Driven To Distraction

This video of a van driver behaving like a massive tool by tailgating a car on the M25 which (unfortunately for him) was an unmarked police car has been circulating freely this week.

It’s being used to publicise Operation Safeway, a campaign by Essex Police to clamp (see what I did there) down on inconsiderate drivers. Watching it is a bit like when those Police Camera Action videos first came out – remember those? Nowadays, we’re all Traffic Copped out with the endless documentaries of trafpol nabbing the hapless, hopeless and careless behind the wheel.

Back in the day, PCA was a whole new opportunity to sneer at your fellow humans for being inept. In fact, I still remember a large crowd gathering outside Our Price in the shopping centre in High Wycombe where they’d put TVs in the windows to play the PCA videos to a mesmerised, gasping audience. Unless that was because the residents of High Wycombe were unaccustomed to TV, who knows.

I can’t help thinking the Essex Police missed a trick with naming the campaign. Safeway puts me in mind of defunct supermarkets but the options for having a name more appropriate to the subject are nearly limitless. Operation Fuck You, Operation Get Out Of The Way You Twat, Operation You Think You Own The Road or simply Operation Bellend are all strong contenders for a campaign targeting inconsiderate drivers.

Naming aside, it’s kind of nice to see a campaign against drivers who turn other people’s journeys into teeth-clenching stress and misery rather than the relentless concentration on speed. Yes, speeding is bad, mmmkay, and you should stick to the limits blah blah blah, but sometimes it would be nice to see the terrible and needlessly aggressive drivers on the hook. You know, the ones who give us all a bad name. Like the driver the other day who forced his way into a queue of traffic in front of us, jammed on his brakes for no reason that we could see apart from to try and make us rear-end him before jumping out and inviting us to fight him. He then did exactly the same thing to a van driver a few cars in front. He was quite lucky the van driver didn’t take him up on the offer as he looked like quite a big bloke and Mr Grazed-Knuckles was a hoody, scrawny runt.

It’s not just this kind of neanderthal aggression which makes driving a chore. Inconsiderateness comes in many guises. People who obliviously hog the middle lane of the motorway at 65mph when the inside lane is empty. People who can’t be bothered to signal at junctions. People who don’t use their mirrors. People who get in the left hand lane of a roundabout and go all the way around. People who trundle along at 40mph in a national speed limit zone then transform into seat-bouncing, gesticulating balls of impotent fury if you overtake them.

Worse, people who appoint themselves Righteous Death Squad when they spot someone overtaking and speed up to prevent the overtaker pulling back in. I mean, what? Are people really so petty that they’d prefer to see another driver end their journey in a fiery ball of fuel and bits of metal than let them get in front? And the less said about inappropriate use of foglights, the better.

Really, the variety of ways in which drivers can be inconsiderate toads is endless. But we’re not all like that, obv.

I hope Essex Police has stocked up on FPN pads (Fixed Penalty Notice, for the non-drivers) because once they start looking for inconsiderate driving, they’re going to get very very busy and probably suffer a nasty case of RSI. But at least a few of the tards who think that unless they’re passing a speed camera they can do whatever the hell they like might find out otherwise. Oh, and the van driver in the video got an FPN. Happy days.

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