8.30am on a sunny September morning in Inishowen. I am about to take my turn and cross Westbrook bridge when another driver comes up from behind and slices in front of me causing a car that had edged on to the bridge to back off. I thought the car that had whizzed past me was heading left but instead it joined the rest of the traffic waiting to head right blocking the neck of the bridge so the car that had tried to get over the bridge couldn’t go anywhere and traffic built up behind it.
I was quite surprised at the young female driver hogging the road, dismissive of all other drivers but as I continued on towards Letterkenny another car tailgated me for a time. As I slowed down and put on my indicator to turn off at St. Johnston the car pulled out to pass me on the left almost causing a collision. The driver slowed down enough to let me take the turn but sped up and passed me on the right at the junction while mouthing obscenities and making rude gestures. Before I got my car straightened up the vehicle was forced to cut in front of me to prevent another collision with an oncoming vehicle.
I was quite shaken but the blonde haired young lady with a face on her like a crumpled cactus put the foot down and left me in a blur of black smoke. As I rounded the corners towards Lifford I never saw her car again. I found myself hoping that no one would meet her.
Twenty minutes later I pulled into a filling station and took my place in a queue to wait for a free pump. When it was my turn, a car came from behind and claimed the pump. The ‘gentleman’ in a grey suit continued to talk on his phone while an assistant filled his tank. In the meantime the pump in front of his car became available. As I was waiting for petrol I caught sight of the man in the mirror demonstrating to me that he couldn’t get out. At this point I knew I hadn’t turned invisible as it was quite clear he could see me but what he could not see was the fact that I still hadn’t got petrol and I couldn’t leave my car to remind him that he had jumped the queue in the first place because I had my autistic son with me who needs supervision at all times for his own safety.
Further to this, I personally have come on four road accidents in the past week in Donegal and we all know the roads have claimed many young lives in the last number of years.
I don’t claim to be the best driver in the world. I got a speeding ticket at a hospital entrance once a number of years ago. My three year old had swallowed bleach and was in a very distressed state. So was I. I had been driving at the speed of my head but I still got points on my licence. We all make mistakes on the road but it is possible to learn from them and to practice good road etiquette. So, for the sake of ourselves and others let us all slow down, leave plenty of time for our journeys, become aware of any bad driving habits that you may have developed, play something relaxing on the radio/CD and be mindful of other drivers. That way we can all enjoy the journey before it is too late.