Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dangerous Driving in Ireland

Having spent a goodly amount of the morning driving about thither and yon on work related issues, I have come to the conclusion that a lot of people are ill mannered oiks who should never be allowed out of the house let alone behind the wheel of a car.
I realise this is not news to many of you, but I am so hacked off with this morning I feel I've got to put something down.
Simply put, if you have no patience, no manners, no consideration, no concern for the well being of others then you ought to walk everywhere, use public transport or stay at home.
No really.
Twice this morning I had to stand on my breaks as cars pulled out in front of me- fumes BILLOWING from the exhaust as the drivers ground up through the gears- even though there was NOTHING coming behind me. In Rathmines I stopped for the lollipop lady, only for two, TWO on-coming cars keep going, pretending she wasn't there or that they couldn't see her or as she stood there in her NEON yellow jacket. At the bottom of Leinster Road the lights were red, so I stopped, as you do. I waited and when they turned green again there was a woman and two small children half way across the road. I thought, 'I know, maybe I'll wait the two seconds it will take for her to cross and then I'll go.'
The car behind blasted me, her and the kids out of it.
At Portobello I watched cars turn left onto the canal despite there being a clear red to allow pedestrians to cross, the last car almost mowing down a cyclist who was continuing straight. (Honest to god, I don't know how anyone has the balls to cycle in this city, I really don't)
At Kilmainham a courier on a motorbike crossed two lanes of traffic, causing a man-on his mobile- to jam on his breaks, they then yelled abuse at each other and I believe there was some finger gesturing.
At Sundrive, cars were tearing through red lights seconds after they've gone, illegal turns a go-go.
More pulling out on the way to Rathgar, plus an almost crash between a jeep and a cyclist (again) when the driver of the jeep pulled, slapping on her hazards as though they magically turned her jeep into a cycle lane.
Seriously, it's no wonder so many people are killed on our roads every years. We're a nation of self-centered boorish wallies.
I've often said it before, it doesn't take but a few seconds to make everyone's traffic day a little better. Let someone pull out if you can see them waiting patiently, respond with a wave or a nod if someone allows you the same, use rearview and wing mirrors, allow old folk and women bearing children a little leeway, mouth the words, 'I"m sorry' instead of 'fuck you' if you've made a genuine mistake and someone toots at you. ( I did this last week turning into the gates of the Phoenix park at Ashburn, a tricky gate as there are no lights and the gate is not wide enough for two cars, I took a break in traffic and pulled across just as someone was pulling out, he beeped, and I said, I'm so sorry and guess what, he shook his head-quite rightly- but reversed back a little to let me squeeze through. See? Good manners on his part, apology on mine equals a non aggressive solution to a traffic problem).
Oh and slow the fuck down. I know you're very important and where you're going is very important and life's a fast lane and blah-di-chee-de-rah, whatever. Just slow down. Don't tail gate folk on the motor-way, don't drive up their arses and vroom past thinking you're at NASCAR. Don't hog lanes. Don't over overtake and immediately cut back across to take an exit. Don't think you're indestructible just because you have 'NO FEAR' across the back windscreen and your car has a cheap assed body kit onboard. Don't apply make up as you drive, don't text! Don't fucking text!! Don't be a dickhead to learner drivers, everyone starts somewhere. Learner drivers should learn AND obey the rules of the road. Don't read a newspaper, don't yabber on your phone, don't have loose animals or children rolling about, don't drink and drive, don't take drugs and drive, don't not wear your glasses ( this one is aimed at me actually) don't reach for things on the floor, don't not have your belt on and then try to put it on when your doing forty, don't fall asleep.
Slow down. I know I've already said it, but slow down.
Be aware that you're driving a hunk of metal on wheels and that this hunk of metal on wheels is a lethal weapon in the wrong hands. And if you're a selfish thoughtless idiot with no regard for others, then the wrong hands are yours.



Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Driving in Dublin has become Darwinian - kill or be killed. A few years back I used to cycle the six miles in and out on a regular basis. I had the look of a serial killer on my face when I got to my destination.

11:46 a.m.  
Blogger Sinéad said...

Sounds like you've had a terrible morning.

As a pedestrian and user of public transport I can totally relate, I see this stuff everyday... Rows of cars in yellow boxes blocking junctions, drivers ignoring lollipop ladies and almost killing a few kiddies, taking the ORANGE light flashing sign as an invitation to plow through pedestrians still crossing the road.

My two biggest gripes are - cyclists that cycle through a red light when pedestrians are crossing and drivers who indicate LATE and end up almost killing you as you cross the road.

