After reaching nine points on his licence, Vladimir McTavish is now obeying speed limits, ensuring he’s a safe distance behind other cars and driving according to the Highway Code. Other drivers seem to be rather unhappy about this.
I recently became a born-again sensible driver. And have been gobsmacked by the reactions of my fellow motorists.
I have decided that, for the next wee while anyway, my driving and consideration of my fellow road users will be beyond reproach.
I will not break any speed limit, I will not take a chance on an amber light and I will not answer my phone while driving, I will not even stop to drop off or pick up at a pedestrian crossing. I will be the very personification of the Highway Code.
This is not because of some new-found zeal to obey the law, but because I cannot afford to do otherwise. Even the most minor transgression could result in me losing my licence. I am now on nine points, the driving equivalent of a footballer on a yellow card ten minutes into a local derby game.
In motoring terms, I am drinking in the last-chance saloon. Although, of course, I am not drinking in any saloon whatsoever before getting behind the wheel.
I have run up my multiple endorsements through a mixture of bad weather, bad luck and even worse judgement.
I am not complaining, it is totally my fault and I hope to become a better driver as a result. I wish other road users would see it the same way.
As a born-again responsible driver, observing the speed limit in 20mph zones, making sure that I do not encroach into the yellow box at traffic lights and ensuring that I am a safe braking distance from the car in front, I am only now beginning to get accustomed to the wrath of other drivers.
Taxi drivers are constantly honking their horns at me, I am frequently tailgated doing 70mph in the outside lane of the motorway as if my rear bumper were superglued to the front of the vehicle behind which is constantly flashing its headlights at me.
And I am the frequent recipient of two-fingered salutes and mouthed insults questioning my parentage.
Even cyclists and pedestrians have been making hand gestures that suggest I am a fan of solitary sexual activity. Babies in buggies look at me as if I’m a complete idiot.
I feel I ought to have some way of informing other drivers of my status. No one ever gives a V-sign to a learner driver.
We tend also to cut a bit of slack to new drivers whose green P-plates indicate they have just passed their test. If I were to have a pair of plates with a large red ‘9’, I might actually get more respect and street cred, in much the same way that hardened drinkers are much more tolerant of recovering alcoholics than they are of lifelong teetotallers.
It says a lot about me that it has taken the threat of a driving ban to make me observe the law of the road to the letter.
It says even more about other drivers that I am treated as a menace for doing so.