Thursday, June 26, 2008

So how illegal is it to change lanes?

*mmmmmmph* ...... *hhhhhhnnnnnnngh* ..... *gggghhhhhhaaaaattt*

Nope. I can't let it go. I just tried.

We just spent the morning at a play centre. No, this is not going to be a whinge about play centre bully kids whose mothers don't look after them or even turn their heads to see Miss or Master Presh, aged 5, bailing up a two year old who can't defend him- or herself.

No. This is about a woman driving her children on a two-lane 80km/h road with one hand, talking on her mobile with the other. I watched in my rear mirror for a good five km's as this person rather pushily made her point - I guess she was in a hurry?? or perhaps she was just seeming very antsy on the road because, oh I don't know, her attention was on her call??? - and when the lane we were in started to slow down thanks to various cars turning into the centre median and other various drivers simply not getting on with it, she darted into the lane beside me. And promptly sat in my blind spot. Helpful, non?

I wanted to move into that lane too and, siezing a gap (granted, yes, a very very miniscule gap) between her and the car in front of her, I edged in with a rather arrogant momentary flick of my indicator. But by now, my pet personal peeve - the dangerous law breaker who drives with one hand while talking on his or her phone - had got me to a point of ire that really didn't give a flip whether I was too close to her or not.

Apparently, from her perspective, I was just that little bit too close. She had the gall to sound her horn at me. And I had to wonder how on earth she managed that feat without taking her driving hand off the wheel to sound the horn. Hmmm. Real safe. Perhaps she has three hands and I ought to mind my own business.

Anyway, at the next intersection, two lanes split to three and she darted into the outside lane. I then watched this woman weave dangerously into scarce gaps herself (maybe I gave her the idea) until she was back in the lane we started in a couple of km's back.

Imagine my sheer delight *sigh* when I ended up behind her at the lights turning in to the road leading to the play centre. "Of course," I say to myself. "And I'm betting she'll have something to say to me when we get there."

She was glaring at me in her rear vision mirror. I shook my head disappointedly. Now that was really the moment of flare-up for her and I got a very aggressive, shrugging, "WHAT??" to which I coolly held up my fist in a phone symbol and queried, "PHONE???" back at her. I left it at that. The women sped away from me on the 60km/h road - I myself was pushing it at 64km/h so she must've been doing close to 70 or more - and I couldn't help but wonder what the hurry was. Perhaps they wanted first dibs in the ball pit. Dunno.

I really.... I get so incensed by drivers on the road who are dangerous like this. Yep, sometimes I take situations into my own silly hands and try (in vain, as was evidenced today) to give someone a heads-up for being irresponsible. I drive my child on these roads and I'll be damned if I am going to just sit back and give other drivers space and make it easy for them if they are doing the wrong thing. Call it my upbringing in a house where my father, a road safety scientist who is now leader of his field in many places around the world and was at the forefront of enforcing the 50km/h residential speed limit (yeah, yeah, don't blame ME, people!), but I just don't have it in me to sit by idly if I can point out an unacceptable - nay, dangerous and illegal - action while driving a vehicle.

Mind you, Ms Pot here is calling the kettle black, I know. My one lane change was a corker and I'll own that one. However, stacked up, I don't really think I deserved this woman seeking me out once we were at the play centre, specifically to bail me up loudly and publicly to tell me that next time, maybe I should be more concerned about my own driving because it was pretty appalling "too".

Out of that whole thing, it was the "too" part that just made me want to sit her down and give her a cup of tea. It was all the admission I needed to see that she knew she was doing the wrong thing and ain't nobody gonna call her on it! Talk to the hand. But I did call her on it (well, not actually literally call her....). And I guess being given a serve, if she takes heed and perhaps gets herself a hands-free unit for the car, is not really a big price for me to pay.

No doubt it'll be done again. And absolutely no doubt there are still thousands of people idiotic enough and irresponsible enough to keep that phone firmly planted upside their heads. Still, one little pebble in a pond and all that, right?

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