Road Etiquette

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Sunday 21 November 2010 10.47pm
Chalkey, you no doubt can remember the days, or maybe nights, when if you came up behind a vehicle that had no lights on, or had one headed toward you with no lights on, all you had to do was give one or two quick flashes of your headlights and the driver would immediately turn his or her lights on and wave a thankyou at you.
Not any more, for quite some time now I've noticed that it seems to be a point of honour to ignore your friendly advice.
They probably know that you are watching to see if they do the right thing and turn their lights on, and then they will wait until they have gone from your line of vision to do so, maybe from annoyance at having their forgetfulness noticed, maybe from being too proud to turn them on and acknowledge that they were wrong in the first place, funny old world isn't it?
Monday 22 November 2010 10.21am
No one will admit they're anything other than perfect these days.

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 22 November 2010 10.34am
Oh my good gawd, Tom. You've lit the blue touch paper here. Stand clear all!
Road etiquette, now that was a thing. Sadly, it's all but disappeared. Yes, I surely do remember those times you mention. There was a story going around a year or two ago, which I believe was exposed as an urban myth, where certain gangs in parts of the country had an initiation procedure for new members whereby they had to drive with their lights off and if anyone flashed them, they took a gunshot at them.
My two favourite hobby horses at the moment are:
1/ People who purposely drive with their fog lights on when it's not foggy.
2/ Drivers who can't be bothered to use their indicators and expect other road users to be mind readers. It's become noticable to me over recent years that this applies more to 4x4 drivers and drivers of big, expensive cars. A certain arrogance that goes with having money perhaps.
Being an old curmudgeon, I won't let anyone out or give way to anyone who is not signalling their intentions. If they can't be bothered, then neither can I. Let me say it before anyone else does; yes, little things do please little minds.
I saw a good one the other evening. A car coming towards me with the best combination of inefective lighting you could imagine. One headlight, one sidelight and one foglight. The other parts of the combination obviously weren't working. A few years back he would have been pulled over for that.
I can remember cycling home from work one evening in the mid 1960's and being pulled over becuase, unbeknown to me, my front light had stopped working. I got a right ticking off.
In early 1966 I was on my motorbike at the T-junction at Surrey Square, waiting to pull in to the OKR. A copper approached me and asked to see my licence. Upon seeing it was a provisonal licence he asked me where my front L-plate was. I had stick-on ones on my mudguards and, without me knowing, one had obviously peeled off in the recent very wet weather. I apologised and said I would go in to Ross's Autos, (twenty yards away,) and get another one. He would have none of it and promptly nicked me. In court I obviously pleaded guilty and apologised. I expected a rollocking and a small fine. I didn't think there was any chance of a ban for such a small and unitentional misdemeanour. However, just to make sure I added that as a bus conductor working irregular hours my motorbike was very important to me. That too fell upon deaf ears. In no uncertain terms I was told that it was my responsibility to ensure that my vehicle was roadworthy prior to any journey. I was fined six quid and banned for three months. To put that fine in to perspective, my take home pay as a bus conductor back then was 12 per week.
A couple of weeks later I read in the paper that a magistrate's son had taken his dad's car without permission, lost control and ploughed in to someone's front garden. He was given a conditional discharge. I was bitter for months after that. I know there will always be anomalies within the law, but a joke's a joke.
How the pendulum has swung where making the punishment fit the crime is concerned. I recently saw a program on tv about traffic police where a lad in his early twenties was pulled over and found to have no licence, no tax and no insurance. He was fined two hundred quid. He must have laughed all the way home. He'd probaly been driving like that for years and if he'd forked out for those things it would have cost him thousands.
I need a lie down.
Monday 22 November 2010 11.08am
Remember when an AA patrolman used to wave at every motorist with a membership badge displayed.
You bought biscuits loose from tins with glass lids.
Sugar and tea was weighed form large sacks and tea chests. Milk was ladled from a churn into a jug on the doorstep and you wound a handle on your telephone to ask the operator to connect with the next street, or pressed button B on a public phone to get your money back. Sigh!
Monday 22 November 2010 12.23pm
I just had to look up what the law said about headlight flashing...

110
Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.

111
Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.
Monday 22 November 2010 5.25pm
Per HC, they mean the same as using a horn, BSB.

Having said which, I'd definitely use them in real life to alert another driver that something wasn't working on their vehicle (or if, as happens quite often, I'm alongside a car or bike who's left their indicators on and they're indicating to pull into my lane).

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 22 November 2010 10.22pm
It's not against the law to do the things in BSB's post above. Only the highway code rules that say MUST/MUST NOT are. Not that it's always a good idea. It's open to confusion.
Monday 22 November 2010 11.11pm
Hey, Phoney,
Was it you riding that bike in the 'Hovis' advert?
I did hear that the reason the AA men stopped saluting was that it caused too many accidents with members being distracted by waving back. Another urban myth maybe, or is it true?

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