Real Life Road Safety: A Touch of Arrogance

Posted on January 20th, 2012 by James Luckhurst

Real Life Road Safety: A Touch of ArroganceNo matter how good a driver you believe yourself to be, road safety should be observed by all. In this series of articles, motoring journalist James Luckhurst, will be looking at real life cases of drivers who are inadvertently putting themselves and others in danger on our busy motorways.

FERDY HAMMERSTONE, 52, was stopped by police as he left a roundabout on the way to a client meeting. He was using a hand-held mobile phone and was not wearing a seatbelt. He was driving his own four-year-old, 1.9-litre diesel car.  Ferdy explained that he covers 600 miles in a typical week, as part of his job as an educational consultant. His main role involves conducting seminars for company employees in how to avoid stress at work – particularly road rage.

He has had one parking ticket in the past three years, but has no points on his driving licence. As far as driving skills are concerned, on a scale of 0 to 10, he rates himself a 9. He claims never to make or receive calls with a hand-held mobile phone, although he frequently accepts calls to a hands-free phone that on this occasion he had not plugged in.

Driver training expert Graham Griffiths was worried about Ferdy’s seeming arrogance. “Ferdy appears to believe that we should do as he says, but not as he does. I’m not sure why a professional man would chose to marginalise his safety in so obvious a way, especially as he considers himself to be such a fine driver,” he said. “It might appear that he views traffic law as being there to protect those drivers who lack the ability to decide for themselves which laws are appropriate and which are not – he seems to consider himself above such matters.

“It could be that his attitude has gone wrong. He thinks he’s skilful, and on paper he might be, but his attitude is out of step with reality. The highest driving qualification in the land doesn’t put a safety ring round your car if your attitude is incorrect. It’s also worth remembering the research on mobile phones:  engaging the brain in even a hands-free phone call reduces experienced drivers to the level of novice drivers with less awareness of their environment. With a hand-held phone you have half a brain and only one hand.”

To read part 1 of our ‘Real Life Road Safety’ series, click here.