I am not a car expert and have no particular interest in them. I loathe Top Gear, with its pathetic laddish presenters and the nasty political agenda running through it like the name in a stick of rock.
Neither am I anti-car. In my last job, I used to travel the length and breadth of the south west and Wales on a weekly basis, and my office was a round commute of eighty miles on the days when I was not visiting clients. I do realise that people often have no real choice but to depend on their cars, with UK public transport being woefully inadequate and expensive anywhere outside of our major cities.
Now that we have established that I have no particular agenda either way, these vehicle-related traits are simply what I have observed whilst out on the road as a commuter and, more recently, as a pedestrian:
1. The Audi driver
Audi are in that awkward bracket between the premium car, and the middle-of-the-road motor. Put bluntly, they are better than Fords but not as good as BMWs. However, if you have witnessed them on the road, or you are unfortunate enough to know anyone that drives an Audi, you will know that they are without question the most deluded group of motorists in existence.
Nobody thinks they have ‘arrived’ in life like an Audi driver does. Look at me. I have stretched myself to the limit to have this car. If I was really comfortably off, I would drive a BMW, but I am still better off than you in your Volkswagen with its equally good build quality and better overall spec for the price. If you are doing 90mph in the motorway fast lane, I will still feel the need to drive up behind you aggressively and flash my lights.
A mate of mine that used to sell car insurance has always described Audi A3 owners as ‘estate agents in Golf denial’. Another guy I know who is a traffic copper says that the recognisable four-ringed badge helps the police to quickly identify any wankers out on the road. As for the Audi TT, they are making it far too easy for us – Total Twats.
2. Van crews
What can I say about this category of road user that has not already been said? Well, maybe my angle on them is slightly different. I am thinking of those trade vehicles with two or three guys sat in the cab, as they are on their way to a job. One of them is usually asleep with his feet up on the dashboard, which is strewn with old cardboard coffee cups, copies of the Daily Star and Ginster’s pasty wrappers.
These blokes are usually self-conscious and insecure enough to feel the need to behave in exactly the same way as each other at all times. When an attractive woman walks by or is sat nearby in traffic, van crews will invariably crane their necks or turn their heads in unison, continuing to gawp for a good ten seconds, which is way too long for any driver not to be looking at the road. Subtle is certainly not a word in their vocabulary.
If they see someone a bit different to them, like a person with a brain for example, they will nudge each other and laugh confidently, whilst, I suspect, feeling rather inferior and shallow.
So driven as they are by peer pressure, van crews even eat macho, subsisting entirely on bacon and McDonald’s. I was in a greasy spoon café once, and a road mending gang of about six blokes walked in. All of them ordered variants of the full English breakfast, except for one guy who asked for omelette and chips. The rest of them rounded on him like a pack of wolves for daring to be different. Anyone would think he had ordered a Caesar salad.
Maybe an exhaust the size of a paint tin makes your git-wagon sound like a Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, but it is still a Citroën Saxo. The only saving grace is when one of these souped-up clown cars tries to negotiate a speed hump and ends up running aground like an oil tanker.
3. Rural drink-drivers
I live in a small city in the west of England very closely surrounded by countryside, which means that even us urban types have spent a fair amount of time in the company of rural folk. This has led me to discover that there is a dual interpretation of the drink-driving law operating in England, and very probably the rest of the UK.
In town, driving whilst under the influence of alcohol beyond the prescribed legal limit is against the law. However, out in the sticks, it appears that it is quite alright to drink a skinfull of cider and drive the two-mile trip home in blissful ignorance of the law. If by some massive misunderstanding, a very lost squad car does happen to stop an inebriated country-dweller, something about golf with the chief constable will be muttered before the pissed-up fox murderer will be sent on his way.
4. Body-kit boy-racers
I would suggest that a 1.2 litre Vauxhall Corsa already has lack of power issues without doubling its weight with a body kit. Apart from how ridiculous these modified cars look, I have another real problem with them – what on earth are they based on? Who are these people trying to emulate?
Maybe an exhaust the size of a paint tin makes your git-wagon sound like a Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am, but it is still a Citroën Saxo.
The only saving grace is when one of these souped-up clown cars tries to negotiate a speed hump and ends up running aground like an oil tanker.
5. Flat handers
Those (mainly) men that seem to think they are more accomplished drivers because they mano euvre their cars using only the base of their palms. What do they think they look like? Everyone has power steering nowadays, so we could all do it if we wanted (to look like tools). Are these guys frustrated DJs or plate spinners?
What if I just said I was impressed? Would you stop then?
6. Personalised platers
Maybe including this one just casts me as the envious type. After all, I wish I had enough money to blow on a private number plate just for something to spend it on, even if I like to think I would still refrain from doing so.
It is not so much the top-end luxury and premium cars with private plates that I dislike – I kind of expect it of them. It is when I see a Ford Mondeo or Vauxhall Vectra with one that I despair. Your plate is probably worth more than your car, you B3LL3ND.
I love it when someone has bought a cheap private plate that is supposed to spell their name or whatever, but it requires you to look really hard before you can tell what it says. Like those magic 3D pictures – you can stare for ages without seeing what is meant to be there, before someone finally puts you out of your misery and points it out.
7. Bus drivers
When did these fuckers get so ignorant? I was always taught to greet and thank the driver when I was a kid. On the odd occasion that I catch one now, they never thank you back, and act as if they are doing you a favour be letting you on or off the bus.
They also seem to get a perverse pleasure from driving too quickly around bends, scattering some poor old dear’s shopping all over the bus, and braking late when approaching stops, keeping those trying to get off pinned to their seats by inertia before propelling them down the gangway towards the open doors.
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