It's no wonder people get so worked up driving what with all the idiots on the road.

I actually feel better getting that off my chest. Hope you did too!

11:48 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I do rather. Also that fact that I'm not riving is making me feel a whole lot better.

Conan, I can't say I blame you.

11:53 a.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Yes, riving is a dangerous business.

Especially when some rives runk.

12:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad I will NEVER ever live in Dublin.

Limerick Guy

12:01 p.m.  
Blogger Twenty Major said...

Is it highway utopia down there, LG?

12:06 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

I heard you like good riving major? You changing your tune now?

Mister Limerick, I'd wager you'll find all of the above anywhere around the country.

12:08 p.m.  
Blogger Annie said...

I don't mind driving anywhere in Ireland except for Dublin. It's terrifying. Plus I ALWAYS get lost trying to get out of town. I'll never forget the helpful gent who told me to "go round around the roundabout." I wasn't quite sure exactly how many times I was supposed to go around.

It's getting to be like driving in New York City, which terrifies me as well. My fiance is a NYC native, and drives like one. When he's driving in the city I do a crossword puzzle so I don't have to watch. My blood pressure remains at acceptable levels that way.

12:15 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

ahaha, 'go round the roundabout' is so Irish.

12:17 p.m.  
Anonymous Babs said...

I cycled and drove in the city for 7 years, both scared me, cycling way more and I have been knocked off the saddle by people who didn't even realise they had hit me on two occasions, I also got knocked off by a pedestrian who didn't look before she crossed.
On Tuesday night I went to see Gary Newman in Tripod, I drove around the Green 4 times to get a spot because stupid bastards had parked over two spots, I was livid and I can normally fit my teeny car in anywhere, then after dropping my companion to his house in Swords I was driving home down the Forest Road which has a speed limit of 50kmph and speed bumps a plenty I was going I would guess about 55kmph (and it was 12.20am) and some dickhead in a fucking Fiesta with you guessed it "NO FEAR" on the rear window over took me on a bend and then pulled into the next roadway, what a fucking idiot, so I turned on my full beams just to piss him off, I mean I know I may drive a car that looks like an old lady but she can go very very fast and she is too cute to be that pissy with. God I was so annoyed, how pathetic can you get? I wanted to follow him and challenge him to a race knowing that I would more than likely win, but I thought the better of it and hightailed it out of there.

12:26 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

You're better off not getting into tangles with folks Babs, not worth it at all.
Speaking of speed bunps, the Clonard Road must surely qualify from some of the highest bumps ever.

12:34 p.m.  
Blogger Andraste said...

I see all this behavior and more now that I drive to work every day. It's a full day's work just getting from home to the office - no wonder I grind my teeth every time I get behind the wheel.

If I weren't TERRIFIED of riding a bike in traffic, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Better for the environment and gas is $4 a gallon!

12:36 p.m.  
Blogger Lou said...

I agree with Sinead, the whole cyclists not obeying the lights thing drives me nuts...

Almost as bad as the cyclists who go on the footpath!

12:36 p.m.  
Blogger Brian said...

All very well said FMC! I've cycled in Dublin for many years, and had numerous near misses that didn't kill me simply because I'm constantly on my guard for eejits.

Roundabouts are a particular kind of hell for cyclists, because most motorists just don't know what to do when there's a cyclist on them.

But there's a far few cyclists I wouldn't mind seeing hit with a door. I freely encourage friends to kick cyclists who cycle through red lights - they give the rest of us a bad name.

And Galway has far worse drivers than Dublin. I've seen people here blast the horn at drivers in front for not breaking the red light, about one in three cars didn't have any lights on during recent fog, and if I'm out at night I'll generally see at least one car who doesn't have lights on.

12:39 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in the country and learned to drive around the age of 11 or 12. I loved driving. In high school and college, there was nothing better than to drive on desolate curvy roads in the middle of the night with the windows down. Not even a 6-week stint in Italy broke me of the habit, and Italian drivers...I had a real moment of clarity when I saw Roberto Benigni in Night on Earth. And even when we moved to a city I still loved to drive.
And then I went to Ireland. Last year, I spent four months in Dublin. I walked between the Jervis Luas stop and Bishop St. daily for three months, then between Rathmines and Bishop St. daily for a month, and nearly lost my life too many times to count. My brain wasn't made to sustain such a high level of alertness. Anyway, Dublin ate away any affection I have for cars and the act of moving them around urban environments. If I never drive again, I won't be sorry.

