To the people who I meet on the roads these days who can’t reverse…thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for giving me a reason to smile in the mornings. It helps me realise that no matter how bad life gets, no matter how many painstakingly hard days I have, I will never have the added burden of being an absolute melt on the road.
Admittedly, I live in a village. I have spent a lot of time on narrow country lanes where if you meet anyone, you end up reversing seventeen miles back the way you’ve come until you can find a passing point. It also means I’ve gotten used to meeting other vehicles and passing them with just inches to spare. But even so, I don’t think the excuse of ‘well I live in a built up area’ is a good enough excuse. Personally, I think the driving lessons should include a mandatory section where you have to drive on a country road. Yes, even if you live in the middle of London. After all, even the biggest cities have narrow side roads with very few passing points. If you can’t handle them, then quite frankly- in my humble opinion- you don’t deserve to hold a full UK driving licence. There is an area not far from where I live that is affectionately called ‘The Banks’ by everyone who is a local. This is because the road has steep banks on either side and- other than about two passing points- will generally involve one person having to reverse back for a few hundred yards to allow the other to pass. Okay, so that’s a pain in the backside, but if you spent your driving lessons actually learning to drive rather than, presumably, flirting with the instructor or picking your nose or something, you should still be able to cope with simply making your car go backwards. Instead, I regularly meet people who will either panic, or will stubbornly sit there until you go back- and that is normally because they are unable to do so themselves.
In the Banks one day, I met a young lady in a Ford KA who met me, realised I had a queue of cars behind me and so would need to reverse, and promptly responded to the situation by wetting herself, stalling the car and then pathetically sitting there with her head in her hands looking distraught. Bear in mind that all she had to do was reverse around a corner- something you should have learned to do in order to pass your driving test. Also let us consider that she was only driving a KA, not exactly a vehicle famed for being huge. You’re not driving a tank, love! I’ve met van drivers and even a lorry driver who can competently revere in roads like this. In the end, I could see in her eyes that she had lost all semblance of control, and I had to get out of my car and actually guide her back. I was standing there in the road like the most low budget traffic warden in the world whilst some incompetent young woman struggled to move her car back about 50 yards. She managed it, but I was furious. I gave her a piece of mind about how she should just tear her licence up, and she began crying (although I think that was more from embarrassment rather than because I had been particularly harsh). By now, about 10 cars were waiting to go past on both sides of the road, all because one person couldn’t complete a simple action in a car. And that’s the problem for me. Too many people pass their test with absolutely no knowledge of some of the mad roads that exist in this world. This girl was probably a lovely person, and maybe she went home that night and felt terrible for her inability to reverse, but I actually can’t bring myself to feel sorry for her in the slightest. If you can’t do it, stay off the damn roads!
The same goes for people who drive down village roads at suicidal speeds! I tend to find they are people who actually live in the village, and so should, by all accounts, understand just how careful a person needs to be on the road. I meet tractors going too fast. Land Rovers going too fast. BMWs going too fast. Then again, I should expect nothing less than insane speeds from somebody who has an ego big enough to splash out on a German prestige car. If you don’t know the roads, you should drive carefully. If you do know the roads, you should slow down for certain because, for goodness sake, you’ve been driving these roads for years and so you know that there’s a sharp turn 100 yards ahead. Basically, whether you know the roads or not, there is absolutely no reason to go slamming it through the roads. Also, you’re in a village; villages have farms and whatnot. Even if you don’t meet another driver, there’s a fair chance you’ll come speeding around a corner to meet a big, fluffy, adorable but incredibly stupid sheep that will totally leave a cloud shaped dent in your car’s bonnet. I suppose this rant is basically me pleading with you to just not be an absolute eejit on the roads- urban, rural or otherwise.
Oh, and to the person who I met on the road last week who couldn’t reverse, wouldn’t reverse, and then had to reverse anyway considering I had 4 cars lined up behind me, and then proceeded to stick his middle finger up at me: thank you. Thank you ever so much. I was already pretty annoyed at how stubborn you’d been, but you know what? Your cursing and rude hand gestures really turned my day around. I was happy and overjoyed when I arrived home after you had insulted me with your fingers. It wasn’t even justified- if anything, it should have been me flicking the v’s at you.
Get off the road, you freakin’ morons!