Happy motoring but take care behind the wheel

IF anyone cares to ask, I would modestly admit that I am an excellent, natural driver.

Some are and some are not and I fall into the first category.

Even so, I have been motoring with caution this week after learning that an insurance company had dug into its extensive records and discovered that the most dangerous four days on British roads is now, immediately following the August bank holiday.

It started on Tuesday and tomorrow (Friday) is reckoned to be the most dangerous day of the year on our roads.

There is, it seems, a 31 per cent greater chance of us getting into an accident over this short period.

I suppose the advice would be to leave the car at home and take public transport just in case, unless you are a good driver like me. But most others think the same as me so I’m sure people will be haring around as usual confident that nothing will happen to them.

Something which has long been likely to distract motorists is the plethora of road signs, railings and advertising hoards along our highways.

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Now the Coalition government is encouraging councils to cut the “unnecessary” items to make streets tidier and safer.

Its communities secretary Eric Pickles has gone so far as to claim that the number of signs is damaging the character of towns and villages.

Campaigners supporting him have said many signs are unsightly, unnecessary and can leave motorists confused.

The Local Government Association which represents local councils has guardedly said that many signs are needed or required by law.

But Mr Pickles is having none of that. He hit back by saying: “Too many overly-cautious town hall officials are citing safety regulations as the reason for cluttering up our streets with an obstacle course when the truth is very little is dictated by law.

“Common sense tells us uncluttered streets have a fresher, freer authentic feel, which are safer and easier to maintain.”

I must admit that he has a good point. There certainly are many more signs than there used to be, too many for my liking, and councils do seem to have gone mad with iron and wooden railings, designed to pen drivers in or keep them out of wherever.

Away from our roads packed with so-called street furniture – which I always thought was an odd description for metal poles, bollards and rubbish bins – I found myself nodding in agreement as I read about people who help others in the community.

New research has shown that no one really likes “do-gooders”. That was the outcome of a study by psychologists at Washington State University in the US.

They concluded that those who volunteer to take on unwanted tasks or who hand out gifts without being asked are resented for “raising the bar” or treated with suspicion.

It’s all down to making others feel bad, which I’m sure that most do-gooders don’t even think about, but sadly that can often be the way of the world.