You may be aware that between my bicycle and driving, I am quite a regualar road user. As such I have recently noticed a few signs on my travels that make you think, whether for good or for bad.
First thought is how useful are road signs really? During my driving instructor lessons, to test my observance of the road, my instructor would, on occasion, ask what the last road sign we passed was. The number of "dunno" and similar responses suggests that they are largely ignored. So what would happen if we got rid of them all? I'm not alone in thinking this. Much research from such august organisations as the AA (that's Automobile Association not the one my brother ought to know) and RAC has suggested that we are bombarded with them. Apart from that, it can ruin some of the scenery that we all gaze at while we are driving. Then of course, there is the simple fact that we haven't really got a clue what they mean. If they were that simple we wouldn't need the Highway code book of signs and have to be tested on them before being allowed to drive.
However, I want to concentrate on a couple of signs that I rather like.
If you travel around rural Enland, you will, inevitably, see the sign "Please drive carefully through our village".. Damn. there I was planning on driving like a nutter at warp factor 3 and you've ruined my fun. Now I have to be careful. Sneaky little thing though. Doesn't say what to be careful of. Is it just the kids on their way to school walking in the middle of the road or do you have snipers ready to take out the stranger? Then, at the end of the village you are met with the sister sign "Thank you for driving carefully". Aah, how do you know I did? Maybe I did drive like a nutter and left carnage in my wake. Or maybe we were just lucky. You'll never know....
Then there is the No Motor Vehicles sign. You know the one, a motor bike above a car. I still wish that sign meant no motorcycle stunts or Evel Knievel banned.
Have you driven through a ford? I mean, of course water across the road not another car. On the other side, there is often a sign that says 'Test your brakes'. Wise counsel. However, you may want to take a quick glance in your mirrors first. You don't want to force the driver behind to test his.
I know it isn't a proper Highway Code recognised sign, but I would like to know what the purpose of the "Baby on Board" sign that people stick in the back of their car is. I can only think of a couple of reasons. Have you ever been driving behind a car and thought "I know, I'll just ram into the car in front for a laugh" then had your plan scuppered when you saw that they have a baby? No, nor me. But you never know. The other possibility is that the gentleman of the car is desperate to prove that the tackle is all in working order.
Finally, I'm sure you're all thinking "What's going on with Russ learning to be a driving instructor". Well, a couple of weeks ago, I met my new instructor. A fine chap by the name of Dave and we had our first lesson. It's surprising just how much you take for granted, right from putting the seat belt on. This is pretty much how my first mock lesson, how to adjust your seat went. You'll get an idea of the level of maturity:
After getting Dave to adjust the seat forward and backward, we discuss the rake of the seat, or the angle of the back:
"Put your hand to the right of the seat, there is a large knob you turn to change the angle".
We move on to the adjustment of the head restraint (never, ever refer to it as a head rest):
"Press the knob on the side of the headrest and it goes up and down. There's a couple of knobs in the car".
It's hard to take things too seriously. Part two and three are coming up this week. I'll let you know if we grow up in the meantime.