To Be Frank, December 23, 2014: More car craziness

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I received a fascinating e-mail from reader Carl Mayes of Hunstanton, in response to last week’s column about people’s traffic woes.

I’d highlighted the thoughts of another reader, Brian Baylis of Wimbotsham. Brian had got so hot under the steering wheel, that in response to my piece about a national survey of people’s biggest motoring gripes, he’d drawn up a top seven of his own.

One of his bugbears had been slow-moving tractor drivers who fail to pull over when there’s an opportunity, thus creating huge tailbacks.

I said that to be fair, unlike Brian’s experience, I more often than not found that tractor drivers were courteous on the road.

This prompted Carl to write: “I enjoyed reading your column and agree about tractors. I think that given the opportunity they do attempt to pull over, but it’s not always possible. And they are working to provide us with food, etc.”

Fair point well made, Carl. But he continued: “If I may add a couple of other strange things our local motorists seem to enjoy doing ...

“When did it become legal to drive with fog lights on – especially at night when there is no fog? It used to be illegal, but not nowadays, it seems.”

I’m with you there, too. It seems to me that manufacturers these days are falling over themselves to put as many lights as possible on vehicles, presumably in an attempt to make the drivers feel safe. Although quite frankly the end result often seems to be that the other poor road users can’t always tell what’s going on.

Have you ever been stuck behind a car that you thought was braking, only to finally realise that, as Carl says, they’ve simply left their fog lights on when they don’t have to?

And why do people feel the need to put fog lights on at the drop of a hat – or the drop of a tiny bit of mist – anyway?

Mind you, some people do go in completely the opposite direction with lights, it seems. I was driving after dark last week and became dimly aware of this tiny little speck of red light, glimmering pathetically ahead of me. It might as well have been the red light district of the local ant community for all the good it was to other road users.

I guess it must have been the incredibly poor back light of a cyclist, but I never was able to ascertain the shape of what was in front of me in the dark. All I could do was give this mystery road user as wide a berth as possible.

Carl’s final point was also about lights on the road. He said: “The other irritating habit is parking with headlights on, so that a driver coming towards the vehicle thinks there is a moving car there, but just gets blinded instead. I know none of us are perfect, but ...”

Well said!

“Many thanks for your articles, and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,” he concludes. And the same to you, Carl – and to all my readers. And stay safe on our roads!