12:46 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

I have to confess I quite enjoy driving in Dublin on the few occasions per year I visit. It's is like a country town compared with London where you need to be as aggressive as a rabid gorilla to get from A to B. Because we now have an increasing number of foreign drivers here who regard red lights as a reminder rather than a fixed rule, and drivers whose brother/uncle/cousin took the test for the whole family and released a bunch of mad reckless dopes onto the road, you need to be on Red Alert every second. It is good for the heart rate though, as it keeps the adrenalin pumping! So I guess you could lose a couple of hundred calories just driving five miles!

2:28 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

As bad as Dublin is, Paris scared the bejaysus out of me and I wasn't even driving.

My mother is one of the worst drivers to exist on an earthly plain. She drives too fast, is permanently distracted and is usually either on an upper or downer as she hurtles along.
When we were children she'd actually crane her neck around like an owl to give out to us, while the car magically steered its self along. How we or she were never in a serious accident I'll never know.

2:53 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

When my mum is driving, everytime she brakes suddenly she flings her left arm across to the passenger seat - an ingrained habit from the days before seatbelts when kids were allowed to sit in the front.

No real relation to the thread, I just felt like sharing...

2:58 p.m.  
Anonymous Shebah said...

"she'd crane her neck around like an owl"! LOL - great imagery. I've been in cars with people who do that, and it is nerve shredding.
I wouldn't drive in Paris for any money - that big roundabout at the end of the Champs-Élysées must be the world's nightmare spot for driving. And the French are quite mad anyway, but I love them.

3:04 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

oh ubersnarfvonmaximus! My mother does that too!
Golly, when you think of how utterly dangerous it was all was years ago, my baby brother used to stand up on all journeys sort of hanging between the two front seats.

Akso the paramour's mammy had a car with leather seats and he claims he used to stick to them/burn in summer and they'd freeze his legs to pieces in winter.

3:06 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Sheepie, that's EXACTLY where I'm talking about, how the hell does anyone know where anyone is going. Nerve wracking.

3:07 p.m.  
Blogger Lou said...

My Mum can't be in the car when any of us kids are driving without frantically trying to find the brake pedal with her feet! Seriously funny...

I'm doing the marathon in Paris soon and they only take the cars off the road for about six hours before letting them back on the route. It's an incentive to run faster!

3:13 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Bloomin hell Lou, that's cutting it fine all right. Aisling's running rotterdam, you're going to paris, and I'm going to Balmoral tomorrow for a training weekend (ie not running a marathon, but feeling very left out).
What time are you aiming for?

3:17 p.m.  
Blogger Lou said...

God I don't know. Right now I'm looking at a post-it that's been stuck to my monitor for the last few months, showing my uncle's time (4.01), and two friends (3.57 and 3.43). The workmate I'm running with is aiming for 3.30 but will more likely be around 3.45. I've been training like a demon since Oct and I'd LOVE a sub-four, may not happen though. I think I'm going to get very competitive on the day...

Running 30k on Saturday will see what time that takes...

What do you normally go for?

3:20 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Eeek! Nothing that awesome. My big aim this year Lou is just to do it under the five hours, after that everything is a bonus. I'm a disgustingly lazy runner.
But I am getting faster and this weekend should really help, and get this, yesterday, sick as a parrot and not exactly feeling peachy I went to the gym and knocked nearly FOUR WHOLE minutes off my 10k rowing time. I did the 10k in 48:44. Go figure. Why the hell can't I run like that?

4:15 p.m.  
Blogger The Bad Ambassador said...

Maybe you were rowing downhill FMC?

4:27 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Har, nope, just had the speed set higher- I didn't even know you could do that. Still, though I was thrilled, I thought I was going to meet my lunch on its way back up. really, rowing can take it right out of a body.

4:33 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Driving the hairy 90 odd miles north from LA airport the other night I could only thank God for American lanes as wide as an airstrip. As it is people really only use lane lines as suggestions. Half the people don't indicate, the other half are so terribly important they just have to make a very important call right this minute, everybody's tailgating and honking at each other and you can't hear the radio from the interference caused by all the fury in the air.

If we were to transpose narrow European roads on LA there would be more car carnage in a day than occurs in all of Ireland and Britain in a year. We just don't know how to drive here. The main problem is that people have their heads up their asses and, oddly, when you're peering at the world through your navel, that does prevent a really good clear view out of the windscreen. Mirrors are just for checking your teeth and open pores.

Don't get me started on selfish-ass squinty parking over two spaces. Or Hummers. Or Harley Davidson drivers.

