicator and accelerates just enough to get into your blind spot, thus closing the gap. The solution to this one is easy though - just don't indicate ....

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Brazil section

One emailer sent so many peeves in that Brazil deserves its own section. Enjoy.

[blueboxow] The Deaf Motorist.
Drivers who go around with "music" playing so loudly it deafens all others at the lights next to them. What hope have these "people" got of hearing emergency vehicle sirens or if something mechanical is amiss with their cars?
[blueboxow] The Musician.
These people drive around trying to play tunes with their horns. They are not sufficiently musical to know that their horn is only one note but that doesn't stop them hitting it multiple times in an effort to "play a tune"!
[blueboxow] The Town Criers.
Usually football-mad drivers who love to sound their horns and yell the name of a football club (as if anyone cares), as they drive around residential streets while real people are trying to sleep.
[blueboxow] The Kamikaze Motorcyclist.
These guys really want to die for a cause. That cause is usually to be first at a given point probably the cemetry! They weave in and out of traffic at crazy speeds without indicating or looking, or pass at ridiculous speeds on the wrong side.
[blueboxow] The Mad Hatters.
These are "I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date". Impatient and not willing to wait their turn and either try to squeeze through where no car should go or sound their horns like the car ahead of them is magically able to make all the traffic disappear because they toot their horn. Also those who pass you on the wrong side of the road (often without knowing what may be coming) to only pull up a little further along - usually in a no stopping area - to have a chat!
[blueboxow] The Sleepers.
These people are the ones who when the lights turn green need to be woken so they move. Other sleepers are those who don't have sufficient reflexes to stop when the lights change to red and coast (or speed) through the intersection.
[blueboxow] The "I Can See Sideways" Drivers.
They can't look at the road. They have to get their priorities right. Looking at their passenger as they drive, is more important than seeing who or what they might hit.
[blueboxow] The Lazy.
These are the ones who park anywhere just so long as they don't have to walk more than 5 metres. They park in bus stops on crossings, across entrances, or double park and block the road. They think that putting on their hazard lights magically means their vehicle is not in the way.
[blueboxow] The Road is Mine.
These are the ones who drift from lane to lane without indicating or looking (probably without knowing they do it) as though they are the only ones on the road.
[blueboxow] Follow the line.
These straddle the lines and occupy half of two lanes because they haven't got the skill or the eyesight to keep between the lines.
[blueboxow] Oncellphonitis.
These ignore the law and the traffic which they abuse by not concentrating as they talk and drive with only one hand to steer change gear and indicate. So why bother?
[blueboxow] I Can Cause Chaos.
Why get into the correct lane at roundabouts or at lights when all I have to do is cut across everyone else?
[blueboxow] The Anti tech.
These ones hate to use new technology like indicators and instead try to indicate their intentions by waving their arms around either inside the car or out of the window. Problem is, so many Brasilians, particularly Taxi drivers, unaware of the danger of doing so, drive with their arms out of the window, sometimes clutching a cigarette and making the same motions with no intention of communicating an impending movement to other drivers. So no one ever knows until they move suddenly that the hand signal was meant to replace their indicator.
[blueboxow] The One Eyed.
These are more dangerous on country roads. Cars with only one, usually blindingly bright and badly adjusted headlamp.
[blueboxow] I've Got an Alarm!
They love to set off, or let their alarms make a horrible noise, while they slowly think about turning it off. They haven't bothered to read the instruction manual which tells them how to avoid this. Consequently this is rendering them ineffective because people ignore them when they do go off. The only possible reason for doing this is to tell the neighbours that they have a car alarm!
[blueboxow] A Little Vaseline?
These drivers sqeeze between lines of cars (or cars and the kerb,) which are stopped at lights to make an extra lane.
[blueboxow] Skittles!
These drivers turn into side streets as fast as they can. Pedestrians have to scamper as they cannot see the cars and the cars cannot see them until it is too late. But here in Brasil life is expendable it is just another population control tool!

Here follow some "guest" pet peeves submitted by others who were just pushed over the edge this morning.....

