Please – Mind The Gap…

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Social Commentary
Tags: , , , ,

“That wasn’t me letting you into my lane… That was me leaving a safe two-second gap!”

When it comes to driving, I prefer being on the Motorway than churning out the miles around town.  I love the open road and the fact all traffic is heading in the same direction.  I even get a great sense of achievement when I see the distance decreasing as I pass each and every road sign.

I feel so much more secure that I don’t have to keep an eye out for small children.  I feel so much more secure – right up until that point when someone spies the two-second gap I am leaving between me and the car ahead.

We all know this driver, perhaps we sometimes are the driver in question.  They see the gap and decide it is just about the right size for their car and dart into it from the adjacent lane.  They dart in; sometimes even thank you – as though you had in some way encouraged their lane change by leaving the gap, immediately causing you to lift off the gas and cover the brake.

They dart in with no apparent sense of regard for the fact they are now less than a second behind the car in front of them and have now caused you to be less than a second behind them.

A fortnight ago I completed a round trip of just under 400 miles; a journey that involved me spending quite some time on some of Britain’s busiest stretches of Motorway.

During this journey I lost count of the number of times someone stole my two-second gap; the number of times someone disregarded common-sense in the name of expediency and haste.  During this journey I lost count of the number of times I heard myself say “I wasn’t letting you in!  That was my two-second gap!”

This week we were sadly reminded how close we are to tragedy, whenever we climb aboard a vehicle and take to the roads.  We saw what has been reported as one of the worst motorway accidents in UK history; a harrowing accident where the number of people injured or dead and the number of vehicles involved seemed to increase with every updated news report.

It is entirely far too early to speculate about what caused the accident and far too soon to comprehend how those families involved will go about dealing with their loss and rebuilding their lives.

But, perhaps – we can all take the warning we have been given.  Perhaps we can all put in a little more thought the next time we are about to change lanes.  That two-second gap is there for a reason.  That phone call can wait, surely it can wait.  The radio station – does it really need changing this instant?

We can all take that tiniest bit more care.

Surely we can give each other that.

Can’t we?

Two seconds really isn’t that much to ask.

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Comments
  1. I’m with you. Well said, Mark.

  2. ajjam says:

    One of the reasons that I don’t drive is ‘the’ other ‘guy’. I reckon I’d probably be a good car driver – if it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t want to be one at all.

    • You’re so right when you say you don’t want to be the other guy. I chastise myself every time I think I am about to do something stupid or irresponsible.

      It is so easy to forget you are in charge of a lethal weapon :(.

      • ajjam says:

        There is that, Mark, but I was thinking more along the lines of your fate not being entirely your own on the road and you rely on everyone else being safe as well.

  3. Brigitte says:

    This is the exact reason I’m filled with road rage every time I get in the car and drive somewhere……idiot drivers with no common sense. (Not a good thing, since I live near Dallas and thus drive on some of the busiest roads in Texas!) I’m sure the stress has shortened my life span.

    • Yep – common-sense is in short order on the roads. The problem is, all of us drivers probably have a moment where we look back on something we did and think “well that was stupid”.

      We forget we are driving a lethal weapon and become a little too blasé’.

  4. I still don’t have a license. I haven’t ever been interested in driving. However, I notice how others drive, and it sometimes makes me angry and scared for those around. Someone just last night was weaving between traffic, probably not needing to go anywhere important–such as an emergency–but was just a dangerous driver. My dad the other day was opening his soda, and wasn’t paying attention, and was aimed straight for the guard rail. He looked up just in time to steer away from a possible death. Driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do, and yet we spend so much time messing around.

    • Those that weave in and out of traffic drive me to despair. They have no consideration for the people that they cut up and will be the first to cry foul if anyone should deign to pull the same move on them.

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