4:52 p.m.  
Anonymous Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Oooh, guess who I got rear-ended by just before Christmas! Bill Paxton's wife, at a traffic light. She failed to stop in her SUV, shunted me in to the SUVin front and I lost 5 inches off my wee Prius.

She's English and was fine until she saw my kids in the back of the car (who were fine and whose only concern was who would have to go to jail and could they stare at the heinous law-breaker). The woman in front got out and started shouting, pissed off because her car was just out of the garage for the same thing. Then Mrs P. lost it.

Being British in the face of all this American fury and English weeping I stood around and wondered whether or not I ought to summon a policeman. We swapped insurance details but she'd got herself into a right state and called her husband who came down. He was lovely, looked to be in his pyjamas and had just heard he was nominated for a Golden Globe when his wife called and brought him back to earth. I had a big spot, naturally.

The girls were disappointed that nobody was sent to jail. I think they lost faith in the criminal justice system right then and there. We all lost our innocence that day.

5:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't the quality of driving the result of having a system that didn't require a driving test to obtain a full licence? Even with positive action it'll take a generation to start to wash out.

I don't drive into or through Dublin anymore. Train for me. Much more relaxing.

5:18 p.m.  
Anonymous stipes said...

Dublin Traffic lights.

7:08 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Bonus points for clipping buggies and tardy pedestrians!

Sam, I've only even seen american streets and highways on fil-um, but boy howdy, there's plenty of space. Still, stick a loaf of dublin drivers on it and someone is bound to tailgate or get hacked off about something or other.

BBB, quite right, that's why I took the train to Galway, you can chill and read, even have a glass of wine-or two. Much more civilised.

7:17 p.m.  
Blogger John Mc said...

Bad driving is not just an Irish disease. Blowing red lights became such an issue in San Francisco that many traffic lights have a camera mounted on them which is triggered when someone breaks the light. Apparently they have had quite an effect in stopping this.
That said about 2 months back I was parked sitting in my car just before an intersection, the N Judah, (SF Tram), was waiting at the red light on the other side. As the opposite lights changed from green to red one car blew the red at the last moment, and the driver behind him, probably paying more attention to the driver on front followed him through red light-just as the tram moved. He smacked right into the side of the tram. Lucky for him he wasn't going too fast. looked to me like the was a write off though.
Best part was he did this right on front of a restaurant which is a favorite hang out of the local cops.

7:55 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Hah, bad luck indeed.
It's such a stupid risk breaking the lights, becuse there's often someone on the other side waiting to jump them. The KCR down the road from my gym is a terrible junction for that sort of thing. There's always accidents there.

8:31 p.m.  
Anonymous madnessburgers said...

Heh, I was about to seethe about SF traffic but John Mc got to it before me. As a full time pedestrian its a miracle I get to work alive each day. Between madsers on their phones and bicycle death riders who go down the hills completely ignoring any form of road signage I've been turned into a screamy and shouty gesturer. A far cry from my "frowning menacingly at the bad drivers" Dublin days.

9:16 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

They wouldn't take any notice of frowns these days darling, too busy being the only one on the road.

9:34 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

I just wanted to say, seeing as how it's nearly Friday, that that 'character' Julian who intros programmmes on UTV is ginger, is he not. Just sayin', like.

11:36 p.m.  
Anonymous sheepworrier said...

Conan - please don't put ideas in her head, especially not that one.

10:05 a.m.  
Blogger The Bad Ambassador said...

Biker friend of mine had a brand new and very lovely R1 written off when he stopped at a red light - only for the driver behind to plough through him as though he wasn't there. (The majority of his bike ended up in the middle of the N4/M50 roundabout while the exhaust was stuck in your man's grill).

When the cops arrived, the guy who hit him apologised by saying "Sorry mate - I thought you were going to go through the red light". Apparently one of the cops looked at him incredulously and said "I'd stop talking right now if I were you".

Seems it might be worth considering if it might be safer the break a red light than to stop at it sometimes.

4:26 p.m.  
Anonymous Travel said...

Don’t expect perfection. Ocean cruises - With today’s
ships carrying three and four thousand people at a time, trust me, the experience is not going to be perfect for everyone. Your toilet may clog. The handle may fall off the sliding door. Your table mates may sometimes be rude (my own children come to mind). Have a good attitude and your cruise will go a lot more smoothly.

2:43 a.m.  
Blogger Eolaí gan Fhéile said...

Cycling around that big roundabout at the end of the Champs-Élysées is one of the great pleasures I've ever had. I don't like cars, though I do like Bill Paxton.

7:10 a.m.  
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