Eric Thompson: Mr Idiot, meet the accelerator

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Not all Easter motorists are interested in life in the fast lane. Photo / APN
Not all Easter motorists are interested in life in the fast lane. Photo / APN

It's been a funny old time of late, as there seems to be more than the average number of idiots about, and not just on the roads.

Maybe the moon is bigger, or closer, or the planets are aligned or something weird. I've seen craziness everywhere recently, from the supermarkets to shops, on public transport, at the beach, in car parks, in pubs and restaurants.

Having said that, though, it's still hard to go past the idiots on our roads. I come across enough of them each day to fill this column 100 times over but there's nothing like a long weekend to bring even more of them out of the woodwork. Maybe they are there all the time but I don't get to see them because I don't live in a city. I can only put the increase in crazies over a holiday weekend down to the fact that it's the only time the truly idiotic drivers venture out of their comfort zone of inner-city driving.

I swear on whatever is good and true, inner-city drivers have no idea that speed limits differ across the country and on the open road you are allowed to go faster than 60km/h.

Can't they read, or do they think a medium-sized sign, with a red circle encompassing a white background on which the number 100 is printed in larger digits, is a distance marker?

Maybe having more than one pedal on the floor is confusing and some folk should take their foot off the big one in the middle of the footwell and try pressing the one on the right. For the uninitiated, it's called an accelerator. A small hint, if I may - when gently pushed towards the floor the car will actually increase in speed, thus avoiding a huge tail of frustrated drivers. That brings me nicely on to idiot driver number two, which nine times out of 10 is actually the same fool. A passing lane is not an "it's time to go faster" lane. I understand the psychology of why people who drive at 70 suddenly floor it and race to 110 when they come across two lanes going in the same direction, but like you would do when offered drugs - just say no.

And please don't sit in the middle of the lanes using the white line as you would the groove in a Scalectrix set to help you follow the road.

The passing lane is not there for the slow to go fast, it's there for those who want to go fast to pass the ones that have been going slow for the past 40km. Now for the scary bit, which the crazies haven't managed to get their collective heads around - it's called a passing lane, so when you venture out there, pass the damn car on the inside of you. DON'T sit next to it too damn scared to pull ahead and then pull back in, no doubt only to slow right down again when the road reverts to a single lane, causing the person you've just passed to headbutt their steering wheel in frustration.

If the concept of a passing lane is in the too-hard basket for inner-city drivers, stay at home and potter to and fro on the school run, or to the supermarket, or whatever. Leave the open road for the big boys.

Those who venture out of their comfort zone on the roads will on occasion cause an accident. I'm not overly concerned about that, as accidents will happen, and no matter what government agencies are suggesting, accidents are inevitable and can't be eradicated.

It's the rubberneckers who infuriate me. Many times I've been caught in traffic jams on the motorway because drivers have slowed down to a crawl to have a look at an accident on the other side of the carriageway.

Not only is such behaviour selfish and self-centred, it will potentially cause another accident, resulting in a complete gridlock.

Why do people want to see a road accident - it's not as if it's going to be a pleasant experience. If a rubbernecker's life is so lacking in interest they have to gain excitement from others' adversity, may I suggest they take up a peace-keeping role in the Sudan and experience human suffering first hand.

I could go on but I'm feeling a little depressed after putting this down on paper. I now have to go on the above-discussed roads, so I must go and do a bit of Zen meditation to remain calm.

Please remember ET's first rule; when driving it's not about you - it's about the drivers around you.

- NZ Herald

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