Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - franco
I've had had my car for a year now after being off the road for a few years, and I mostly use it for local driving within five miles or so of where I live. I tend to be a bit nervous driving on routes I don't know, especially in central London. Anyway, I had to do a journey from Cricklewood to Aldgate East, so planned it well with my London A-Z so I knew every bit of the route.

Everything goes fine on the way there, but coming back the trouble starts with a guy who wants to overtake me when I have just come off a roundabout. I slowed down a little because I was trying to see if I had taken the wrong exit. I can't go into my left lane because there is a coach parked there, but while moving into my right lane this guy decides to overtake me because 25 mph or so is obviously not fast enough for him. We end up inches from each other with both of us hitting the brakes. He doesn't beep, but waits until he's in front of me before he does the DELETED - DD for me to see.

OK, so now I'm annoyed. I get back to some roads I'm familar with near the junction of Pentonville Road and City road, and now can relax a bit. I wait at a red light where there are two lanes, which are left turn only lanes going onto a road called Penton Rise. The lights go green and I pull off, but somehow a cyclist decides he is not going left, but makes his way straight across me, heading for a cycle lane. I only notice him when I hear him clammering against the side of the car and bending my wing mirror. I hit the brakes again and, not being 100% sure since I don't know the route, I kind of don't say much back when he says "come on, man," as if I have done something wrong by turning left in a left turn only lane, which he seems to be ignoring. (Maybe there is a special rule I missed where cyclists do not have to obey road markings for left or right turn only?)

Lastly, I get within 100 yards off my own house and some guy pulls over to reverse park, he has only just slowed down and pulls in. Since there is room and he is not yet in reverse I decide to go round him. He couldn't have checked his mirrors because he decides to pull out a bit more to the right to make a better position to reverse from. Again I hit the brakes and skid a little, then come home feeling terrible.

Do I need an advanced driving course, or is London just a terrible place to drive in, nervous driver or not??

{Franco, I don't know about the advanced driving course you need, more likely you need a bar of soap to wash your mouth out with. As I've previously warned you about your swearing on at least 2 separate other occasions, consider this your last warning - DD}
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Happy Blue!
Try Rome or Tel Aviv or Cairo and London will feel like a stroll in the open country!
Espada III - well if you have a family and need a Lamborghini, what else do you drive?
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Nsar
It takes some guts to come on a motoring forum and suggest you might be less than a perfect driver, so hats off to you.
It just sounds like you've had a bad day at the office so to speak and it's got under your skin. It's easy to say this, but just assume that drivers around you are idiots who aren't concentrating and adjust your position/speed/anticipation accordingly. From what I've read here about IAM courses they sound like they're often run by pompous twerps - just the thing to make you feel worse about yourself.
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - kithmo
First of all let me praise your patience and bravery for driving in London. I can't see that you could have done anything different except you don't mention whether you were indicating on any of the three incidents above. I would have indicated, before pulling out around the coach (the other chap may have though you were going to park behind it), also whilst waiting to turn left (some cyclists don't know the highway code or what road markings mean) and I would have given a very short toot of the horn to let the parallel parker know I was there as I went round him. Different situations require different actions and we have to adapt very quickly. I would suggest maybe being a little more "progressive" when driving, as long you clearly indicate what you are about to do.
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Bromptonaut
Don't know the area and am well aware that London has it's fair share of crap cyclists.

However cycle lane design is not all it should be and lanes that terminate in the nearside of a left turn lane only to recommence at the kerbside across the junction are by no means uncommon. You need to be quite confident to break out of the cycle lane early and mix it two lanes out in other (motorised) traffic.

Car drivers are also quite likely to get crusty with you for not using the cycle lane!
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Citroënian {P}
London is an awful place to drive - agression coupled with absolute intolerance of anyone not driving at 40 in a 30 make for a particularly stressful journey. I hate the place and I've driven in some mad places.

Cyclists and couriers and motorbikes and scooters all seem to have a different version of the highway code in London - always try and think of the daftest thing they might do and anticipate it - because they probably are. That said, they know they're taking the chances so can't really grumble when it doesn't work out for them.

I've a bit of sympathy with the reversing driver- not sure of the rules, but I always wait in this situation; I often reverse my car into a space and it annoys me when people can't wait five seconds for me to park. Everyone is in such a rush and really, no one is getting anywhere much faster.

Put it down to a society that doesn't give two hoots about anyone else, and especially not when you're in a car.

Lee -- There\'s no place like
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Big Bad Dave
No you?re not jinxed and you?re not a bad driver. You?ve had three little incidents in one journey and you are suffering a crisis of confidence in your driving mojo. I have suffered the same thing twice in the last month, once when I turned across the path of an oncoming 4x4 that just came out of the ether and only avoided killing me by going off-road and last week when I picked a fight with an eight foot gorilla who had parked between two petrol pumps and then proceeded to slowly wash his car. I came out of both incidents extremely shaken and lucky to be alive but my driving mojo was at an all-time low.

London can be intimidating, it helps to be in the correct frame of mind i.e. enjoying all the hustle and bustle and agro and for this you need your driving mojo to be fully charged. Being unfamiliar in an area when there?s lots of traffic can be really stressful.

Sometimes the thought of driving around Warsaw turns my stomach, in fact nearly always and I worry that one day I won?t have enough driving mojo to put the key in the ignition, other days I just can?t wait to get stuck in. I think back to my mam when I was a little boy and one day she parked the car on the drive and never drove again for quarter of a century and I wonder if it could happen to me.

Unfortunately, there?s no easy way to replenish driving mojo, it?ll return when it?s ready. Have a drink and don?t think about it, don?t dwell on some idiot being rude to you, it?s only driving, not brain surgery, we all make mistakes. (long answer)
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Citroënian {P}
Great post BBD, great post.
Lee -- There\'s no place like
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Altea Ego
London driving is state of mind.

