Winter brings out the worst in drivers. What is it about bad, wintery weather that make people go nuts on the road? For every person skidding uncontrollably into a lamp post, there’s someone driving so slow the snow melts and Spring arrives before you get home!
Too many drivers avoid driving in bad weather, but sooner or later they have to go out in it, or the weather changes suddenly while they’re out. Due to their inexperience, they become hazards to other road users. Other drivers seem to believe that the weather is no reason to slow down. This mixture of inexperience and bravado is what we have to face every year.
So hands up if you’ve encountered any of the following on your winter travels:
Rudolph Rude Boy
The aforementioned rushing rude boy is a nuisance all year round. But driving too fast in winter weather is just downright dangerous. In rain, sleet or snow, the Rudolph Rude Boy will go 90mph everywhere. He won’t deviate from this speed until he reaches the end of his journey, which is usually wrapped around a lamp post.
The Dark Knight
The one who’s one with the night. So much so, they don’t bother to put their headlights on. An elusive driver, you rarely see this one… Well, until you change lanes and find that empty looking spot FULL of car. This driver usually comes out when the evenings begin to arrive earlier in the day and they don’t turn their lights on due to habit.
Here’s a tip, mate: Just because you can see everyone else, doesn’t mean we can see you. Switch your lights on.
Dodge, Dip, Duck, Dive, and Dodge! This driver has mastered the Dodgeball arts and now applies them to those busy holiday roads. Working on the sound basis of “if you can dodge a truck, you can dodge a ball,” Patches will dodge in and out of every lane at every chance he gets to get… just… slightly… ahead.
This includes queue hopping on busy motorways and overtaking 3 cars on a B road seconds ahead of an oncoming lorry.
Being witness to Patches will send your anxiety through the roof, so remember to focus on what you’re doing. If another driver’s behaviour is making you nervous, put some distance between you and pray he doesn’t crash and cause you to sit in a long queue.
Hard Shoulder Hog
It’s Christmas Eve and you’re travelling home. That Chris Rea song has been on the radio twelve times already and you’re sitting in deadlock traffic. And then it starts snowing. Been there? We’ve been there. No one around you wants to be on the road, everyone just wants to be home already. You’re all in the same boat. So what gives this guy the right to hop into the hard shoulder and scoot past the queue?!
Not only is this dangerous because someone with actual engine trouble could pull in to the lane without looking, but it causes other problems. If you’re held up on the motorway, odds are its because of an accident. The only way for emergency services to reach the crash is to use the hard shoulder. They can’t do that if the Hog is hogging it.
STOP! Hammer Time
Driving in winter weather requires control and patience. But mostly control. Because control is what prevents you from locking up your brakes and skidding out into the junction and T-boning someone. When it’s not icy, this driver is just as dangerous, but to the people behind them.
Sudden braking in bad weather can cause someone to rear end you, even if they were travelling at a safe distance behind. Don’t be caught unawares in bad weather. Drive carefully and pay attention to what’s in front of you.
If you’re any of these people, do the rest of us a favour and learn a few winter driving tips. Or just hibernate this winter. Thanks!