This is a philosophy I was unaware of until the outraged Twitteratti got hold of the issue following a tweet by Emma Way who had posted the following on the 19 May 2013:
“Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike earlier – I have right of way he doesn’t even pay road tax! #bloodycyclists”.
Perhaps more disturbing than the obvious concerns about irresponsible driving, is the perceived moral high ground associated with paying “road tax”, which hasn’t existed since 1937 and there has been no correlation between vehicle tax and expenditure on roads since then. How many motorists are bowling around with a similar sense of righteous indignation imbued by paying a tax they don’t pay and doesn’t exist?
I consider myself a careful driver, and more importantly a polite and considerate one. I’m a believer in the philosophy of road karma, which goes like this: I let someone pull out, this puts them in a good mood and makes it more likely they will be generous and considerate to other road users. My goodwill is passed on through the driving community making the roads a safer, nicer place to be. Maybe this is naive, but on many occasions, when I’ve left room for an exasperated soul to join the main flow of traffic, I’ve seen them pass on this favour to another driver at the next junction – instant road karma.
How many times have you seen driving that has made your blood run cold? Where centimetres have been the difference between getting to where you’re going and a catastrophic pile up, usually as a result of an impatient “person” in a high powered saloon weaving in and out of traffic in an attempt to gain a couple of extra metres. How many times have you wanted to say to another driver: “get out of my arse”, “would it kill you to use your indicators”, “why are you trying to kill both of us?”, “please stop driving like a twat!”
Can the police be expected to pursue matters of road etiquette? Of course not, I wouldn’t expect them to as most people drive like they have Miss Daisy in the back of the car when they see a copper. It’s the everyday road user that bares witness to the potential carnage caused by a basic lack of manners and maybe they should be the ones to record it.
It’s no good fumbling for a pen or trying to remember the number plate of the car that’s just forced you to swerve into the outside lane of the M1, because they couldn’t be bothered to check their mirrors or indicate. We all know that without evidence there is no case. So why not give all car drivers the tools to gather court worthy evidence?
With the advent of instant upload tools we can easily share moments of our day with anyone and everyone, is it beyond the realms of possibility to take this technology and build it into a car, as standard. Why not mount a couple of HD cameras in a car, one facing forward and the other facing backwards and constantly record journeys on a hard drive? Enable the driver to highlight moments of dangerous driving from the drivers console and then synch these segments of footage to a smart phone for sharing with the police at the end of the journey. I like to think that just the threat of having your obnoxious driving caught on film, by anyone, could act as an incentive to be a bit nicer to other road users.