Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Driving predictability.

We were in the UK for Christmas and it served to remind me the different styles of drivers I see all over the world. Whilst I still maintain that UK drivers are as bad as it gets, at least there's an element of predictable aggression about it. That's what you need when you're driving - predictability. Here in Utah people are so vague and out of it when they're driving that I'm amazed any of them realise they're in a car. Just when you think you've got it nailed down, you find an all-new idiot maneuver that takes you by surprise. Not so much in England any more. Even now, 9 years after leaving, I can predict what 75% of drivers will do long before they do it - as can most UK drivers. The other 25% is the "learning experience" that we all undergo every morning when we get into a car or step on to a motorbike. In Utah it's the opposite - I can barely predict what 10% of these fools will do on any given day, and that I suspect is why they're such dangerous drivers. They're properly random, and in an organised, flowing system like traffic on a road, randomness is the pebble in the stream that causes accidents.
Would I rather drive in England or Utah? Neither. I'd rather drive in Holland where the aggressiveness and predictability are both so high that everyone is almost telepathically connected to everyone else. There, when someone fits their car into the half-car-gap in front of you, it's not a surprise and it's nothing to get bent out of shape about because in a moment's time, they'll be gone again - off in another lane. The most organised chaos I've ever seen? Singapore.
The most disorganised chaos? Malta.
Be predictable, people. It really helps.

6 comments:

Perakath said...

Ever driven in India, Chris?

Chris said...

That sounds like a loaded question :-)
No - but I assume from the tone that it's probably pretty hairy?

Silas said...

I often get into online "debates" with the aggressive cyclists who insist that red lights, stop signs, lane discipline and suchlike don't apply to them. I usually take the position that cyclists need to obey traffic laws for their own safety - not because it makes them safer per se, more because it makes them predictable. If everyone else can predict your actions, they can take them into account (of course, some drivers do use that predictability to attempt murder, but that's just because some people really don't see that cyclists are just as entitled to use the road as car drivers). When I was cycling regularly, I made a point of acting predictably. I try to do the same behind the wheel of a car.

Chris said...

Silas. Simple rule - if you use the road, obey road rules. ie. cyclists are not impervious to stop signs and traffic lights. I had an amusing incident last year (I cycle, drive and ride a motorbike). I was cycling to work and I stopped at a red light. Another cyclist came up behind me and shouted - "why are you stopped at a red light dude?". As he cycled through the intersection, he was t-boned by an SUV coming across on a green light.

Perakath said...

You could say it's pretty hairy, yes. Try and give it a go one day!

Mystery Girl said...

Ah yes but in Utah God (oops the LDS version of God) is their co-pilot in 90% of cases.