Have driving standards got worse?



I had the misfortune of having to drive through two large towns, motorway and rural roads yesterday. This was during gale force winds, heavy rain and at night.

In the space of a 6 hour drive (was meant to take three however highways agency decided to close of the M6 J3)

I witnessed, no indicators, correct speed for the conditions, poor lane discipline. I was cut up three times at three different roundabouts. Tail gated for thirty miles on a country road. Overtaken on double white lines. Watched drivers push there way out of junctions onto main roads regardless of traffic. One driver on a filter lane stop in the middle of the road on a green light then suddenly shoot of the poor driver behind was stuck in fast moving traffic.

these are just the tip of the iceberg as to what I witnessed yesterday.

There is no chivalry on the road anymore, drivers are driving faster, not paying interest in the road. Volvo/Audi/BMW are not fitted with indicators apparently. White vans have some of the worst drivers I have ever seen.

I nearly died umpteen times yesterday due to poor inexcusable driving of others.

I did not see one Police car on my travels yesterday, I actually feel safer driving in Basra than in the UK.

The police are so preoccupied with speed and tax discs they are failing to stop drivers with poor driving skills.

Is is me (I am not the stig nor a boy racer and I think I am a average driver) has the driving standard of this country deteriorated?
Couldn't agree more. It's been down hill all the way ever since they stopped having blokes with red flags walking in front of the motors.

My theory? People don't give a damn these days, its all self self self and sod everyone else.

I worked as a Bike instructor for a few years and had a lot of contact witht he local Plod (we used to do the CBT training for there bike cops) and they mentioned that more an more they where finding people where driving on foreign licences and had very little knowledge of UK road laws. This was noticable in inner city areas.

One last theory that I have read up on is that the safer you make a vehicle, the more likely the driver will become unattached from what is going on around them. If they feel safe, they will drive more dangerously...which ties in with your Volvo/Bmw/Audi observations.

As our chief instructor once said, put a 6 inch spike on the centre of the steering wheel and see how many folk speed!
Yep, lots.

I am Highways Agency and dread those conditions, purely because people dont alter their driving for them, and then wonder why they are upside down in a tree.
As soon as the rain starts, the phones start ringing!
Yesterday on the M23, a new fiesta is doing 90 plus in the left hand lane. Then, without indicating he moves over to the right hand lane and slows down to approximately 45! This means those behind him had to brake sharply, some swerve left and then 'undertake' him.

What the fcuk is all that about? Driving like that should earn a ban and retest.

Stoned, probably.
I'm not sure that driving has got any worse than it used to be. AFAICT tell, from over 30 yrs behind the wheel, many drivers have always driven like prats. Speeds are higher than they used to be, because the cars are better, but the majority of drivers still don't look more that 3 ft in front of them. As you observed, the proof of this is the speeds some drivers will maintain in zero visibility conditions.

However, I must point out that the Volvo/BMW/Merc observation is probably not accurate. These cars tend to stand out more than the bog-standard Nissan/Ford/Rover, so get preferentially observed.

I have been treated courteously,and seen good driving, by drivers of all these marques . I do have indicators on my Volvo and do use them. Oddly, I take the opposite view of driving a 'safer' car - ie, I must take extra care not to damage the egg-shells around me.

However, enough of this frivolity.

I am all in favour of summary road-side execution of persistent tail-gaters. It's low-level IQ types like this that are responsible for the bad name high speeds get - I don't have a problem with somebody doing 160 mph down the road, provided the conditions are right and they drive sensibly.

Remember, perceived safety distance is a function of speed, IQ and dick-length-cubed. That is why, even in a traffic jam, I drive so far behind other cars that I can barely see them (and that's with 6/4 vision). It also explains tail-gaters.


Book Reviewer
Also did a 500 mile round trip yesterday up to Harrogate. I observed the following:

- Having left home well before dawn, the number of car driving with only side lights on (in heavy rain/spray)
- As dawn broke the number of cars with NO lights on.
- Heavy spray on the roads and cars blasting by at easily 90mph.
- Middle lane hoggers.
- Tailgaters.
- Impatient idiots blasting up the Hard Shoulder in the traffic jam approaching J29 on the M1, where the M1 was closed. One guy in a shed of a Cavalier screaming up the hard shoulder almost hit a Fiesta that thought queuing wasn't for her either.
- Truck drivers not using their mirrors and indicators and pulling out to overtake when there are cars alongside them.
- Drivers chatting on their mobiles as they drove at 90mph overtaking on the wrong side weaving in and out of traffic.

And the only Police car I saw was the one blocking the M1...
Yes !,
agree with the BMW , Merc , observation ( my wife drives a Merc ! )
All drivers should be made to ride a 50cc moped for a year before they can drive a car - they would then look for obstructions , anticipate road /weather conditions , and natural selection would kill off all those that should never be allowed to drive - ever !
I drive for a living, I'm a white van man....
But yes driving standards are falling, in large part due to speed camera policing.
10 years ago traffic police were far more common on busy routes, these days that Police presence is often substituted with suitably placed revenue cameras. Unfortunately these cameras do nothing to catch poor or even dangerous driving.
At the risk of being called unpleasant names there is also the factor of hundreds of thousands of drivers in the UK now that have never been through a UK test and evidently got their licences free with a packet of cornflakes.
I blame Eastern European immigrants! They drive like loons in their own countries and when they come to the UK, they think they can do the same in the UK.


