The highways and byways of the village which have long been models of driving courtesy and manners were left reeling this morning when the village’s first road rage incident was recorded at the bottom end of the high street just past the roundabout at he junction with Scrutton’s Lane.
The incident occurred in the morning at approximately eleven o’clock, when many villagers are making their way out for a coffee in either the church, the village hall or one of several coffee shops in the village.
The so-called ‘coffee run surge’ puts many vehicles onto the roads of the village as residents drive to meet friends and ‘have a coffee.’
The road rage incident took place when retired couple Ian and Irene Coombes were driving along the lower part of the high street in their six month old Toyota Yaris.
Ian was driving and he takes up the story: “Me and the wife were off to meet friends for a coffee at around 11:15 this morning and were driving very carefully along the lower part of the High Street, the bit without the shops before it really becomes the High Street, when I stopped to let out a red Vauxhall Corsa from Scrutton’s Lane. I could see that the driver had been waiting there for between 30 to 40 seconds and I thought this was long enough. I let the car out with an ‘inviting’ open handed hand gesture and a flash of my lights – the controls of which are on the left hand control rod, lever or arm if you will. I pulled the lever back sharply a couple of times to, as the manual puts it “flash the high beam headlights” I pulled the lever all the way back to “position 2” as per the manual to deliver the flash.
“The headlight indicator on the dash lit up so I knew the headlight flash manoeuvre had been completed successfully. I knew that the light flash combined with the hand gesture left the waiting Corsa with no doubt that they could pull out of Scrutton’s Lane into the High Street, albeit the lower part of that thoroughfare lest that name gives you the wrong impression. I would just say that with the Yaris that the high beam headlights turn off when you release the lever. Which meant that I was secure in he knowledge that the driver of the Corsa would not be dazzled or in anyway have their vision impaired even temporarily by my action. I must stress that the headlight flash was merely meant as a courtesy and was in no way an attempt to temporarily blind the driver of the Corsa, which would have safety implications. I know when they killed Diana something like this probably happened when a man on a scooter blinded her chauffeur. But it was not my intention to cause blindness leading to a crash in this instance.
“I thought that with my twin actions – of the hand gesture backed up with the light flash – I had showed myself to be a considerate road user, clear signaller and conscientious villager.
“I was therefore somewhat stunned to see what unfolded next, before my very eyes.
“I saw that the Corsa pulled out into the lower part of the High Street and made no attempt to acknowledge my road manners by giving a cheery wave or even lesser hand movement, such as the spreading or raising of the fingers in some way. I was stunned. I would not expect a fellow road user to put their safety in jeopardy by taking their hands off their steering wheel altogether but I don’t think that a hand movement of acknowledgement or gratitude no matter how small is too much to ask.
“I can only put the Corsa driver’s actions down to road rage about which I read so much in my daily paper and parts of the motoring press.
“My feeling at being snubbed by the Corsa driver is made worse because I used to have a Corsa myself and I know how easy it is access the headlight control lever – located on the right hand side of the steering wheel – and pull it a couple of times to flash the headlights. That move can be done very simply with no risk to safety and requiring the fingers of one hand (the right one in this instance) to move only between 5-7 centimetres.
As someone who has been driving safely and courteously around the village for over sixty years I feel let down.
“Me and Irene were so upset we turned straight round, using the roundabout to effect this manoeuvre safely, foregoing our usual morning coffee and letting down some friends. Instead we had to make do with a cup of instant coffee at home. The only saving grace was that the coffee we have at home is exactly the same as the stuff they serve in the village hall. And we have nicer cups. So it wasn’t too bad after all.
Here at WLOV we tried to track down the perpetrator of this act of road rage but have not managed to find the driver of the “Car of Hate” as locals are calling it. Some locals have even suggested that ‘kids’ might have been driving it and were ‘adjusting the radio or changing a pre-recorded cassette’ at the time.
Did you see the incident at Scrutton’s Lane and the lower part of the High Street this morning? Have you seen a red Corsa in the village at any time? Do you know who may have been driving “the death machine of hate” As some villagers are calling it? Is there simply too much traffic on the roads of the village these days? Is the daily motorised stampede for morning coffee simply too much for our roads to bear? Should ‘the coffee surge’ be managed better so that only cars of a certain colour are allowed out between the hour of 10.30am and 11.30am?
If you have an opinion no matter how bizarre drop WLOV a note and we’ll investigate.
We cannot surrender our roads to people who do not wave ‘thanks’ when they are let out of side roads. It’s as simple as that.