[blueboxow] The "Fuzzy Filter".
Approach to traffic lights filter lanes to right and/or left. The Fuzzy Filterer doesn't understand these, so slows down in the main traffic lane (indicators optional), then sort of drifts into the filter lane at the last possible moment. AARRGGHH!
[blueboxow] The Handbrake Amnesiac.
This is the driver who has either forgotten, or doesn't know what that lever is for between the front seats. Instead of using the handbrake when they're stopped for any length of time, they'll sit on the brake pedal. Fine, it keeps them still, but it dazzles everyone behind them.
[blueboxow] The Wannabe LeMans racer.
This guy doesn't like the fact that a motorbike has pulled up next to him in the front row at a set of traffic lights. Despite the fact that he hasn't a icicle in hell's chance of getting away first, he sits there gunning the throttle and then takes off in a cloud of tyre which time, the motorcyclist is watching it all in their mirrors.....
[blueboxow] The Yoyo queuer.
You must have seen these ones. They drive just a little bit too fast in a slow-moving traffic queue. They reach the car in front and brake, then accelerate, catch up and brake, accelerate, catch up and brake ad nauseum. Everyone else is managing to travel along at a constant (if very low) speed, so why can't this driver?
[blueboxow] The Myopic Bumper-hugger.
This is the myopic brain dead moron, who whilst following a bus, gets right up behind it so that when it stops (as Buses do on several occasions during their journey) he then puts on his indicator and jerks out at a sharp angle. In doing so, he then has to manoeuvre slowly because his vision is obscured by the rear of the bus. He then takes up about 3/4 of the right hand side of the road causing oncoming traffic to either swerve or stop to avoid a collision. Instead of holding back from the bus anticipating a likely stop, and when the bus stops, moving slightly to the right still in a straight line and then if safe to go, overtaking without any change in speed or exaggerated direction.
[blueboxow] Formation Flyers.
These are the people who come up behind you in the lane outside you, then slow down to the same speed as you, and decide the best place to be is right in your blind spot. If I'm approaching slower traffic in front of me, I have to gesticulate to the effect: "You're in my way! Get ahead so I can maneouvre!" If they want to travel at the same speed as me, why don't they just get behind me in the same lane? You could also call them Blind Spot Squatters.
[blueboxow] Over-over-takers.
Those friendly chaps, who, when they see you indicating to overtake the vehicle in front, pull out and overtake you and the vehicle in front because they just cannot wait that extra fraction of a second to get where they're going. In the process, of course, they block you in and cause you to take evasive action. Many an accident has been caused by these fools.
[blueboxow] Curbside clueless.
Those who believe not even a cyclist should be able to pass a queue of stationary traffic on the left hand side. What's that 2ft lane on the left for anyway?
[blueboxow] Cellphone neurone.
The guy who can't steer, control his feet, or use his eyes, because his only neuron is preoccupied, talking to a "client" who really doesn't want to buy anything from someone who can't steer, control his feet, or use his eyes ... (likewise parents chiding unruly offspring, teenagers setting a new radio preset, women who have just left the salon ...)
[blueboxow] The "Bus Driver".
Well he must be an off duty bus driver who's just forgotten he's not driving a bus any more (he's also forgotten he can't use that bus lane to queue jump in a car).
[blueboxow] The "traffic-light undertaker".
Those who delight in squeezing past the parked car near traffic lights, so they can get the inside lane off the green, and race you to take the crown of the road before they rear-end another parked car after the lights. He's deadly when he meets the self-righteous driver who paces him to the parked car to force him to "mend his ways".
[blueboxow] The self-appointed policeman.
This guy attempts to tell you how to drive, while at the same time doing things like spanning 2 lanes of a queuing dual carriageway so that both "queues" move at the same speed. He'll overtake you, after you've overtaken him, so that he can pull in front of you, slow down to a stop, get out and tell you that 50 is the maximum speed for a derestricted A road.
[blueboxow] The dog in the manger.
"If I can't move forward, I'll be damned if I'll let you turn right out of that junction"
[blueboxow] The impaired bicep.
"Sorry: I can't be doing with turning the steering wheel". He'll cut the right turn on the wrong side of the road/do a Brands-Hatch on the country lane/turn left using the offside lane ...
[blueboxow] The parking perfectionist.
"Would you mind if I took five more runs at this - I think I'll get the hang of it soon"
[blueboxow] The double-parking egotist (also known as The Dutch Method).
"Well I've got my hazards on. What more do you want? How else could I get to the bank?
[blueboxow] The amber faker.
This guy just hesitates on the brake pedal as the light goes to amber, so you slam on your brakes cause you think he's paranoid and going to do an emergency stop. Then he accelerates and goes through leaving you behind the red and the guy behind you parked sideways because he in-turn thought you were going through.
[blueboxow] The one-eyed monster.
This driver either has no idea he's only one headlight working, has one headlight pointed at the road and one at you, or puts his beams on permanently because one of his dip bulbs has gone, he wants to be 'safer', but can't be bothered to carry a spare or go to Halfords.
[blueboxow] The Deformed Water-Skiier.
This driver (always male, usually between 18 and 24, almost always driving a Vauxhall Nova), slouches in his seat, gripping the wheel with his right fist at the 12 o'clock position, arm locked out straight ahead. The duty brain cell has decided that this master of car control should be in a McLaren F1 but, in the meantime, compensates by leaning his master's body to the left, placing his head on the car's centreline. Most of them are called Gary, and the rest are called Shane.