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UK driving - vent thread

UK driving - vent thread

Old Nov 28, 15, 5:03 am
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UK driving - vent thread

I hope I am not the only one who finds it a challenge driving here. For the moment my question is about mini-roundabouts. Is there some sort of de facto standard I'm not aware of that through traffic has priority over everyone else? We have one nearby with three exits that functions exactly that way - if coming from the side one has to treat it exactly as if stopping to enter a junction on the primary road because the through traffic will not even slow down.

I haven't had an accident of any kind since 1983, but I find myself increasingly using any public transportation I can find to avoid driving now - I'm not sure if it's really getting worse, or it's just me?
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Old Nov 28, 15, 5:34 am
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Originally Posted by VivoPerLei View Post
I hope I am not the only one who finds it a challenge driving here.
I have always found that no matter where you are in England, and no matter where you drive, within ten minutes you'll have a driver who's ten feet from your bumper becuase you're not exceeding the speed limit by at least ten miles an hour. The amount of crazy, stupid, aggressive and downright selfish driving here is really mind-boggling.

Originally Posted by VivoPerLei View Post
For the moment my question is about mini-roundabouts. Is there some sort of de facto standard I'm not aware of that through traffic has priority over everyone else? We have one nearby with three exits that functions exactly that way - if coming from the side one has to treat it exactly as if stopping to enter a junction on the primary road because the through traffic will not even slow down.
Technically and legally they function as any other roundabout - right is right (i.e., trafic from the right have the right of way). If you were to get into an accident coming off of the side road, the person from the through road would be at fault if they were on your left. Doesn't stop an accident from occuring though.

Maybe lobby the council to put in better signage?

Originally Posted by VivoPerLei View Post
I find myself increasingly using any public transportation I can find to avoid driving now - I'm not sure if it's really getting worse, or it's just me?
It's probably because you're more aware of it than before. Perhaps as you age you are becoming more risk-averse and more conscious of dangerous behaviour. And once you notice it, it's hard to un-notice it.

I think it does vary by region, although everyone thinks that drivers from elsewhere are worse than drivers from their hometown, of course

With that said, I have always found that in England in general, the culture is very repressive and people don't often get the opportunity to express themselves how they would like, so many people are quite selfish and mean when they think that nobody can do anything about it. Driving is a very good example of this - it's why people think nothing of jumping the queue on slip roads, for instance (I see this ALL THE TIME). There are literally no reprecussions. It's an "I'm alright, jack" attitude which expresses itself on the roads because, frankly, some people suck.
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Old Nov 28, 15, 6:06 am
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Originally Posted by ajax View Post
I have always found that no matter where you are in England, and no matter where you drive, within ten minutes you'll have a driver who's ten feet from your bumper becuase you're not exceeding the speed limit by at least ten miles an hour. The amount of crazy, stupid, aggressive and downright selfish driving here is really mind-boggling.
I think that is about right - I see it on roads where you have a very narrow gap between the parked cars on the left and the oncoming traffic on the right. Seems like that would be a situation demanding cautious driving, but apparently not. The amount of purely defensive driving one must do here is exhausting.
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Old Nov 28, 15, 7:42 am
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Originally Posted by VivoPerLei View Post
The amount of purely defensive driving one must do here is exhausting.
I agree, especially in London. There are flashes of politeness/consideration but generally I find that you have no choice but to drive quite aggressively or you will be waiting forever. However, there are some drivers who take aggressiveness/selfishness to an unbelievable level. I can guarantee that on 1 out of 2 journeys I will come across a car coming out of a side road that will be blocking an entire lane of traffic....they seem to have no issue bringing 2 lanes of traffic to a standstill just so they can turn onto the road even though they don't have right of way. It happens so frequently.....yesterday I came across this 5 times during my 15 min commute to work. Plus there's the undertaking, the tailgating, even people driving the wrong way down one way streets....it makes driving a very tiring experience as you have to be hyper alert all the time.
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Old Nov 28, 15, 7:57 am
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Originally Posted by bibbju View Post
I will come across a car coming out of a side road that will be blocking an entire lane of traffic....they seem to have no issue bringing 2 lanes of traffic to a standstill just so they can turn onto the road even though they don't have right of way. It happens so frequently.....yesterday I came across this 5 times during my 15 min commute to work. Plus there's the undertaking, the tailgating, even people driving the wrong way down one way streets....it makes driving a very tiring experience as you have to be hyper alert all the time.
Like I said above, people will be as selfish as they can when they think they cannot be stopped or there will be no reprecussions.
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Old Nov 28, 15, 8:48 am
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Originally Posted by ajax View Post
I have always found that no matter where you are in England, and no matter where you drive, within ten minutes you'll have a driver who's ten feet from your bumper becuase you're not exceeding the speed limit by at least ten miles an hour. The amount of crazy, stupid, aggressive and downright selfish driving here is really mind-boggling.
...
I saw a Bumper Sticker: "I'm a Vet,Therefore I drive like an Animal". Suddenly I realised how many Gynaecologists there are on the Road!
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Old Nov 28, 15, 9:01 am
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As a Yank, I find driving in the UK predictable and non-confusing. The overall standard is much higher than what I'm used to in the States. (I spend enough time driving there that driving on the left is quite natural, and I have lots of data points.)

