That big, red “L” sign which we all know by now to let other motorists know that a learner-driver is behind the wheel kind of pre-empts something a little different to its intended purpose, doesn’t it? I mean instead of encouraging the other motorists to exercise extra patience and vigilance around the driver who likely just recently received their driver’s licence, it kind of makes the other motorists conduct themselves in a way that has them flexing just how much better drivers they are, doesn’t it?
I’m talking from a place of personal experience, when I forgot that I was driving someone else’s car which had the big, red L on it, only to be swiftly reminded by motorists behind me at the traffic lights, zooming right past me as if we were all taking off from the starting blocks of a street racing line-up. “There’s no way I’m going to drive behind a learner,” is my best guess as to what they were saying to themselves, or to the passengers they were driving with, if there were any.
Speaking of passengers, that’s perhaps the major consideration point for the essence of so-called defensive driving, which is a driving style that considers the safety of other road users and indeed the passengers in your own vehicle and in others. It’s about being courteous to others on the road, whether it’s other motorists, cyclists, and especially pedestrians.
If none of those consideration points move you, think about the maintenance of your car. When you take your set of wheels into an automotive centre such as Kwik Fit, the trained, skilled and experienced staff probably won’t mention anything about it, but they can tell a lot about the type of driver you are from the manner through which the wear-and-tear of your car parts is manifested.
While there are definitely some unavoidable natural wear-and-tear issues to go with the required maintenance to keep your baby alive and well, the truth of the matter is better drivers have fewer issues such those which require them to take their cars in to contend with.
So being a courteous driver is about more than just respecting the rules of the road for the benefit of others. It’s for your own benefit as well, beyond your safety.