To quote the Beach Boys: “Round, round get around, I get around” and earlier this year I did a lot of that in Scotland.
The glorious scenery, the fabulous food, the great people – all made me wonder why I bothered going abroad on holiday, especially as I was blessed with some gorgeous days, all of which left me wondering why I go abroad on holiday. As I notched up those thousands of miles was the driving, though, I became increasingly worried for my safety.
I have been driving for many years (a lady never gives her age away, so let’s say just that my years behind the wheel is a two digit number, beginning with three), so I have a certain amount of experience under my belt.
I would never claim to be anything other than a fairly competent driver, one with very few accidents on her record – none of which, of course, were my fault – and one with (currently) no blemishes on her licence.
I’ve sussed that driving at sensible speeds, within speed limits, to suit conditions, is not only safer, but is better for the environment – and saves me money. Watching my very clever car’s average mileage indicator hit 40 miles to the gallon gave me great delight. So it was that this summer I trekked round the country driving to road conditions and restrictions, being careful, no heavy accelerating or hard braking, just a steady speed, within the speed limit.
And I felt I was endangering every other road user, not only that but other road users were endangering me.
One example – in the gloaming on the windy A82 along the shores of Loch Lomond one evening, doing my usual steady, sensible pace, I was subjected to cars overtaking me on bends and corners, through the narrowest of gaps, forcing me and other drivers to brake – hard.
There was sounding of horns, flashing of lights and – how shall I put this? – gesturing in my direction as these drivers forced their way past.
Now really, I don’t mind people speeding if that’s their thing though it is illegal, and honestly, it doesn’t get you there any faster – I caught up with most of the people who flew past me within a few miles. It’s probably worth mentioning at this point too, that a speed limit is just that – a limit, not a target.
What I do mind, though, is people driving in a way that puts me and my passengers at risk, never mind any cyclists, motorcyclists or pedestrians who might be about. So please think twice or thrice about your speed, sit back and enjoy the coffee, though not literally while driving.
And just a word about pedestrians. From childhood, I was taught that if you have to walk on a road you should walk on the right, facing the on-coming traffic.
Turns out my parents were perfectly correct – the Highway Code says so.
It’s rule number two. Yes, rule two, right at the front of the 300+ rules contained therein, and ahead of rules about wheelchair users and animals, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Just in case you haven’t looked recently, and not many of us do after passing the driving test, rules for “drivers and motorcyclists” start at number 89 and continue to the end, number 307.