The thing is that there is little tolerance for those who are confused, don't know where they're going, don't know which lane to be in, don't know when to yield the right of way and when to take it, and so on. What some call "aggressive driving" is, I feel simply knowing what one is supposed to do and doing it, assuming that other drivers will also know that you're supposed to do it and let you do it.
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Old Nov 28, 15, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by bibbju View Post
I agree, especially in London. There are flashes of politeness/consideration but generally I find that you have no choice but to drive quite aggressively or you will be waiting forever. However, there are some drivers who take aggressiveness/selfishness to an unbelievable level. I can guarantee that on 1 out of 2 journeys I will come across a car coming out of a side road that will be blocking an entire lane of traffic....they seem to have no issue bringing 2 lanes of traffic to a standstill just so they can turn onto the road even though they don't have right of way. It happens so frequently.....yesterday I came across this 5 times during my 15 min commute to work.
That's because it's often the only way you are ever going to get out into the main road. If you were to wait until the road were clear in both directions you'd be there until well after the end of the evening rush hour. Londoners have mostly learnt to deal with the extra traffic we have on our roads and this is one example. It's not necessarily how the highway code suggests it should be done but it's typically the only way. Of course, there's a right and a wrong way to do it. Forcing someone to brake heavily is not the right way. Backing off the gas if you see someone ahead trying to pull into traffic is the right way. It's common sense really and unfortunately there are still some drivers who can't work that out.

Tailgating and passing on the inside is still wrong, but is usually caused by people lane-hogging. If you're not overtaking, you should be in the inside lane.

Having said all that, I rarely drive in London. We've got decent public transport and I'd rather walk for distances under two miles.

I think the thing that confuses foreigners the most (other the us driving on the correct side of the road :-) ) is the fact that we're the only place I know of where we put an extra set of traffic lights at the far side of junctions. This is obviously to allow those at the front to see the lights (there's a post there already so why not use it?). I've seen foreigners on many occasions turn left or right, see a red light meant for the road they've just turned into, and decide to stop across the junction in a state of confusion.

I think all countries should have leaflets on border entries (ferries, service areas, car rental desks) showing the quirks of that country (e.g. stop signs actually meaning stop, even if there's nobody around).
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Old Nov 28, 15, 10:18 am
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Speaking as someone who spent many years cycling on British roads I have to say the courtesy shown to me by drivers was excellent.
My wife also has a very high opinion of British drivers. Which comes as no surprise considering what you have to put up with here. Suicidal maniacs the lot of them!!
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Old Nov 28, 15, 10:36 am
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
Speaking as someone who spent many years cycling on British roads I have to say the courtesy shown to me by drivers was excellent.
My wife also has a very high opinion of British drivers. Which comes as no surprise considering what you have to put up with here. Suicidal maniacs the lot of them!!
I would be devastated to hit a cyclist or pedestrian. You would get nothing but courtesy from me on the roads
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Old Nov 28, 15, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by VivoPerLei View Post
I would be devastated to hit a cyclist or pedestrian. You would get nothing but courtesy from me on the roads
Glad to hear it. ^

Roundabouts are very uncommon here compared to the UK....in the town I live we got out first one less than ten years ago and the rules are strange. Unlike the UK being on the roundabout doesn't mean you have priority over all joining traffic. Very confusing if you ask me.
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Old Nov 28, 15, 11:18 am
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
Glad to hear it. ^

Roundabouts are very uncommon here compared to the UK....in the town I live we got out first one less than ten years ago and the rules are strange. Unlike the UK being on the roundabout doesn't mean you have priority over all joining traffic. Very confusing if you ask me.
Is it a bit like the old French "Priorite a droite" system that used to catch out the anglo Saxon tourists?
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Old Nov 28, 15, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by antichef View Post
I saw a Bumper Sticker: "I'm a Vet,Therefore I drive like an Animal". Suddenly I realised how many Gynaecologists there are on the Road!

I would say there are more Proctologists

Last edited by mapleg; Nov 28, 15 at 3:34 pm
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Old Nov 28, 15, 12:08 pm
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Originally Posted by Efrem View Post
The thing is that there is little tolerance for those who are confused, don't know where they're going, don't know which lane to be in, don't know when to yield the right of way and when to take it, and so on. What some call "aggressive driving" is, I feel simply knowing what one is supposed to do and doing it, assuming that other drivers will also know that you're supposed to do it and let you do it.
This isn't aggressive driving, it's just people not having any tolerance for other drivers (who don't know the route etc).

I drive pretty much every day in central London and my tolerance in rush hour to people who aren't regular rush hour drivers in the area is pretty much zero. Your dithering over lanes (etc) has just cost me the lights and a couple of missed sets of lights can end up doubling my journey time (which itself has other consequences such as making it harder to find parking, take longer to get to my client's office, etc). The volume of traffic is so heavy that even a slight delay can have a detrimental impact on journey time and traffic conditions. Some minor changes were made to traffic light phasing on my commute a few months ago and it caused gridlock across a 3 mile radius (2 hours to drive 3 miles!). Luckily the phasing was changed back after a few weeks of mayhem and things returned to their normal level of madness.

I am a much nicer driver outside of rush hour My non-London friends tell me that I am a "very London driver" which isn't meant as a compliment. But these same friends avoid driving to see me (and take the tube - or ask me to theirs) as they find the traffic where I live just too stressful. I completely understand as it isn't pleasant....but it does mean driving anywhere else feels really relaxing!
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Old Nov 28, 15, 3:42 pm
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Originally Posted by antichef View Post
Is it a bit like the old French "Priorite a droite" system that used to catch out the anglo Saxon tourists?
From what I've seen it's more like a game of chicken.
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