Indicating (or My Brush With Death on the M621)

stock-footage-parked-car-letf-direction-indicator-on

Dear Dangerous Driver,

RE: Indicating

Signals – The Highway Code (UK)

103

Signals warn and inform other road users, including pedestrians, of your intended actions. You should always

  • give clear signals in plenty of time, having checked it is not misleading to signal at that time
  • use them to advise other road users before changing course or direction, stopping or moving off
  • cancel them after use
  • make sure your signals will not confuse others. If, for instance, you want to stop after a side road, do not signal until you are passing the road. If you signal earlier it may give the impression that you intend to turn into the road. Your brake lights will warn traffic behind you that you are slowing down
  • use an arm signal to emphasise or reinforce your signal if necessary. Remember that signalling does not give you priority.

104

You should also

  • watch out for signals given by other road users and proceed only when you are satisfied that it is safe
  • be aware that an indicator on another vehicle may not have been cancelled.

Indicating is a simple thing that gives other drivers and pedestrians a tip-off as to what you are about to do. As well as serving as a common bloody courtesy to other drivers and your own passengers (who may well, like me, be slamming their braking foot into an imaginary brake in the passenger footwell in the vein hope that you’ll stop wanking about with their sense of mortality), indicating can work wonders for keeping you alive. I refer you to an incident that occurred to me as I was travelling at 75 miles an hour on the M621 towards Cleckheaton at the back end of last year:

I was driving in the slow lane approaching a v.slow moving lorry and so began to indicate. You, Bad Driver, were travelling in the fast lane some way behind me and fast approaching at about 90 in a big, black, shiny BMW. I checked the middle lane and it was devoid of traffic so why, Bad Driver (can I call you Dick?), you were even in the fast lane, I do not know. Why also, Dick, you chose to change lanes just as I was pulling into the middle lane, I’m not entirely sure, but I had been indicating (see above for instructions on signals for future reference) for a reasonable length of time before I pulled out. You didn’t indicate, though, did you Dick? You just v.slowly pulled into the middle lane and by the time I’d realised what you were doing, I was already halfway across the middle lane also. It had been even harder to tell what you were about because you were weaving around a bit in that fast lane in the first place. Had I not realised what was happening, there would have been a collision, which at that speed would most probably have been fatal. Fatal means deathly, Dick. Given that you were slightly behind me at this stage, I have no idea why you didn’t appear to even notice that I had had to slam my brakes on and duck back behind the slow moving lorry (which was no mean feat, I can tell you), but I am ashamed to admit that your actions did cause me to temporarily become a Bad Driver myself. I’m afraid I caught you up, wound my window down and gesticulated at you with a closed fist in an up and down motion to indicate (here, you see the word at play again, Dick) that you were the sort of person who likes to vigorously masturbate to embarrassing pornographic material. And, just in case you were in any doubt, I added some vocal insight along the lines of: “You twatting arse-faced wanker. Watch what the fuck you’re doing you ignorant fucking prick!” and then, to end this monologue, I roared like something possessed: “FUCKING INDICATE! IT’S NOT HARD!” For this I apologise profusely to anyone else who was unfortunate enough to be on the same stretch of the M621 at that precise moment in time, because it was not v.responsible of me. But I don’t apologise to you, Dick. Because you are an ignorant prick of a driver.

Aside from not appreciating pain (I’m sorry, Dick – it’s not you, it’s me. Just not my cup of tea, I’m afraid), I really don’t wish to die in my 30s because of some prick-arsed beamer driver. I am also someone’s daughter, someone’s cousin, someone’s lover and someone’s best friend and I’m not sure the people to whom I pertain in such ways would appreciate hearing that I had been squished to a pulp.

