High number of drivers behave stupidly!

I see bad drivers - bumper sticker

Do a high number of drivers behave stupidly? It appears some driving instructors have a very low opinion of most other drivers. What message is this sending out to learner drivers?

Whilst in Norwich yesterday, I was reminded of a recent Facebook thread, concerning light-controlled pedestrian crossings, where the question was asked what ADIs would do if the lights were not working - stop or not? It seemed that quite a lot of instructors believed it not to be safe to stop because the 'idiot behind' would overtake. Well, I have to say that in my experience, drivers overtaking on approach to a pedestrian crossing, especially those controlled by traffic lights, is a rare occurrence (I've never experienced it!). What difference does the lights being out make? Surely it is still a pedestrian crossing, which should be treated like a zebra, so proceed with caution and stop if a pedestrian wants to cross?

So, whilst I was in Norwich, I was reminded of this because I was a pedestrian at a Puffin crossing, along with a lot of other people, waiting for the lights to turn in our favour, when a driver stopped. The lights were on green for the traffic but he stopped!  So, after a few seconds, we all crossed the road! There was no honking of horns, flashing of headlights, or expletives from drivers, they simply waited patiently behind this driver!  And no-one tried to overtake!


Norfolk drivers are either:

  • incredibly patient!
  • incredibly tolerant!
  • incredibly stupid!

But whatever they may be, like the vast majority of drivers around the country, they respect pedestrian crossings and don't overtake on approach! Our message to learners should be use of mirrors, to check the manner of the driving of the vehicles behind, then take appropriate action if they have any concerns about a following driver (discussion on what might constitute 'appropriate action'). 

I would far rather point out the good driving we see on the roads than give the impression most other drivers are idiots!  When we do see some poor driving, then the message should be that it is a good demonstration of how not to do it!

But what do YOU think? Comments below please.


  1. Sams

    If it wasn't you writing this post Jackie, I wouldn't believe it !! Surely ADIs don't react in this way? Then again, I s'pose there are some – it just doesn't make any sense. I'm a little bit gobsmacked !!!




  2. Jackie Willis

    I received the following information in an email from Dave Harris. It certainly makes the law clear for those who said they wouldn't stop at the crossing!

    "Absolutely regardless of what pedestrians do on pedestrian crossings or anywhere else, they have right of way even if they are being directed not to cross by any rule of the road in place at that location. This means that if any driver in any circumstances hits, kills, injures or negatively affects a pedestrian in a way that is covered by law eg the generic careless driving laws, the driver will always be investigated.

    If anything is found which is proved to be below the normal and accepted standard of competence, knowledge or behaviour of a competent driver, they lay themselves open to prosecution .This standard of competence can easily be understood by drivers asking themselves if they would pass a drivng test if they took it again now. If the answer is no then the next question is why because anything they do now or don't do now when driving could be used  against a driver to support a prosecution if those actions or inactions were part and parcel of the reasons an incident took place.

    In the worst outcome, a jury will decide whether the actions were careless or dangerous. Dangerous means that there will probably be an element of intent and a deliberate, calculated act and the jury will ultimately decide if the behaviour was outragious and clearly well below what they consider to be competent driving. If the mistake was momentary, then the outcome would probably be careless.

    None of the above excuses pedestrians ill-advised actions and there may be mitigation in favour of the driver but mitigation is used in sentencing not during the decision on guilt. In my experience, many drivers have forgotten or never knew these facts and if they did, they might make different choices on many things to do with driving."

  3. Brian Docherty

    This is the legislation covering pedestrian crossings in terms of how they should be designed and look: 


    In so far as other drivers are concerned, we can all 'speculate' on the rights, and wrongs of other driver behaviours and encourage 'new' drivers to anticipate the actions of others, and not to copy those examples…easy said, but it can be very difficult to do that even for the most experienced of drivers.

    When I was taught the principles of advanced driving, many, many years ago, my instructors would often say, "treat everyone else like an idiot and nothing they do will be a surprise"! You may, or may not like this tone or sentiment, but I was never involved in any incidents adopting this principal whilst driving normally and in high speed situations…it worked for me.

    The Police Roadcraft, of the 60's and 70's incorporated rules known as, 'The Ten Commandments', which were 'allegedly', and presumably, incorporated into the text of later publications. One of those 'commandments' was:

    10.  Perfect your roadcraft and acknowledge courtesies extended to you by other road users.  

    Roadcraft includes every phase of driving. It is something more than road sense. Many people possess the latter, but do not make the best use of it owing to lack of control, inability to use the road and position their car to the best advantage. A driver with good roadcraft knows how to avoid awkward and possibly dangerous situations. Good roadcraft not only prevents accidents but makes driving less arduous.

    The Highway Code urges all to be courteous; but a good driver goes further and acknowledges the courtesies extended to him by every class of road user. By doing this, he sets a splendid example and does much to engender the spirit of chivalry so badly needed on our roads. Courtesy is a great factor in road safety. 

    Going back to the topic of 'Pedestrian Crossings', and for that matter any traffic offence, if you drive in accordance with the rules, and then teach others the same principles, the reality should be you and they are not involved in anything that would warrant investigation.  The problem with 'all' legislation is that it is subject to interpretation and we will all read it the way we want, to suit our own needs and expectations. At the same time there will always be a solicitor or barrister looking for loopholes and, because they do invariably exist, the definitive answer cannot be given.

    I have conducted 1000's of interviews with drivers involved in legislation breaches and, whilst there will always be similarities, I could never make assumptions and had to follow each case separately to its conclusion.

    I hope this is good food for thought!

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