I’ll let you into one of my biggest bug bears. Alongside people that never answer their mobile phone when you call them, people who leave the empty packet on the table after taking the last biscuit/doughnut/scotch egg, and people that don’t give a little nod/wave when you’ve stopped behind a parked car to let them drive past, what really grinds my gears are people who don’t indicate whilst driving.
I live in Milton Keynes. This means I encounter more than my fair share of roundabouts compared to the average driver. Every day, and at about 100 yard intervals if in the city centre, I approach every new roundabout with a heightened level of apprehension and frustration because of people’s inability to literally lift a finger.
In case anyone reading this isn’t sure exactly what to do at a roundabout, The Highway Code section on roundabouts states the below:
184: On approaching a roundabout take notice and act on all the information available to you, including traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings which direct you into the correct lane. You should:
- Use Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre at all stages
- Decide as early as possible which exit you need to take
- Give an appropriate signal. Time your signals so as not to confuse other road users
- Get into the correct lane
- Adjust your speed and position to fit in with traffic conditions
- Be aware of the speed and position of all the road users around you
Now, before anybody comments “well, you should wait to see what other cars are doing before going, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t indicate”, I also know the Highway Code says “it is important to be aware of the traffic around you and look out for road users who may be signalling incorrectly, or in some cases not signalling at all.” I already have to do this, as no one bl**dy indicates, but that shouldn’t be the norm! It would be nice if people did as they were supposed to when achieving their licence and assisted other road users in telling them what direction they were going, as once in a while my dashboard mounted crystal ball goes in for a service…
Everybody that has earned a driving licence would do well to remember that driving is not a right promised to every person, but rather a privilege granted to people who complete certain requirements. Signalling or indicating when driving is a simple safety and courtesy task that many people seem to forget to do once they have obtained that all important full drivers licence and have a little experience behind them. Whether individuals simply forget to signal or they think it’s no longer important is an issue that can and frequently causes accidents. For me, it comes down to one simple reason - laziness. You may forget once in a while, but not every. Single. Time. You just can’t be bothered. How selfish and dangerous.
No one can argue against the fact that the world is evolving every day to make our lives easier. The downside with this easy life is that we are getting lazier as a race. Take these examples of processes that have meant less and less work over time:
Need to look up a fact? The process has gone from going to the bookcase to look it up in a book, to getting your phone out to type the question into a search engine, to now (if you’ve got Alexa or Siri, for example) just saying “Alexa/Hey Siri, what’s the capital of Ethiopia? (Addis Ababa, if you’re asking).
Need to cut the lawn? From getting your shears out to trim it manually, to firing up the two stroke combustion engine lawn mower and guiding it around the lawn, to now just setting off your automatic solar powered/electrically charged lawn mower and waiting for it to finish as you probably sit on the sofa watching TV, and eating a take away that was probably brought to your door by Just Eat….
Windscreen frozen over? From getting out in the cold with a scraper, to starting your car and leaving the fans blowing for 10 minutes, to just pressing the electric windscreen clear button, to now warming the car up and de-icing the windscreen with an app on your phone from the warmth of your house!
Deliveroo, Bluetooth kettles, Amazon, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on and on.
Autonomous cars are getting closer and closer. As much as I’m apprehensive about this, as I love the thrill of driving myself, at least they’d indicate every time they change direction!
Not that I don’t appreciate this easier life. Taking a horse and cart to work in a factory 18 hours a day doing manual labour for example is not my idea of fun. My frustration comes when this easier existence means people’s daily effort levels slip to near zero.
Yes, if I’ve got a parked car on my side of the road I know I must allow you past, but is it that much effort to flash your lights/nod/lift four fingers off the steering wheel as thanks? If you are going right on a roundabout, yes I know I must wait and see what your wheels are doing to tell me which direction you are going, but can you really not be bothered to lift ONE FINGER off the steering wheel to raise or depress the indicator stalk to help? If you are that lazy that you can’t be bothered to do this most basic of tasks, I can’t imagine what job you can even hold down that requires you to sit statically, expending zero energy all day, and get paid for it? What example are you setting the younger generation to follow? I’ll tell you, a very poor one.
Is it any wonder that the UK is the most obese country in western Europe, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/10/uk-most-obese-country-in-western-europe-oecd-report-finds) when technology these days would allow you to live your life with ease without ever having to leave your house?!
So in summary, by all means appreciate that our lives are getting less labour intensive through technological advancements, but don’t allow your personal effort levels to slip to such a level that you endanger other people’s lives through your slothfulness.
James de Ste Croix - Senior Manager, Milton Keynes