Imagine this scenario, Dick (because I fear that you will not be able to see past your own fucking ego to care what happens to anyone else on account of your laziness). Imagine that you are back in the beamer in the fast lane of the M621 doing 90 MPH and not paying the least bit attention to anyone who isn’t you. Now imagine that the person in the slow lane wishing to overtake a lorry isn’t me, but someone you know – the son or daughter you taught to drive, the partner you shouted at for sticking to the speed limit, the granny you rolled your eyes at for taking time to check her mirrors and indicate. You have decided that the fast lane that you didn’t need to be in in the first place is boring you now and you’d like to vastly break the speed limit in another lane. So, you pull out without a care; unbeknown to you, the car who wishes to pull out to overtake a lorry now carries one of your loved ones and they’ve been taking driving tips from you. They haven’t indicated and, more importantly, they haven’t checked to see that the coast is clear either – just like you! As the first sickening screeching of metal on metal reaches your ears, you realise that you are about to be torn apart and you look up to see from whence this untimely death has come and find yourself looking into the fear stricken eyes of someone you love v.deeply. And they see you and they know that it was you who has caused this accident, as surely as you know that they caused it too. In the last moments before death, you will be locked in a glare of hatred with someone you would never ever want to part with on bad terms and then searing pain strikes you – you see the tortured expression of the creature that you condemned mirror your look of agony as parts of car start to slice through them – the ineffectual airbag explodes and sends up a shower of their lifeblood as their face bursts apart. You’ve hit the central reservation, you’ve taken out a couple of other cars too, because at that speed, it’s hard to slam your breaks on and come to a standstill. Your last dying thought is that you have lost your life, your loved one and you’ve done it with seething hatred and sheer bloody mindedness. You die. Horribly. And you know that your loved one did too.

The odds of the above happening are surely minimal, you’re thinking, aren’t you Dick? But how about we change the driver of your car. This time, it’s some other Dick in a BMW and the first thing you know about it is a sombre voice at the other end of the telephone, telling you that your mother/brother/child/spouse/best friend has been involved in a high speed collision in which they died in great pain. How do you feel about that other Dick now, Dick? Do you think that he/she is a cool fucking dude for not indicating? Are you impressed at his/her ability to reach a high speed in a fast car?

Or, how about this – your loved one has been crossing a road and a car has run them over and killed them because the driver couldn’t be bothered to do something as easy as indicate. Can you see how something as straightforward as a little, flashing amber light can be as important as turning your headlights on?

I’m not entirely sure what people’s aversions to indicators may be. I wonder if non-indicatorers are poor, pathetic little weaklings who must use all their strength to cling desperately to that big heavy wheel lest the car they’re driving veer wildly off the road. Is that the case? I fear not. I fear that drivers like you are too bone idle to indicate. Stupid really, since when you are driving, you have to turn the steering wheel and operate gears for the most part. You wouldn’t leave the windscreen wipers to lie dormant during a torrential storm; you wouldn’t leave off turning on your lights in the dark; you wouldn’t even leave the radio on if you didn’t like the music; I suspect that you personally, Dick, wouldn’t ignore that ever important text, as long as you’re reading out of view of any passing patrol cars. It’s hardly strenuous to lift a hand and flick the switch that could save your life, even if you couldn’t give a shit about anyone but yourself, now is it, Dick? It’s as much to save your sorry skin as it is anyone else’s.

Admittedly, sometimes indicators don’t knock off as sharply as one would like and on occasion, people change their minds about what they initially wanted to do – this is why, you see, I don’t just pull out of a junction when someone is travelling towards me with their indicator on and will wait until I’m absolutely sure that the person indicating is indeed turning. I realise that it would save you, or whichever dick was riding my behind, a few seconds if I just pulled out, but it would also cause you to drive into the back of me if the indicatorer were to not turn and I crash into them, and thus you would be even later for whatever it is that’s causing you to drive so far up my arse that I can practically taste the cold steel of your vehicle on my tongue.

All I can finish with, as you turn away from the screen, shaking your head, sure in yourself as a perfectly good driver, is: if you can’t do anything about the state of your driving, either through laziness or incompetence, and you continue to drive on public highways, then I really hope that you kill yourself before you kill someone else.

Yours faithfully,

Emily Dewsnap

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