Narrowly missing a collision when a driver fails to indicate properly isn’t much fun, as I found out. This, along with drivers hogging the middle lane, has to be my biggest pet hate about others drivers – what’s yours?
Earlier this week, I was cycling to the station – in a hurry not to miss my train – and I came up behind a car which was, well, all I can say is ‘hovering’ beside a vacant parking space. The car was indicating left as though he was about to go in.
The road was clear, with no oncoming vehicles, so I decided it was safe to go past on his right-hand side. As I pulled up alongside, he changed indicators and pulled forward and right, across the road, into my path.
His action caused me to have to swerve, and both of us to brake sharply, in order to avoid me putting a large dent in his door (never mind how much damage could have been done to me or my bike!).
The driver apologised with a wave of his hand and a sheepish smile, and I restrained myself from saying what I thought, either in voice or with hand signals. After all, my focus was on catching that train, rather than showing my feelings or holding grudges.
Keep calm and carry on
My advanced driver training taught me two particular things for such circumstances. The first is to try to anticipate when the actions of other road users might be hazardous to my safe progress. As I didn’t hit him, I think that one was just about achieved. The second was to remain calm, even when something unexpected does happen, which I also managed quite well.
This sort of incident is, after all, par for the course for most commuting cyclists, and it’s probably only as bad (and potentially dangerous) as the habits some cyclists exhibit all too often. You know the ones – driving through red traffic lights or squeezing along the inside of a bendy bus that’s waiting to turn left.
The reality for me was that, luckily, I avoided the accident, caught my train and completed my journey without further incident.
What are your pet hates?
The very next day, a colleague asked me about which of the driving habits of others most wind me up. As I say, I try not to be ‘wound up’ when I’m on the roads, but I had to mention the incident with the indicating car, as well as the impetuous behaviour of too many cyclists.
And it’s not surprising to see that failing to indicate came top of a recent survey by confused.com about people’s biggest irritants on the roads. Other pet hates included tailgating and refusing to let others out at junctions.
I added to the list a gripe I’m sure I share with many. I really think UK drivers need more formal tuition about motorway lane discipline. Our motorways would flow so much more smoothly and efficiently if people used the lanes properly.
But the number of drivers who think the middle lane is their personal territory really annoys me and, in my view causes unnecessary and hazardous disruption to drivers trying to follow the highway code.
Are you with me – or the survey – with these pet hates or do you have others to add to the list?
What's your biggest pet hate about other drivers?
Tailgating (22%, 224 Votes)
Drivers on mobiles (20%, 199 Votes)
Hogging motorway lanes (19%, 192 Votes)
Bad indication (14%, 141 Votes)
Driving too slowly (8%, 84 Votes)
Dropping litter out of car windows (6%, 57 Votes)
Speeding (4%, 40 Votes)
Other – tell us in the comments (3%, 32 Votes)
Undertaking (2%, 23 Votes)
Not letting other drivers out at junctions (1%, 14 Votes)
Total Voters: 1,006