Tuesday 8 July 2008

Idiots on the roads

As much as I enjoy reading certain blogs, there are times when I feel like I've been strolling down a lovely country lane, smelling the sweet air and listening to the birds singing, and then I've trodden in an enormous, steaming dog turd. Comments on blogs can be like that.

A predictable theme on my favourite blogs is to have a go at people on bikes. I don't mind it most of the time - the idiotic cycling behaviour that I see all too often is deserving of disdain and a bit of abuse. I dish out a bit of it myself to dickheads on two wheels that cross my path. But I draw the line at people wanting to run cyclists over. I like to joke about taking a Glock with me on my rides, but it's pretty unlikely that such a desire will ever become reality. Unfortunately, I have come across motorists who really mean it when they say they want to knock a cyclist over - I've had one carload of young cockheads try and do it to me.

Now I've driven a lot of different vehicles, both on road and off. Tractors, trucks, big non-articulated Mack trucks, dumpers, motorbikes, forklifts, buses and a wide range of cars. Plus a bike, and in my youth, a skateboard.

Regardless of the vehicle that I've been driving, I have always managed to meet at least one over-ego'd dickhead on the road.

Back in my Reservist days, I often had to drive as an escort for vehicles carrying ammunition and explosives. These things carried everything from plain old ball ammunition, to grenades, anti-tank rockets, mortars, flares and C4 (useful for blowing up anti-tank rockets that fail to fire). The vehicles that were carrying this stuff had signs draped all over them saying "explosives", and just to make sure the message got through, they were bright red.

Now you might think that people would drive more carefully around trucks carrying explosives. They wouldn't exactly want to run into the side of one and end up being scattered all over the countryside in small, difficult to identify bits. At least that's what you'd think. That's how I would act.

That's how a lot of normal people would act, but for every 99 normal people, there is one festering fuck-muncher on the roads. The type of idiot that tailgates a truck full of explosives. The one that overtakes a truck full of explosives on a double white line on a blind crest. The type that races up beside a truck full of explosives on the inside, just so they can be at the front of the queue at the traffic lights - and then slams on the brakes just when they get in front of the truck.

One of the better driving courses that I have done was the motorcycle learners course. The instructors essentially spend two days drilling it into you that the road is covered in meat heads that are all out to kill motorcyclists, whether by intention or in-attention. Riding a motorbike safely is all about spotting the dickhead a mile away and taking evasive action. It is the only way to stay alive. The RTA mandated course simply tells you that the same RTA has allowed full fledged knuckle draggers to get a license, and your only option is to learn to avoid them.

I am sure that skippers of boats will tell stories about idiots that should never have been allowed onto the water, and pilots will probably talk about fools that should never have been certified to fly.

Some people that have a Jeckyl and Hyde personality change when they get in the car. Mild mannered people become complete arseholes behind the wheel. What I find fascinating is that from reading blog comments, it's clear that some people don't need a steering wheel to become an arsehole - they are spanking knob-throttlers 24x7.

This much the internet has taught me.

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