We’re not invincible

5 Jul

I would consider myself a calm and considerate driver. Well, as calm and considerate as you can be driving in London. I often invite a pedestrian to cross the road in front of me if I’m in slow traffic, or let a car pull out of a junction. But on the way to my mundane weekly supermarket shop yesterday evening, something – or rather someone – had me reeling.

The entrance to my local supermarket is located just off a mini roundabout and as I took a left at the roundabout to enter the supermarket car park a woman stepped out in front of me and put her arm out as though ordering me to stop. I was taken aback as there was no reason for me to stop. I wasn’t going fast, there was no injured cat in the middle of the road, nor did she hold a lollipop.

All I wanted to do was get my shopping over and done with so I could get home in time for Coronation Street. Frustrated, I duly stopped. Then, quite astonishingly, she gestured for her kids, who were patiently waiting on the pavement, to cross the road in front of me. The kids were hesitant to step out in front of my car but she kept yelling at them until they gingerly walked across the road.

I was stunned by her actions. She made me so mad, not just because she ignored the Green Cross Code and made me stop (despite it being my right of way), but because she’s setting a bad example to her kids. The children were waiting quite happily for an appropriate moment to cross, but the mother went against everything her children have learnt at school and put their safety at risk.

Whatever happened to ‘stop, look, listen and look again’? It seems this woman went to a different school and learnt the ‘walk, stop traffic and hope for the best’ procedure. Luckily for her, and her children, I did stop and let them pass, but judging by the way some people drive round my neck of the woods it might have been a very different story.

Road safety is so important but people seem to think they’re invincible these days and the bus, bike or car will stop for them when they cross the road. I always remember my dad’s reaction when someone walked out in front of his car on a zebra crossing without looking. “What do you think it is, a magic carpet?” he’d yell at the pedestrian.

Although it’s common courtesy for drivers to stop at a zebra crossing, pedestrians have to be so careful these days. We’re all in such a hurry to get places but we have to be on the lookout for other people and not think we own the road. That goes for pedestrians and drivers.

I think what angered me the most about the incident yesterday was that she didn’t even wave or smile to thank me for stopping, she just carried on walking and yelling at her poor kids. Needless to say it took me a while for my anger to subside, and pushing a trolley around a busy supermarket was probably not the best way to deal with my rage. In fact it probably made it worse. I think someone should write a Green Cross Code for shopping trolleys.

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One Response to “We’re not invincible”

  1. Gordon Gurman July 5, 2011 at 9:30 pm #

    When do I get my royalties for that quote??
    Luv, Dad

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