Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The offside rule

Have the rules of the road changed? Or are they just not teaching people properly anymore?

When I was learning to drive, the golden rule drummed into my head by my instructor was "keep left". Nowhere was this impressed upon me more than when it came to turning right - "always remember the golden rule - keep to the left unless directed otherwise" - meaning that you should always pass a car offside to offside (i.e. go around the back of it, not across the front.

I don't drive a lot of miles these days - but when I do I am amazed how few people seem to apply this golden rule anymore. I narrowly avoided an accident yesterday when I was approaching a right hand turn as someone coming the other way was doing the same - both of us with our indicators flashing away. She suddenly swung the front of her car across in front of me forcing me to brake very sharply.

Being a warm day I had the air-con going and the windows closed - but managed to convey my annoyance none the less. All she could do was gesticulate that she was turning right - which I already knew from her indicator - and seemed completely unaware of the "golden rule". It also meant that she could not see past my car nor I past hers - so I sat and waited till she moved, while she gradually inched into the traffic to try and see past me - almost causing another accident!

The offside rule in football is complex, but in driving it is simple. Unless directed otherwise by signs, lines or a policeman you should always pass offside to offside when turning right (and just in case you're not sure which is the offside - it's the side furthest from the kerb and the side you sit on).


JuliaM said...

"I don't drive a lot of miles these days..."

Me neither, mostly weekends and days off.

Driving standards have slipped appallingly in just the last 10 or so years.

Indicating on roundabouts? No need, folks, I'll just read your damn minds! Can't judge from the lane you're in, that's for sure..

Give way signs at junctions? Clearly optional these days. Just pull out, I've got great brakes!

Getting into the lane you need ahead of time? Why bother, I can force that lady in the big black Jeep out of the way with my Smart ca...oh, maybe not!

Pavlov's Cat said...

apparently they have

Highway code Section 181


When turning right at crossroads where an oncoming vehicle is also turning right, there is a choice of two methods

* turn right side to right side; keep the other vehicle on your right and turn behind it. This is generally the safer method as you have a clear view of any approaching traffic when completing your turn
* left side to left side, turning in front of each other. This can block your view of oncoming vehicles, so take extra care. Cyclists and motorcyclists in particular may be hidden from your view. Road layout, markings or how the other vehicle is positioned can determine which course should be taken

It seems it's up to you, which way you go.

JPT said...

I drive quite a lot and just about every time I go out I see a near miss!

Stan said...

Cheers, Pavlov's Cat - that's very nice of them and I'm sure it doesn't cause the least bit of confusion whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I noticed this change years ago.

Practically nobody does it "by the book" these days.

I fear you may be behind the times, Stan, even if logic and the law are on your side.

Uh-oh. The law is not on your side. The latest (online) Highway Code - section 181 - states that you can do it either way, but if turning left-side to left-side, ie across the front of another vehicle, you should "take extra care". Well duh.

Anonymous said...

Oops. I just said what Pavlov said.

Apologies for inattention.