Fast Spreading Virus Makes Our Roads An Increasingly Dangerous Habitat

ROAD safety champion GEM Motoring Assist (GEM) says it has identified a debilitating virus that is spreading rapidly through the motoring community. It reveals itself in a number of common strains, all of which result in the dangerous practice of poor signalling.

GEM member and driving instructor Audrey Wixon has produced examples of how this fast developing malignancy is taking on a number of different forms. The first she calls Token-signal-pox. She said: “sufferers tend to indicate after they have already started to turn into a new road. As they pull their hand down to steer they stick a finger out to apply the indicator. What is the point of that?”

She has also identified Too-cool-to-signal-itis. She says those infected, who usually own a car with tinted windows, don’t signal at roundabouts because it makes them feel important. “It gives them the power to bring the junction to a complete standstill while everyone stares at them, wondering where they are going,” she said.

She claims the worst of all patients are sufferers of the virulent Over-eager-signalling-fluenza. She explains that those ailing from this virus indicate way too early, leaving other drivers guessing which turning they are really taking.

“They signal every time they deviate even slightly from a straight course and when giving way behind parked cars,” she said. “They wait with their right signal flashing, so no one is sure if they are going to pull out or not.

“When changing lanes on motorways, they indicate right just as another motorist is in the process of passing them - giving the overtaking driver near heart failure.”

David Williams Chief Executive of GEM Motoring Assist, that was formerly known as the Guild of Experienced Motorists, says that indicator abuse is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to poor signalling that includes inappropriate and over use of the horn and hazard warning lights which are meant to say “I have broken down and am an obstruction.”

Instead he claims people use them to park on yellow lines or to say ‘thank you’ to the car behind.

“The virus is spreading and it’s getting dangerous,” he said. “Drivers need to consider their signalling habits and re check their Highway Code.”

GEM works hard to make life safer for all road users. It produces free guidance booklets, campaigns on safety issues, grant aids research through its charitable arm and recognises those that work for a better driving environment. It also provides a wide range of supporting services for motorists.

16 April 2008 Staff

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