Repeat to myself… I am NOT a Criminal. Honest guv

comments 16
Life

I made a mental New Years resolution (Mental, as in, in my head, not written down. Not the other sort of mental.) to blog more. To blog more about me. Not in a narcissistic way, of course. But this is my personal blog, and of late, I don’t think it’s been all too personal. Don’t worry I won’t be posting a steady stream of my consciousness. Just more about me and my goings on. How does that sound?

Here’s where it starts.

Late last year I got a fabulous letter through my letter box. A not so fabulous speed camera had caught me going a smidge over the speed limit. DAMN was my initial thought. Followed by some mild panic and concern. Where did this all happen? In Wales. On the first day of the holiday. While I was ON MY WAY TO THE DESTINATION! Talk about annoying.

A couple of weeks later I was offered the chance to do a speed awareness course or pay a fine and get 3 points on my licence. Course it was!

I attended a course last weekend and was fully prepared to be talked down to, made to feel tiny and generally like a bad driver. Also to be surrounded by 18-year-old boys whose idea of driving is to sit as low as possible in their seat, base pumping and the inability to switch their fog lights off, even in daylight.

I was pretty much wrong on all account.

Almost. All the people at the course were just your every day kind of people. Everyone from a London bus driver to housewives, office workers – normal people! There might have been a couple of boy-racers, but they were in their mid-twenties and should be on their way of growing out of such antics. I was probably among the younger people there. Most were in their 30s/40s. A couple in their 50s. None of these people even resembled the criminals I thought I was going to be spending 4 hours of my Sunday morning with.

So what about the contents of the course? Well, I didn’t fall asleep. That was a good thing. The course instructor was a very jolly German fella. From the outset I think his goal was just to keep everyone engaged. Apart from a couple of guys who required some coffee and had to stand at the back of the classroom (No jokes), it worked. Not once did I feel like I was a bad driver. I didn’t feel like he was being a condescending prick. I wouldn’t say the overall experience was enjoyable, nor do I think I’ll genuinely change some of my driving habits, but it did feel like a refresher theory course.

Think about it. I passed my driving test about a decade ago. A few things have slipped my mind. Though I was proud to be one of the three people (Out of 22 in the room) who successfully knew the speed limits across all types of UK roads.

While I hated having to wake up on a Sunday morning at 6am to get to the course. I hated having to spend four hours of my sacred weekend time in a classroom with a bunch of strangers being taught at. It hasn’t made me drastically re-think my way of driving.

Having said all that, it’s reminded me of a few things I might have forgotten. Might… It showed that I’m not a bad or dangerous driver. Just unlucky. Not joking. The instructor told us all that we were just unlucky to have gotten caught due to the actual percentage of operating speed cameras throughout the country.

Putting the awful Sunday morning behind me. Though, on my daily commute, I can’t help but think of all the genuinely bad drivers out there who carry on in their bad, bad ways and will never be unlucky enough to get caught. How about this people. Today, on this Friday the 13th, make a wish for one of those horribly bad and dangerous drivers to be pulled over by some flashing blue lights, huh? Or is that a little bit… harsh?

16 Comments

  1. Wow, is this standard practise after you go over the speed limit? Over here you get a ticket (if you don’t go too fast, because if it’s too much you immediately will lose your license), you pay it and that’s it. I’ve been driving for a long time and only got a ticket once, which was ages ago.

    • What they do here is all dependant on a couple of things. Like how quickly you respond to the letter saying you’ve been caught speeding, whether you’ve been caught speeding before, if you already have penalty points on your licence and if you’ve done the course before.

      As I responded quickly and had none of the above, they offered me the course. Though it’s worth adding, I had to pay nearly Β£100 for the course! If I get caught again in the next 3 years it’s points and a fine immediately. No offer for course.

      Obviously, if you’re going a ridiculously high speed over the limit there are harsher penalties.

  2. I agree with your instructor re bad luck. So many bad drivers out there who seem to have the luck of the devil on their side! I read this post and then your above comment and it makes me kinda mad that, whatever option you chose seemed like a lose/lose for you but a win/win for the other because either way you ended up out of pocket. Paying a fine vs paying for the course to avoid points on your license feels bloody rotten πŸ™

    • Luck of the devil is definitely an apt phrase for them! They probably have the devil sitting in their back seat urging them on!

      I think it’s fair enough to have to pay for the course. But it should be the same price as paying for the fine. Only thing is the courses are all run by different companies. So you’ll get some that are Β£70 but the ones in my area were all Β£95. It’d *feel* fairer if it was the same price as the fine.

  3. Flipping lucky speedy people! Damn them.

    It’s similar (but not really) with driving tests, isn’t it? People pass who really shouldn’t just because they’re lucky not to get any complicated obstacles on the route that day. My cousin (who just turned 18 at the start of January) failed her test last week and she’s a really good driver, but was unlucky enough to encounter an ambulance behind her and despite only getting 2 other minor faults, not pulling over until the examiner told her to was classed as serious enough to be a major fault and a fail. I felt so bad for her!

    • I think the instructor dude said that something like only 25% of speed cameras are actually working, recording cameras.

      It is the same with driving tests! That’s so not fair for your cousin! πŸ™ It’s a shame they can’t take into account how the rest of your driving actually was. The fact that she only got 2 other minor faults surely should have counted.

  4. Wow, that’s definitely unlucky! But I’m glad it turned out to be a lot better than you expected. I feel like I’ve been unlucky in terms of driving, too. I’ve been pulled over for speeding, and another time for not coming to a full stop at a STOP sign (had to be the dumbest one). I had to go to court only for the speeding one, though, in order to argue my ticket.

    I try to drive safely all the time, although I don’t believe in driving 5 under the limit like my mom does πŸ™‚ I did get out of getting a ticket over the STOP sign one though – I was so nervous, that I accidentally handed the officer my health insurance card instead of my car insurance. He was like, “OK, just drive more carefully. You can leave.” So if even in panic mode, try that and let me know what happens!

    I get so annoyed at the people who constantly drive like idiots and never get pulled over. I’ll definitely be wishing for some of them to get pulled over today!

    • You know it’s funny. The instructor of the course was encouraging people to drive up to the speed limit and keep the traffic flowing. Which makes perfect sense to me.

      I know it sounds like a bit of a cop out, but I do think it’s the unlucky who are caught. There’s just such a slim chance of getting pulled over or caught!

  5. My manager was caught speeding in Australia and has just had to pay her fine – Β£260! Whoa!

    I cannot stand some people’s driving sometimes. It pains me when I see them randomly swerving across the road with no thought for anyone else. Not that I’m a perfect driver – far from it – but I at least indicate!!

    • I hate it when people don’t indicate! Almost as much as I hate it when people don’t thank me when I let them in….

      Β£260!? Holy hell! I didn’t think people would be able to find you if you were caught speeding in another country. I often wonder if my parents would be caught and fined in their car as they’ve got Portuguese plates!

  6. “Today, on this Friday the 13th, make a wish for one of those horribly bad and dangerous drivers to be pulled over by some flashing blue lights, huh? Or is that a little bit… harsh?”

    Yes. Harsh! Don’t wish speeding tickets on me… !

  7. Well, at least you didn’t have to pay a fine! And it doesn’t so bad aside from wasting 4 hours away from what you would really want to do. Drive safely Jaina πŸ˜€

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