Derbyshire drivers - it’s time to confess

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IT’S drivers’ confession time at the Derbyshire Times.

As part of our campaign, Respect on the Roads, we are calling on readers – who may have been discourteous on our highways – to admit wrongdoing and say sorry.

So whether you want to confess in the Derbyshire Times to being guilty of road rage or apologise for overtaking or tailgating, get in touch with us using the addresses at the end of this story.

You will have to provide a name and shortened address – for example, John Smith, from Clowne. However, we will withold details of those who request it if we feel they have a good reason to remain anonymous.

To kick off this feature, Derbyshire Times’ production journalist and former professional driver, Andrew Hibberd, has written this confession...

So there I was, heading south on Derby Road, approaching the traffic light-controlled junction with Storforth Lane, where the road widens to two lanes and a sign says “use both lanes for A61”.

The lights were red and I was suddenly confronted with an horrendous array of accidents waiting to happen.

At the head of the queue in the outside lane, wrongly, was an obviously heavily-laden lorry.

To the left of the lorry was a car and behind the lorry was a black Golf, closely followed by a driving school car displaying L plates but containing only one person, presumably the driving instructor, who was, again wrongly, straddling both lanes.

There was one other car in front of me who, at the last moment, decided the inside lane, where I was positioning myself, was better for turning left than the right hand lane he was in. My awareness avoided the collision as he swept across my nose.

When the lights change the lorry made almost indiscernible progress. The car beside him shot off into the distance. The driving instructor decided the nearside lane was the best and he too undertook the lorry and disappeared.

The car in front of me made slow progress through his left turn leaving just the Golf and me behind the lorry. I had a clear view down the inside of the lorry and was tempted to zip through the gap but, aware that the road narrows, I held my speed, intent on remaining behind the Golf.

Then the lorry changed gear, almost stopping in the process and the Golf had to brake to avoid running into its rear. That meant I was suddenly and inadvertently, but quite legally, alongside the Golf, the middle-aged woman driver of which immediately blasted her horn at me.

My reaction in kind was instinctive rather than malicious. I was amused rather than irritated at the the Golf driver. But I was wrong to react and, if you’re reading this, madam Golf driver, I’m sorry I showed you only the lack of respect you showed me.

Respect on the Roads is aimed at stamping out road rage, inconsiderate driving and a lack of patience on our hazard-ridden, stress-laden highways.

So far, hundreds of road users – including BBC Radio 2 traffic reporter Sally Boazman – have got in touch with us, with each and every person pledging to be more polite and more courteous on our roads – and more forgiving of drivers, cyclists, riders and pedestrians who make mistakes. If you would like to join them and back our campaign, send your name, hometown and, if you would like, why you’re pledging, to respect@derbyshiretimes.co.uk, write to Respect on the Roads, 37 Station Road, Chesterfield, S41 7XD or via our website, Facebook or Twitter.