4 Nov 2014

The Slowest Drivers On Our Roads

We all share the road and as people are fond of saying speed limits are just that, not a target. But some drivers are just sooooo slooooooowwwww - and get in our way!

I like driving fast, if you've read any articles I've written you'll know that. I don't mean stupidly, dangerously fast but sensibly, where I can see the road ahead and don't plan on killing myself anytime soon fast.

Fast is fun, fast is life affirming, fast is thrilling, as long as you don't endanger anyone else or annoy the emergency services by having to scrape you up off the road and put you in evidence bags.

But some people do not like fast. Indeed some people do not even like approaching speed limits. I'm not talking about the normal driver who'll hover under the limit in a 60, stick religiously to 70 on the motorway and cruise on through a 30 at 35 but properly, annoyingly slow.

Slow people drive slowly for various reasons - fear, hatred, because their bicycle has a puncture or the trains are on strike - and often come equipped with a humungous chip on their shoulder. They see a fast, or even normal, person approaching and refuse to do anything about the fact they are causing a bigger hold up than someone paying for their supermarket shop with once pence coins.

It's important to note that I do not and you shouldn't tailgate these slowcoaches. That is a) dangerous, b) annoying and c) gives them a mixed sense of annoyance and satisfaction.

Who are these people?

First up has to be those people who are actually scared of driving. These are the meanest, most vindictive drivers on the road, and also the slowest. You see them gripping the wheel like it'll run away if they don't. Jaw clenched, eyes darting to the rear view wing mirror every now and again ready to stamp on the brakes if someone gets within 50 yards. A slow coach scaredy cat can drive pretty much anything but Nissan Micras tend to be a favourite.

Honda Jazz drivers tend to be those types who drive at 40mph everywhere no matter the conditions or limit. This isn't entirely fair on Honda as they cannot choose who buys their cars but Jazzes are generally bought by a particular subsection of society. Without putting too fine a point on it Honda Jazz drivers are generally old - and so short they sit on a cushion. A Jazz is cheap, reliable and easy to drive, and Bettie down the bingo has one and said it's lovely. Pensioners in Jazzes aren't dangerous or vicious, they're quite safe to overtake as long as it's not anywhere a post office, village hall or bowling club, in which case sudden turns are liable.

In my neck of the woods (leafy West Berkshire) school run mums drive slowly because they do not want to damage their expensively educated offspring or expensively humungous SUVs. They drive in the middle of the road so as not to damage said car or children on the blades of grass that grow at the side of the road and when traffic approaches they either come to a sudden and complete halt or carry on regardless at 30mph. It is this randomness that means you need to stay well behind SRMISUVs.

Drivers with nine points on their licence, of which I was once one, are good drivers with much in the way of skill and experience who know that as soon as they break the limit by 3mph the jolly old police will catch them out and take away their licence and therefore livelihood which will lead to divorce, alcaholism and abject misery for the rest of their days. A driver on nine points will be courteous but resentful. Happily I managed to avoid the Mad Mulla of North Wales for a couple of years and dropped down to six points before any of that could happen.

In the days before satnavs we all drove like idiots. Before it became illegal and unfashionable to look at smartphones whilst on the move we drove much worse - with a map on our knee. Sadly some people have yet to invest in a satnav so still use a map to get around. Random stopping, sudden turns and crawling along whilst trying to find Park Street in square A6, page 38 of the A-Z are the norm.

Sociopaths in beige Rover saloons who would normally cycle but take delight in occasionally driving are perhaps the worst of the slow drivers. They take glee in keeping you behind them and flash their lights when you finally overtake, but not without speeding up to make you shit your pants whilst in the act of overtaking.

Many people drive slowly, some do it for fun, others because they are scared, whilst some do it out of ignorance. These people are to be pitied. Life is short and thrills are few.

Drive safely, drive courteously, drive within the limit of your and your car's abilities but don't drive slowly just to annoy others. That's not safe or courteous - that's just idiotic.

By Matt Hubbard