2nd March 2005 · Last updated: 5th October 2016
It never surprises me how many of these are let loose on today's roads, with no-one from authority seeing fit to care. These cowboy drivers can go as fast and wrecklessly as they want, like the road belongs solely to them. In their eyes, other drivers just don't seem to exist. Nor do irrelevances such as 'rules' (like, you know, the Highway Code). Here are some of the types of idiot drivers I have observed recently.
Shitty Shitty Bang Bang
Spoiler - check. Loud exhaust - check. Annoying bastard - check. This driver sees their car as a vehicle for noise-making (not getting from A to B) and showing off their 'mad skillz' as much as possible. It's probably their first car, which they're using to race round daily with their mates. The windows are darkened to add to the 'cool' effect - all effort is on displaying the car, and none at all on safety. They regularly speed up then brake suddenly. They're the masters of vehicle control! See how they can turn a corner faster than should be legally allowed! Listen with a sigh as they make the tires screech at every opportunity! Groan as you hear the exhaust splutter and bang, like the car's about to explode. Sadly, it isn't.
We've all heard about them on the news. The prats who steal any decent car, the sportier the better, tear around in it for a few streets, before realising they are a) too drunk to drive it properly, and b) too young to have taken their test. The result is usually a write-off, at the cost of a nearby streetlight or some poor sod's fence. Of course many also lead to the death of someone sadly not quick enough to do a Superman-style jump out of their way.
One such driver (if that's the right term for them) raced past my house one day. I heard a rush of engine and looked out to see who was driving so fast. The fool careered right on to the pavement (which was luckily empty) before speeding round the corner out of sight. It was then that I heard the crunch of metal against stone. I guess that was the end of that driver's short journey.
Weather? What weather?
This clown takes no notice of dangerous weather conditions. They continue to drive as if it's a clear summer's day, with ideal driving conditions. If it's raining heavily, do they allow for this? No chance. That might delay them by a few precious minutes. They are sure the motorway is just as safe in heavy rain. This selfish driver is not going to follow anyone else by slowing down. They are a skilled driver with years of experience. Those scratches and dents are the fault of other, less-skilled drivers. No, really. You can't tell these drivers how to drive. They do it their way, whether it's too fast, too risky, or just plain dumb.
I saw a typical example recently. In the height of a cold-weather snap, this driver didn't think to clear their car of heavy snow before setting off. The back window was completely covered in snow! They would have been able to see as much out of it as Stevie Wonder down a coal shaft in the middle of the night.
The Drunk Driver
Their car is usually a silver BMW, Audi or Merc. They never travel at less than twice the roadsign limit on a straight road. Travelling mostly at night, after a few drinks too many, they take the mantra that it doesn't matter how much drink they have consumed, because they can handle driving afterwards. It's only a small journey to get home after all. Especially if they go faster, faster... faster! Damn it! There is only one problem with this drunken plan - much to their irritation, there are other drivers on the road! How awkward! What's worse, irritating people who can't afford cars are trying to cross the road! Slowing down would be a good tactic, but often these drivers may choose to swerve out of the pedestrian's way instead, so they can take that narrow bend at high speed. If only there wasn't a family car coming slowly the other way. A top Grand Prix driver might well be able to get out of this situation, but remember this driver is drunk, it's dark, and their car is suddenly a death machine out of control. Next time, take a taxi, eh?
The Old-Age Pensioner
I've nothing against old people driving, but some of them seem to have forgotten how to drive. They hold up traffic, go the wrong way down motorways, drive like people who should be taken off the road immediately. Ironically, their 'safe' style of driving is anything but. Likely not only to cause road rage from the queues of annoyed motorists stuck behind them, but also instant wiplash should they brake suddenly, or reverse while you're stationary. I've heard of people in full-on crashes walking away unscathed, and those in a stopped car who had their back put out from a driver reversing suddenly into them.
Very old pensioners may also suffer from failing eyesight, memory loss, who knows what else that can directly affect their judgement. A colleague of mine told me her father is no longer allowed to drive. His doctor says it's just too dangerous. A real shame for the poor guy. But how many others like him regularly drive unchecked? I mean, passing your test is all very good, but not when it was in 1920.
The worst case of crazy driving by this particular group I have seen was a woman who owned a Mini. She had to ask a lorry driver parked nearby how to get the car restarted! Then she proceeded to drive home, uphill, in first gear all the way. I kid you not.
How can you improve a car? Fit an expensive in-car entertainment system, of course! There should be as many speakers as possible, the deepest bass you can get, finished off by an equalizer set to maximum on every level. The car window should be open and the volume turned to full. You want everyone to hear how great your costly gear sounds, don't you? And of course the music must be R&B or dance (with the most repetitive beat possible). If you can't afford much gear, just fit a standard CD-player and enjoy the distortion as you play it too loud for the tinny speakers. After all, that's what everyone else does, don't they?
This kind of driver always makes me think of the following questions:
- Do they actually like the rubbish they play?
- Can they even hear it properly? All that treble and bass just makes it sound like a tune-free mush to me.
- They must be deaf from exposure to such high volumes of distorted sound. Music was never meant to sound that bad!
- How can they concentrate on the road? What if someone shouts something important to them - they won't hear anything for the music!
There was one such driver who I didn't hear so much as feel... he came slowly out onto the road, baseball cap in place, windows wide open. I was stood only across the road, yet the bass was so deep, my stomach was literally vibrating with the sound. I can't imagine how it sounded in the car itself. Blimey.
There is also the new breed of the Bling Bling driver, who has moved into the 21st Century. Music alone is not enough for them. They must also fit a DVD player or a fully-working computer near the steering wheel. Normal driving is thus rendered impossible - now they can watch movies as they drive! Or surf the web! Far worse than talking on a mobile phone while driving, if you ask me.