John McCullagh March 10, 2005
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Have I become paranoiac or are they really out to get me?

I’m talking about boy-racers constantly nudging at my rear bumper now impatiently veering to the left, now to the right, in a desperate effort to negotiate this exasperating road obstruction. And I’m already close to the maximum speed limit!

They love roundabouts, affording them an extra lane (curved, and therefore more exciting and demanding) to demonstrate their Formula 1 skills – lane-hopping with practiced dexterity only to roar off in a cloud of under-geared exhaust fumes. There is no time to sigh in relief before the next budding Schumacher is breathing fire on my tail.

You don’t believe me? Try the roundabout at Greenbank! Worse, try teaching a learner driver! Easy meat to boy-racer!

Are there no indicators on these new cars? I can’t remember the last time I saw an indicator flashing before the manoeuvre was complete. The late engagement is essential for insurance purposes, should a prang result. ‘See, officer, my indicator light is still flashing!’

Newry’s innumerable roundabouts are his favourite hunting ground. Have you noticed how he plays ‘chicken’ with you? You are observing normal lane discipline having already negotiated most of the roundabout when you see him approach. He is flying in from the left – apparently uncontrollably – clearly unable or unwilling to acknowledge that entering the roundabout requires caution.

You’ve seen him too at traffic lights. The instant they change from red to red and amber he is leaning aggressively on the horn to remind the driver in front of his impatient self-importance. Split-seconds are vital in  his  life.

If he speeds through at the tail end of the green traffic stream, you can be certain he drove through on red, clearly unwilling to wait a full cycle while you proceed legitimately on your green light.

Finally, you must have noticed him double-parked in the Hill Street pedestrian precinct? We have become the laughing stock of the country.

Whatever happened to ‘Care, Courtesy and Consideration’ on the roads? Most people of my generation still try to live by the old dictum. When everyone lived that way we did not experience the road carnage of today. I acknowledge that no simple solution is possible. But police patrols observing such behaviour should impose instant penalty points as well as on-the-spot fines. Only the imminent loss of his driving licence will halt boy-racer in his tracks.

So, am  I just paranoiac?

Never mind. I’m off to see my psychiatrist.

He’ll tell me.

Or will he just ask me?

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