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Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Apologies to Mr Bradbury for pinching his title, but it’s so incredibly appropriate for this contribution.

Driving a car appears to be, for some, more of an act of witchcraft than an ability; more an act of guesswork than education. It’s not a black art, it truly isn’t, it’s a simple mix of being observant, being coordinated and exhibiting common sense. Yes, yes, I understand the laughter at that last one, as it’s been legislated into obscurity, courtesy of political correctness and idiots.

What’s sparked this discussion, you ask? Simple; a close encounter with something dangerous. In this case, it was a young P plater female…well, driver isn’t the right word…perhaps, person that has no idea of basic driving rules. Properly educated and reasonably settled in attitude drivers know that, when you come to a T junction intersection, you slow, look to your right and stop for oncoming traffic. When it’s safe, you then continue. This simple piece of road safety was utterly beyond this person; with NO look to the right and NO intention of slowing, she gaily sailed through, opposite locked for a left hand turn before barely giving my oncoming car room to brake. her exit speed would have been at least 50 kilometres per hour. Something wicked this way comes.

When there’s a stop sign at an intersection, it’s generally recognised by intelligent, junction-line-position-turning-leftconsiderate drivers, that you stop at this intersection. Thankfully, most people do so. However, there seems to be varying interpretations of what to do with the indicators on a car. It’s not a problem if it’s a four way and the driver intends on going straight. It’s a different story when you intend on going right or left and even less complicated when the stop sign is for the road that is the vertical part of a T. Witness the mature aged lady in her medium class AWD, stopping correctly but having “a broken indicator” on numerous occasions. A simple tip, dear readers: when you come to an intersection and you’re NOT going straight ahead, the road rules of Australia stipulate you MUST give sufficient indication. For this lady, oncoming traffic would have had no idea which way she was going. Something wicked this way comes.

During my recent involvement with a major world brand’s new luxury car launch, bad-driverour team leader, a renowned driver educator, remarked upon the driving styles of the participants; one hand on the wheel, one arm hanging out the window and seat leaning back. These were vehicle sales staff he was talking about…again, it’s pretty simple. When you get into a car as a driver, you should always check your seating position, ensuring the mirrors (rear and wing) give you as much rear view as possible. BOTH hands should be on the wheel and your arms extended from your body and slightly angled, not with your body and arms hunched up over the steering wheel like the stereotypical “grandma” driver. With the overwhelming majority of cars on the road having airbags, the hunched over the wheel position is physically more dangerous to the driver if, for obvious reasons, the steering wheel airbag is set off. Guess which chest they’ll hurt more? Guess which arm stands more chance of being severely damaged (not to mention sun damaged!) from a side on impact? Guess which driver has less control of the vehicle? Something wicked this way comes.

When it’s dusk (that means when the sun is going beddybyes), it’s cloudy, it’s raining, it’s foggy, it’s not just a smart idea (and lawful, at that) to car1227have some level of lighting turned on, it’s also a SAFE idea to do so. Why’s that, you ask? Here’s a parallel story: in WW2 sailors were banned from smoking a cigarette on deck as that tiny, tiny glow was distinguishable from miles away, against a dark background, using shipboard observing devices. Simply out, any form of lighting when it’s dark makes something easier to see in the dark. Think about that the next time you drive your dark coloured or silver painted (melds WONDERFULLY into the background) car in the circumstances described…Something wicked this way comes.

When it comes to that magical device known as a traffic light, it seems most drivers failed the colour vision part of their test (what, you mean traffic_lights_poster_imagethere ISN’T one????) due to the truly extraordinary amount of cars and trucks, controlled by non computerised humans, that don’t know what the lights at the top and middle mean. Hmmm, red is bad, amber is not so bad so……go figure. If you’re one of the drivers that thinks red means go, think again. When it’s green, everything is sweet. When it slides into amber, it’s now a good time to think about two things: how far away from the stop line you are and how long it will take to stop. If it’s red before you’ve crossed the line, well then, who’s a naughty boy/girl then? yup, something wicked this way comes.

Bottom line is this: driving a vehicle SAFELY isn’t hard. It truly, really isn’t. Slow down/stop at t junctions; slow down/stop for amber/red lights; use headlights and indicators. If you think this is below you or can’t be bothered but STILL think you’re a good and safe driver, then, please, hand in your license. You’re not good. You’re not safe. You’re dangerous.