I feel better now, as I thought it was me becoming a fuddy duddy. This morning I ventured out again and spotted the eastern european driving habits mentioned earlier. Four up and no seatbelts thrashing an old astra round an estate. I wouldnt have minded but the kids were out playing on there bikes.

I have another observation which I am keen to know the answer to is why do some people put hi vis vests on view in there car?

Does it give immunity from the police, are they police walts? I can understand if they are highway maintenance.

But why?
armadillo said:
I have another observation which I am keen to know the answer to is why do some people put hi vis vests on view in there car?

Does it give immunity from the police, are they police walts? I can understand if they are highway maintenance.

But why?
I have to wear Hi Vis most days at work so I wear Hi vis on the way to work. I would imagine its pretty common :D
I agree. Driving standards have slipped - badly.

One of my lads at work passed his test this time last year and being a typical youthful know-it-all knobber, he couldn't understand that adverse weather affects the way a vehicle is driven. My how I laughed when he came sobbing that he'd stuffed his car onto a roundabout after his 'steering failed' - nothing to do with the half inch of snow then! Still he's just got nicked for speeding again and will lose his licence and have to take extended re-test.

With regard to the Volvo/BMW/Merc debate. As a Volvo driver I'm biased we're all excellent drivers. However in my area the owner of a local haulage company drives his silver, private plated Merc Vito van like a bloody Nazi - pulls out in front of everyone, nevers uses his indicators and has a mobile phone glued to his permanently. BMW's are driven either by drug dealers who don't give a toss, or by penny pinching idiots who have the directional sense of a lemming perched on a cliff edge with no regard for anyone else - selfish cnuts.
Markintime said:
OK, originally it was Volvo/Audi/BMW so lay off the Mercs.

St Jeremy of Clarkson said it last year "All the cocks have sold their BMWs and bought Audis". You can't get it from any higher authority than that.
They might have sold their BMWs but they've kept their Mercs :wink:
I think there's a couple of major causes to all this...

• The minimum age should be upped to 21 across the board (with normal Armed Forces exemptions), as many drivers simply aren't mature enough to understand the consquences of bad driving properly. My brother's girlfriend I wouldn't trust slicing bread with a sharp knife, but after her 4th test (and only turned age 18 recently) she eventually passed her test. I mean - you can't buy fags til you're 18, but you can legally take a 1-ton piece of metal down the motorway at 70mph aged 17.
• SatNavs are fecking dangerous. It's illegal to have a phone at your ear whilst your driving, but totally OK to have your head buried in your SatNav screen and not watching the road. You can even press all the buttons whilst driving. Especially in built up areas, where people are looking out for their turning, they're simply not even looking at the road - and will happily do whatever the SatNav says, regardless of those around them - as they can't see you on their SatNav so therefore you don't exist. iPods are fecking dangerous too. The amount of drivers I see with their little white headphones in... and if they can hear the thing over the noise of the road it must be up pretty loud. Stereos are one thing as at least your ears are kept free - but with your earphones shoved right in, you won't hear a fecking thing.
• There are more and more drivers now driving in the UK on foreign licenses, where testing is not quite as stringent as the UK! You can get a license in some countries where to get it, you just need to buy a car. Then you can come to the UK and drive it all you like.
• The driving test doesn't cover enough stuff; and the lessons only cover what you need to know to pass the test. The 'Pass Plus' course offers more tuition on motorway driving, driving in adverse conditions, etc etc; and at the moment it's an optional extra on top of driving lessons - that you do once you pass your test. It should become mandatory. Anyone who doesn't do it should have to wear big plates on their car (like L Plates) to show police they're not allowed to drive on motorways or in the rain.
• And finally, people need to be retested. Old drivers and new. For instance, in the Armed Forces we take weapons handling tests at least every 6 months. Under the driving system, we'd take our first WHT in basic training and never have to do one again. Same for MATTs - just do them all in basic and never have to do them again. How would our drills be? Within 5 years we'd all be shoite. Yet, with the driving system, you can be driving 50, 60 maybe 70 years after you took your test, without a retest. So any bad drills, habits and ambiguities picked up en route are never corrected. There really should be a 5-yearly retest or something... and medical. Some drivers can't see the road 10 feet in front of their vehicles.

The system really needs updating, for the safety of everyone.
Standards have always been appalling. Apparently most drivers haven't been told that those coloured shapes in front of their bonnet are mostly other vehicles. Sometimes the coloured shapes are people too, but since their car has crumple zones and airbags there's no need to get overly concerned about them.
A five year re-test? Do you work for the government by any chance? Seems like a cracking money maker!

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads