Thursday, 24 July 2008

There was movement in the caryards, for the word had got around...

I believe there is a gradual change in vehicle usage patterns.

Bear with me:

For many years, large (and even small) 4WD vehicles have inherited the degree of inconsiderate bad driving that used to be the perceived sole preserve of Volvo drivers. In fact, recently Australian Road Rider magazine held a competition to find a term to replace "Volvo Driver" as an insult. They even approached the PR department of Volvo in Australia to donate prizes. I don't think they got any, though. I also can't remember the winner, which was a word that singularly failed to stick in my brain, although if I had known about the competition early enough I would have entered "Pajero", which has the double benefit of indicating both the category of main offender of appalling driver, and the fact that in Spanish (at least in South American Spanish), Pajero means onaninst.

But I hadn't, and didn't, and a word I can't remember and didn't understand and didn't care for won.


Just recently I have noticed, during my peak-hour commutes, that it is not so much the 4WD vehicles which are the problem. I had a brilliant example just this morning. It was in the pouring rain and none of us were sure if we would see England again... Sorry, got sidetracked.

It was pouring rain, and in classic style there was at least one near-accident due to near-terminal vagueness, when a small mini-van type thing which nearly merged into the side door of another car. As the driver clearly didn't know about the rear window demister and therefore didn't use at least one of her three mirrors, this didn't surprise me much and I hung back from overtaking until I could get a good run at it.

The car which was the most worry, however, merging so quickly that I had to brake sharply at one point (right in front of a truck) to give my front wheel comfortable clearance off his rear bumper and forcing everyone else to brake hard as well, was a new Camry. In fact, in recent weeks it has consistently been big sedans of other types, frequently the new Ford Falcon, which have been behaving in the I'm-invincible, I'm-more-important-than-you, get-out-of-my-way-you-peons manner which is usually observed these days in suburban high-rise tanks.

I think that rising fuel prices are encouraging people to downgrade from tank-heavy, tank-aerodynamic Pajeros and Landcruisers to big sedans. Which means that it's the people who can afford to do so who are the worry, which says something about the relationship between wealth and personality as well.

Link to Australian Road Rider

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