Be Nice To Learner Drivers: A Public Service Announcement


For once, a post not entirely about writing! First, a quick update - thank you so much to everyone for all the downloads and kind messages/reviews! The free promotion came to an end a few days ago (boo, Amazon) but during the five days my story was downloaded 159 times in total. For my first ebook, I reckon that's pretty swell. ;>

I'm off to Holland tomorrow morning for a week of sailing, lasting until Tuesday, so I'm having a bit of a break from writing and instead taking inspiration. However, the second installment of City of the Damned is ready for final-minute edits and converting to an ebook, so I will try to publish it pretty much as soon as I get back! I like this set better than the first for sure, so that's exciting.

But this post is not about writing, exactly. If you read my blog, you'll know I'm an eighteen year old living in the United States of Eurasia Kingdom. You may not, however, know that I am learning to drive.

I only started in November last year because I didn't feel I was mentally mature enough to be hurtling around our roads in my own death-box on wheels when the law first said I could (if you could have seen me when I was seventeen, you'd probably agree too.) However, since I've started driving, I have come to understand that this concern was needless.


Yes, this is now a scientific figure. You read it on the internet, it must be true.

But I digress. I took my theory test earlier in the year and passed easily. It was easy because the answer to every single question was a slightly different variation of 'don't be a twat to other people.' Don't tailgate them because that is dangerous and therefore illegal. Don't beep your horn late at night unnecessarily because you'll wake the kiddies. Don't drink and drive not because you might kill yourself, but because you might kill someone else. Preferably drive safely and don't kill yourself at all, but killing someone else through your personal stupidity is really inconsiderate. If you must drive stupidly, do it far away from anyone else and don't come crying to anyone when you die.

Oh, and don't be mean to learner drivers!!

I get it. I really, honestly do. Learners can be real nuisances. They can stop abruptly, stall at traffic lights, or take longer than usual to pull away. They often travel a little bit slower than others. I do, when the road is slippery or there are many tight corners or parked cars, because I don't want to die and my reactions are not as good as someone who has been driving for 20 years.
But this is no reason to be a dick to every learner driver you meet! For one thing, that driver might be very capable and do none of these things. For another, they might be on their test and you pulling something stupid or unexpected can cause them to fail through no fault of their own and cost them a lot of money in needing another test thanks to the really stupid examination system we have!! For ANOTHER, it makes you a raging arsehole. Guess what, peasant - you were a learner driver once too. Cool your jets.

This is a list of some of the idiocies other cars have subjected me to while learning to drive. Warning, it's at once both long and stupid.

♦ Screamed past me at 70/80mph on a national speed limit road (60) when I was already driving at the max, just because I'd actually adhered to the 30mph speed limit all the way through the last village and they GOTTA GO FAST.

♦ Driving towards me on a narrow country road, instead of steering towards the side of the road so we could both get by steered TOWARDS THE CENTRE OF THE ROAD and forced me onto a verge where I then stalled the car.

♦ When I was first starting out I stalled at some traffic lights. The car behind beeped repeatedly and drove right up close so I couldn't see anything out of my rear window... causing me to stall again in panic.

♦ Mercedes Benz vans tailgating me. 90% of the many times I've had some idiot tailgate me when I was conscientiously sticking to the speed limit it's been a Mercedes Benz van. Says a lot about the people who drive Mercedes Benz vans. Panther taxi cabs are almost as guilty. And people who drive BMWs and Audis.

♦ One Mercedes Benz van who decided that no, a learner car cannot possibly be allowed into the fast lane of the A14, and as soon as I pulled out to overtake a lorry aggressively tailgated me and WOULD NOT GO AWAY. I could understand if I'd been hogging the fast lane but I'd literally pulled out 20 seconds previously. Arsehole.

♦ Various idiots who, after travelling pretty slowly and me overtaking them and realising that I was a learner in a tiny red car, sped up on purpose to overtake me back, often smashing the speed-limit to hell and back in their attempts to appease their puffed up egos. Then, proceeded to go really slowly again. Pretty much all BMW drivers.

♦ BMW/Audi/Mercedes drivers that don't seem to know where their indicators are located.

♦ A huge lorry trying to turn into a minor road when it was my right of way as the traffic lights had let me go, temporarily stopped as it saw me but then, just as I started to go, STARTED MOVING AGAIN. I slammed on my brakes of course, and then the other car behind me nearly crashed into my back and beeped me. Not my fault!! Arsehole then drove past me when I parked making rude gestures. I made some back though, so it's fine.

♦ The cyclist who decided it would be hilarious to cycle down the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD and then not move out of the way when I approached, meaning extreme evasive action on my part was required when I'd only just started out.

This is not even a comprehensive list. These are just the incidents that I can think of off the top of my head now. I have also come to the conclusion that tractors should be banned from driving on the roads during rush hour, and that tourists to Cambridge should not be allowed to rent bikes under any circumstances. I used to get road rage badly on my bike - it's 1000 times worse in a car.

I don't get it. Would you people rather learner drivers sped along like you lot, going super fast when their reactions are still poor so they crash, potentially crashing into you? Do you not remember when you were a learner driver and stalled a lot? Do you not understand that harrassing or intimidating a learner driver makes them MORE LIKELY TO PANIC AND STALL AND CAUSE AN ACCIDENT?

I wonder how many of these people would pass a driving test if they took it now, especially having to deal with other arseholes like them. I also hope they all get arrested for speeding and dangerous driving.

Rant over, I guess. :> I'll see you guys after Holland! I've got a couple of things to post about, and the second installment of COTD will be out sometime after then. Exciting!