I know I sound like a grump and very ungrateful but this is one of my pet peeves when it comes to driving. The other one is driving instructors who park forwards into spaces – they really should practice what they teach but let’s not go there.
Yesterday, I was walking to the shops and waiting to cross the 2nd half of the road at a mini roundabout and standing on the island in the middle. A driving school car slowed down and the driver, I’m assuming a driving instructor as he was the only one in the car, waved me across the road. I shook my head and indicated that he should carry on when he actually stopped and waved me across again. At this point I said “For God’s sake you are the only car here!” (his window was down so I know he heard me) and proceeded to walk around the back of his car to cross the road. Later on, I was talking to my husband who wondered if he teaches his learners to slow down and allow pedestrians across the road. After all, wouldn’t slowing down to allow a vehicle or pedestrian cross your path be classed as failing to make progress on a driving test?
I have actually read through the Highway Code, The Official DSA Guide to Driving the Essential Skills and The Driving Manual and nowhere can I find any mention of slowing down to allow pedestrians to cross the road unless they are already crossing when you are turning into a junction or they are using a pedestrian crossing.
Now, I don’t mind if there is a queue of traffic and a driver is having to stop anyway. I’d have taken the gap and crossed but there was only one car, the one who stopped to let me cross. It actually took longer for me to get across the road because the driver stopped than it would have done had he carried on to the roundabout for me to cross behind him.
One final reason why it bugs me, when I am walking with my son I am trying to teach him good practice when crossing the road. He has a learning disability and not much road sense so we stop at all pedestrian crossings and wait for cars to stop at zebra crossings and wait for the green man at traffic light ones. Where I was crossing, was not a pedestrian crossing so cars are not obliged to stop for me even though, in theory, pedestrians do still have the right of way.
Before I finish, don’t flash me across either. In this case I am talking about when I’m driving, not walking. Please do not slow down or stop and flash your lights to let me turn into a junction. Especially if you are the only car coming towards me and I’ll be able to turn in as soon as you have passed. You may not be able to see into the junction and it may not actually be clear for me to proceed. There may be a pedestrian already crossing the road or a car coming towards the end of a narrow junction opening, you don’t know. Again, if there is a lot of traffic, please do leave me a gap and I will take it if it is big enough, and it is safe for me to proceed, but please let me make the decision.
The Highway Code states that:
Flashing your headlights means only one thing – it lets another road user know you are there. Do not flash your headlights for any other reason and never assume that it is a signal to proceed.
Driving the Essential Skills and The Driving Manual also say this. So, please do not flash your headlights at me and think that you are doing me a favour, you aren’t.