Forgive me for sounding like an old git, but the one thing that I feel is missing from driving these days is manners. In the old days I dare say the good chaps in their ‘blower’ Bentleys and Aston Martin Internationals would pause to let people out of junctions when on their way to lap Brooklands or do battle with the hun. And you know what? I reckon they’d have acknowledged anyone who did the same for them.
However, these days – at least if you live near London - it seems the only people you’re on your way to battle are various idiots clogging up the roads. Despite this, I do try to be nice. If there’s no obvious end to the traffic behind me and I’m feeling so inclined I’ll stop to let people in. It’s a small gesture admittedly, but all it requires by way of thanks is the merest lift of a finger or flash of the headlights – it’s not difficult. And yet it winds me up no end when people can’t be bothered to do so. It is, without doubt, my greatest motoring pet-hate.
You may wonder what sort of person fails to do this – surely it’s arrogant yuppies in BMWs, boy-racers in dubiously modified Vauxhalls or white van drivers? Actually, no, the number one perpetrator seems to be a far more socially acceptable stereotype – the suburban housewife. Should you make the mistake of offering them some small kindness to ease their stress-filled lives, the female parental units of North London will blank you with a form of contempt that’s hard to fathom. They’re far too busy yelling at Tristan and Paris in the back seats to acknowledge the fact you’ve brought half of suburbia to a halt in order to help them. Instead, their X3 or Touareg just wafts past sanctimoniously.
So, I’ve resolved to leave them stuck in the middle of the road screaming at their spoilt offspring in the future, and this got me thinking about other driving stereotypes. Who else should I avoid at this hypothetical T-Junction? Maybe I need a list…
Right behind the yummy mummies on my inventory (and frequently overlapping them) would be suburban soft-roaders. It’s not an environmental concern, I just think they’re a pointless waste of resources. Next comes any one of the current ‘retro’ craze of cars, particularly when driven by an estate agent. And following that comes any modern BMW with less than six cylinders, cosmetically ‘enhanced’ hatchbacks playing house music and anyone with a really egotistical personalised plate (yes, B16 B0Y of Chelmsford, that’s you).
So who does get let in? Well, that would start with anyone who shows a bit of decency on the road (even if they otherwise fall into any of the above). Next comes the original Mini - you see, it’s physically impossible to dislike one of Mr Issigonis’ inventions. It may come bulging with bits of Halfords-sourced body kit or indeed it may cut you up horrendously, but a Mini can never be evil - at worst it’s simply a bit cheeky. Beyond that, the drivers of kit cars, TVRs (well, most sports cars to be honest), classic cars and Alfa Romeos also get automatic entry. Then last - although by no means least – you shouldn’t forget to let in those pleasant gents in their vintage Astons and Bentleys. After all, they would do it for you.
(Image shamelessly pinched from the superb SniffPetrol.com)