Friday, May 15, 2009

Driving on the wrong side of the road.

You might think from the title of this entry that it's going to be about driving in England, but it's not. This morning on the way to work I encountered a car driving the wrong way up a divided highway. Being the abrasive person I am, I stopped him and challenged him. His excuse was that he "just needed to get in to the back entrance to the post office". Rather than go to the end of the road and do a legal U-turn, he'd crossed the centre divider and started driving up the wrong side of the road because it presented a shorter route to him. One long, heated argument later, and I got the police involved - more because he was trying to call my bluff than anything. After a couple of minutes, we had assembled quite the audience, listening to the argument, and when the police turned up, it was immediately obvious to them what the problem was. The guy was given a ticket for dangerous driving based solely on the various eye witness reports, and the fact that he was parked facing oncoming traffic. He was also ordered to go to traffic school or face points on his licence and a ding on his insurance notification.
So here's the thing. It really doesn't matter what excuse you think you have, driving the wrong way down a road is never acceptable. You're not that important, and you will cause an accident or come across someone like me who'll make good and sure that you pay for your stupidity.
In this driver's case, his attempt to save 20 seconds caused him a half-hour delay making him late for work, a huge fine, traffic school, and potentially points on his license and increased insurance premiums.
Frankly if I'd been one of the policemen who turned up, I'd have just taken his licence away.


Konstantinos said...

I am very happy with the fact that you stopped him and argued with him! A lot of people just see something like this and they just don't do nothing more than just say "look at this ***"!!! They must not go unpunished people!!!

Well done! ;)

Anonymous said...

Chris're too harsh on people.
Actualy I came across a similar insident a couple of times and I wasn't angry, because those drivers were braking the law without any punishment, it just got me thinking "if they were punished (the way you described) would that make them NOT do it again?"
I mean.....personaly, if the driver made sure that there is safety in doing what he did, I wouldn't mind him driving like that.
And let's not forget that this guy could be someone who maybe is a perfectly safe driver in his everyday life, you know??
What I mean is we all make mistakes, it's human. But it's also human to be a bit flexible from time to time. I don't see this every day right?
I don't now man, it's hard to say if you did right or not. Hell I admit it, if I was in a simmilar situation, assuring there is no compromise on safety for the others, maybe I'd do it myself (and I'm not the guy who does or ecourage others to do such things, you know...)

Zach from Greece

Chris said...

What he did was intentional, and it was illegal. I could care less about some laws - doing 90mph on an open motorway in the middle of the night is breaking the law, but it's not putting anyone in danger. Driving the wrong way down a road in rush hour is putting everyone else in danger - that's the difference.

Anonymous said...

Come on gotta chalk this one up right there on the page with all other stuff that you do that make you become more "American" every day. I were on your way to work, you stopped and challenge the guy, you involved the police...probably you felt good afterwards did a "service for the community". This is not far from those situations where the neighbors call the cops because the you're barbecue set is producing too much smoke. I mean...give the guy a break! "He who didn't do a traffic blunder ever, cast the first stone" :) Really...What if one'll find yourself in a simmilar situation...wouldn't you want to get away with it?

Paul G. - Romania

Chris said...

I don't think there's ever an excuse to be driving on the wrong side of the road. The more people let idiots like that get away with it, the more it enforces in their mind that it's an OK thing to do. Smoke from a barbecue is trivial and harms nobody. A guy deliberately driving down the wrong side of the road demonstrates (a)laziness and (b)so little regard for those around him that he shouldn't be driving in the first place.
Idiots like this are going to be the downfall of society and the more people man up and stop this sort of crap, the better.
As for the "wanting to get away with it" - if you find me driving on the wrong side of the road, feel free to lock me up because I'll deserve it. I wouldn't want to "get away with it" - that's a ridiculous thing to say. That's like saying "wouldn't you want to get away with accidentally mowing down someone's child because you were using a cellphone?"

Anonymous said...

Look're right. When you're right, you're right. But, like...there must be a reason behind what the guy did. All I'm saying is MAYBE...just maybe...calling the cops was rather too "pro-active". Or, maybe I'm not as pro-active as I should be. If it would have been me instead of you seeing that guy, I'd probably cursed him, show him "the finger" and be on my way.

Regarding cellphones, here in Romania, using a cellphone while driving may get you a big fine or in the extreme cases even some months of forced "vacation".

Paul G., Romania