Road users

Tractor drivers not caravanners are the most despised. Top of my list are self-righteous gadflies who admonish you for not keeping to the left on motorways. I don't like inside undertakers, gesticulating show-offs, mobile phone users, cigarette smokers, unthinking signalers, especially those who flash left to show they are about to cut-in. Yet according to the compilers aggressive business drivers, motorway tail-gaters and boy racers should be listed and aren't. They are more likely to have high insurance premiums. I can think of plenty more such as BMW drivers, so belligerent that they get other BMW drivers, like me, a bad name. Tractors. A Fordson Super Dexta and a Fergie at a tractor rally on Bute.

Tractor drivers aren’t that bad. I get behind them on country lanes where I live, and I always feel that because they are so elevated and visible they get embarrassed by long queues. There used to be a rule in California (maybe there still is) that if you built up a train of more than six, that you had to pull in and let them past. Drivers towing caravans couldn’t see you. Even with extended mirrors there were none so blind.

Only this afternoon I had an old Mazda come up behind me on the A1M. I was in the big Nissan and sticking to a strict 77mph. It’s four lanes and I was in the second. There wasn’t much on the slow lane but I didn’t want to snake in and out, preferring a disciplined straight course. You could tell from the Mazda’s body language what was going to happen. He had to pull out from close behind to lane 3 to overtake, and immediately swerved to the left pointing and gesticulating.

Yet he was the miscreant. At 85 or 90mph HE was reprimanding ME. And off he went swerving from this lane to that, flashing madly. A show-off. He slowed down later. A phone call distracted him and when I overtook he had his mobile fixed on his ear. At least he had stopped being a nuisance although he was now more dangerous. I was always taught to look in the mirror before signaling, and if there was nobody to signal to, don’t. Now you see drivers frantically signaling as a sort of gesture, an unthinking rite, which they imagine entitles them to any swerve, change of pace or manoeuvre.

Let us have done with them. For the record, according to the survey results, the Top Five Most Hated Road Users are: 1. Tractor drivers; 2. Caravan owners; 3. Sunday drivers; 4. Learner drivers; 5. Cyclists. Sunday drivers? Surely not. I was one today.