The COE prices are dropping, and the Government is on track to put more cars on road. This could only mean 1 thing: The roads are getting more crowded just like the public transport.
Being crowded is one thing; Tokyo is known to be one of the most densely populated cities in the world, yet it is rare for us to hear of conflicts arising from overcrowding. This could largely be attributed to Japan’s culture, a culture of treating each other with respect and grace.
Driving, or using the roads can be a pleasant experience, if not for some habits of ill-mannered drivers.
I guess this type of drivers invokes the most irk from all drivers, mainly because these drivers’ actions are most likely to cause accidents.
The scenario is familiar: You are driving as per normal, and then suddenly a car drifts into your lane, with no warning at all.
Yes, the driver is Professor X, who expects you to know that he is switching lanes, without turning on the signal, because he is telling you that telepathically.
There are even 2 types of Professor X.
The first is the one whom you already know he is in the next lane, about 1 to 2 car’s distance ahead of you. In any case, he is already in your field of vision and any alert driver would factor him in for any negative turn of events.
The other type consists of speedsters, who find other drivers too slow for their sports cars. They weave in and out of the traffic at a high speed. And because they appear suddenly, it is difficult to anticipate them or their actions. These are the ones who would cause accidents. But because they are ‘good drivers’, the accidents are a result of other drivers’ incompetencies, not theirs, and they would most likely be gone when the accident happens.
Point to note: I have an obssession with watching the rearview mirrors; excessive as it is, it helped me spot the speeding Professor X as they approach, and allow me to react in time.
Similar to Professor X, his ill manner arises when switching lanes. Such drivers turn on their signals, at the same moment when they swerve (not drive) into the next lane.
Incidentally, I observed that unloaded heavy vehicles exhibit these bad habits (if they do turn on their direction indicators at all).
They come in many forms.
The first drives on Lane 1, but at more than 10km/h below the speed limit. It is all the more frustrating if he is driving at the same speed and alongside another car in Lane 2, thereby creating a road block. In a 3-lane carriageway, this would give rise to a peculiar phenomena, in which vehicles move faster travelling along Lane 3, which is meant for the slower vehicles.
Then you have vehicles whose speed limits are below 70km/h (vans, buses, pick-ups and trucks), but do not keep to the left-most lane. They usually wanted to overtake a truck on full load, but because they could only be marginally faster than the slower truck, they would end up over taking the said truck in more time than they would have imagined.
But of course, there are those who are not using the left-most lane for no reason at all.
Lastly, but also most debatable of all, normal passenger cars that do not take Lane 1 (maybe Lane 2, if it is a 3-lane carriageway), but drives at more than 20km/h below the speed limit. In other words, they are moving like a heavy vehicle, but not keeping to the left-most lane.
They usually appear at night.
While you are driving, you would be looking into your rearview mirror to scan for traffic conditions behind you. And then, you realise your whole rear field of vision disappeared, no thanks to the car with blinding headlights.
I was told that sometimes, it was due to a faulty light installation; that a normal bulb turned into its socket in the wrong way would result in the glare. That, however, would usually result in a 1-eyed Cyclops (1 headlight brighter than the other).
But the ones who would blind a driver are those with both headlights so glaring, they could light up a block of HDB flats.
This type of driver can only be described with the following news article:
The last one only appears in Lane 1. To a certain extent, they are like the speeding Professor X: they are pressed for time, and they do not like to use the signal indicators.
The difference is that the Tailgaters do not like to travel on lanes other than Lane 1.
So what they do is to tailgate the car in front of them to ‘hint’ to them that they are too slow for his sports car. At night, they would also activate their Shining Beacon self.
Their goal is simple:
Either you (the car in front) drive faster, or you switch to Lane 2 so I can
speed move along on Lane 1.
Ironically, when they tailgate with their high beams on, it becomes difficult for the car in front to switch lanes, because his rear field of vision is blinded by the headlights.
I highlight these bad manners because they tend to lead to accidents, if the reactive party is not careful or alert enough. Except for the Carpark Blocker, the rest are behaviours which are, ironically, included in the syllabus for driving lessons, telling us to avoid.
Rude behaviours are also more difficult than speeding or drink driving, for example, to be detected and apprehended by the authorities, which spurs these drivers on to continue with those bad behaviours.
As such, these drivers most likely do not realize they are rude drivers, so if you know any of them, please try to help them be conscious of their bad habits and assist them to correct their bad habits, so that we can all drive with a peace of mind.
Disclaimer: I myself is not a very skilful driver; still, I try to reflect on my driving and make adjustments if I pick out any bad habits. After all, I want to reach my destination alive, every time.