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Road etiquette - the lesser known rules of the roads refreshed

1.       Roundabout standoffs

Ok so we all know that you give priority to the person on your right but what happens at a mini roundabout where there’s someone coming from every direction therefore everyone is on everyone’s right? Normally this is when the dreaded standoff go, no you go then everyone sets off at once – we’ve all been there! We propose everyone inches forward equally and all be it very slowly teeters around the roundabout equally at about 3mph. Politeness Vs eagerness, which wins out?

2.       Car headlights

Which ones should we switch on when, to flash or not to flash and full beam etiquette – it’s all a bit of a grey area, all be it a well lit up one?

-          It’s the introduction of day time running lights back in 2011 that has started the lights on, lights off confusion I think, as now all new cars come with them on as standard.

The law states head lights must be used (which in many car cases are different to the day time running lights) when it’s dark and visibility is low – the suggestion is 30 minutes before sunset and 30 minutes after sunrise as well as in heavy rain and fog.

-          Flashing – many road users are all too flash happy using it as there preferred mode of communication or aggression! The Highway Code says: ‘Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.” So maybe a simple hand wave would be better?

-          Full beam is suggested to only be used on rural roads or roads where no street lighting is present but never when cars are in front of you or coming from the other direction. If using your full beam always be alert ready to flick them off as soon as you see another car so as not to dazzle. The same rules apply on the motorway and with more council turning streetlights off you may be tempted to light up but remember the rule...because it’s not often on motorways there are no cars in front or on the other side of the carriage way.

3.       Blind spots

All drivers have a blind spot, that small area where mirrors and peripheral vision don’t just quite meet. Blind spots can easily hide cars and cyclists and you need to be especially aware of checking them when setting off and on the motorways before changing lanes. Van and Wagon blind spots are a big one, we’ve all seen the ‘if you can’t see my mirrors I can’t see you’ stickers on their back ends – well its true so hang back, no one likes a tailgater particularly one they can’t even see!

4.       Just good manners

So we’ve discussed over enthusiastic flashers and that perhaps a good old wave or similar hand gesture would be better. It’s not just helpful or good manners, its safe and often letting people out and acknowledging them for doing so for example can avoid others sparking road rage situations.

5.       Parking in the wrong places or spaces

Everyone’s been left aggregated by where another car has parked whether it be in the wrong place or just badly parked.

A personal pet hate of mine is the misuse of ‘mother and BABY spaces’ yes emphasis on the word baby, the wide spaces are for mums needing to get their little ones out, especially babies in their carrier car seats NOT people without kids or people waiting in the cars with their kids or in my opinion for people with 10 year olds perfectly capable of exiting a car by themselves! Same can be said here for disabled parking spaces although the misuse of these is even worse as they are a legal requirement for blue badge holders.

Parking on the kerb...this is also a no go, you’re not meant to do it - but what do you do in residential areas where parking with all four wheels on the road, as the law states, means blocking the road.

That’s a can of worms we’ll just leave open there for you

Happy driving!


Posted in Musings of a MotorNut on .