It’s been mentioned by a few trainees over the past two weeks that, as restrictions have gradually been lifted, the number of incidents they’ve witnessed on the roads, as either a learner or a passenger, has increased.
This observation was something that had occurred to me a couple of times too. Whilst on drives in early July in particular, I must have had around 2 or 3 ‘unusual’ extra incidences a week. (I say ‘extra’ because any driver who is on the roads 500 miles / week knows just how often ‘incidents’ do happen – unfortunately.)
We’re not talking about anything too extreme here, by the way. By ‘incidents’, the trainees and I mean, for want of a better phrase, “people doing more daft things than normal” (students hit the nail on the head again lol)
For example, reversing out of a driveway without checking; pulling out of a side road in front of oncoming traffic; cyclists riding 3 abreast; pedestrians crossing the road without looking whilst listening to music on headphones…
…it’s perhaps this last two that finally got me Googling ‘has road behaviour changed during lockdown’ and, (bit more cynically) ‘has road behaviour got worse during lockdown’.
See for yourself. It’s not pretty.
Studies have been done that generally indicate that around 25% of drivers feel the roads have got worse in some way since March. As always with surveys that pop up at suspiciously convenient times, it pays to see who commissioned them. In this case, a car manufacturer that hoped the questionnaire would produce a negative result that would be made much, much better if people, er, bought their cars (Hyundai wants to sell its ‘Smartsense’ tech)*, and The AA, ever watchful for a marketing opportunity.
Never the less, there’s surely something in it, especially the cyclists and pedestrians still not expecting a car / lorry / bus to come hurtling round the corner (hopefully not on the same road as someone also backing out of their driveway)
Personally, I’ll admit to being fairly rusty after a few months off, and, like a few people this article from The Independent mentions, did indeed have that ‘which side is the b****y filler cap on’, as well as: forgotten me pin, who knew this car had another gear, and, most worryingly, which way do you go around a roundabout again..? (Look, 3 months of home schooling and wall-to-wall Gumball in mitigation, ok..? Never seen Gumball? Seriously, you need to check it out, kids or not)
Just to reassure trainees and, actually, all other road users I come across during a day, all of the rust has now been brushed off!
What about your experiences? Have you noticed anything different? Whatever craziness you’ve seen (not too much, hopefully) please keep driving safely. The local roads around the border area are the busiest they’ve been all year as we welcome back city tourists, and it can seem a tad aggressive sometimes. Stick to your defensive techniques, leave a bit earlier, and you’ll be riding above it all 🙂
*see previous post about in car safety tech