Everyone (well 95%) who drive in London knows where they are going and how to get there. They all assume that everyone else knows where they are going and how to get there. It breeds confident city driving.

In this "we all know where were are going and it all works out" bruhaha the 5% who aint got the fogiest idea of where they are going *all the time* and driving with that same confidence stick out like sore thumbs. Hence they get abused and bullied because they are seen to be in the way.

With reference to the rest, ALWAYS give way to someone who is reversing or look like they are going to. its a deads on certainty they havent seen you and dont have any idea where various bits of their car are going to stick out.

On the other hand take no notice of me I wrote off my car in a row with a bus less than 6 months ago.

BBD should see the state of my mojo.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - David Horn
How did that turn out in the end TVM?
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Altea Ego
let us say my previously 20 year clean license has little scope for further abuse.
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Round The Bend
I used to commute in from Norfolk to the office at Aldgate East. You have good days and bad days behind the wheel. I think that my experiences sharpened up my roadcraft skills.

Do you need an advanced driving course? Not necessarily but it would do you no harm.
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - franco
Thanks for all the replies. First of all I was already considering that IAM course after seeing it on Top Gear; however, I was more interested in it for motorway driving. I didn't think I'd need it so much for driving in London.

Kith, very good points. I wasn't indicating in any of the incidents. With the bicycle, I don't think I should have needed to as I was in a left turn only lane. If anything the cyclist would needed to have indicated to cut across me, but he seemed to be the one breaking the rules. Someone else made a point about cycle lanes stopping on one side of the road and starting on the other side. That is where he was trying to get to, but he should probably have been doing so when the lights for the traffic were on red.

I could have indicated in the incident where the coach was parked, but I was never actually in the left lane. I turned the corner and since there was nothing immidiately behind me had gone to the right lane as soon as I seen the coach. I believe the issue was that I was going slow (well, 25mph) and the guy overtaking me wanted to go 10mph faster than I was going. However, it's a fair point I could have indicated, but he would still have been annoyed.

As for the car pulling over to reverse, he was still driving forward to position his car as I came up behind him, which is why I decided to overtake. I didn't use my indicator because this is a single lane (although wide enough for him to pull over and me to go round him) with parked cars on one side and a small embankment on the other side. I believe he still wouldn't have seen me if I had my indicator on or not. However I am taking your points on board.

Someone made a good point about most people knowing where they are going and bullying you to go faster. I believe that is what happened with the first incident above.

Also Big Bad Dave, I agree with you. A lot of it is state of mind and it is easy to have a worse experience just because of the way you are thinking about things.

Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - PhilW
Look on the positive side of this franco. You have questioned your own abilities on this instead of immediately assuming that the others were at fault and you have therefore learned from it and will no doubt act differently in similar situations in future. I'm sure that you will look out for "that cyclist" in future, probably indicate more to signal your intentions or wait behind parking cars. So what are the disadvantages? probably had your confidence dented a little? No-one was hurt (except for your feelings?), no damage done to vehicles and you have become a better driver (not that I think you were bad in the first place!). We all make mistakes, (especially in unforgiving situations like driving in London!) and it is in acknowledging them and adjusting to them that we improve in dealing with those situations in the future.
As for the reactions of the others you encountered, my wife just said "well if you live in London you are bound to be grumpy, too many people, too much traffic!"
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - smokie
A lot of the IAM training is essentially about observation, anticipation and giving information when it will be of value to other road users. When I did my assessment (which is your first "lesson" for IAM) I was told off for indicating too much.

I have to say, I thought what a load of tripe. I thought you can never indicate too much. With hindsight, I think in itself, that isn't the point, The point is that you should indicate when it will give useful information to other road users. And the key to this is being aware of who is around you to benefit from your signals.

In most circumstances (as a for instance) the very fact that you were in a left turn only lane should be giving off enough messages to other road users that you are going to be turning left. However if my intentions may be ambiguous I would indicate, also if there were "non-vehicle" road users around me (pedestrians or cyclists).

The IAM doesn't have much to teach on motorways - keep a good distance, read the road ahead, how to use slip roads. However I would have thought that anyone would benefit from it. (I'd agree that some of the membership might not be to everyone's taste, but that really doesn't matter does it?). It doesn't cost a lot and maybe some of it is over the top (who remembers the sequence of the cockpit drill????), but the skills are useful, to say the least.

Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Adam {P}
>.On the other hand take no notice of me I wrote off my car in a row with a bus less than 6 months ago.<<

I'm confused - does this mean that you're Algy?
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Adam {P}
>>Unfortunately, there?s no easy way to replenish driving mojo, it?ll return when it?s ready. Have a drink and don?t think about it, don?t dwell on some idiot being rude to you, it?s only driving, not brain surgery, we all make mistakes. (long answer)<<

I've always found that drinking actually increases my driving mojo.

Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Adam {P}
Stupid damn threaded view. I hate it!
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - franco
Thanks guys. It's good to have a rant and get it off your chest, but I need more practise driving in the city as well. I might go out some evening and do the same route just to prove I can do it without indident.

No probs mod, I'm off to wash my mouth out. I go on so many different forums I always confuse the rules. I just re-read them.
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Lud
I was about to say you needed a lot of practice, franco. It doesn't make perfect but it does get you used to it.

It's true that most metropolitan drivers know where they are going. This means in particular in a lot of places being in the right lane in good time. Most drivers are considerate but a substantial minority in certain places will go down the wrong lane as far as possible and then try to shove in. When I can I resist this, but I'm not willing to crunch metal to make a minor point. An inconsiderate slob is probably a miserable slob too, so I just leave them to their suffering.

Never, ever, catch the eye of another driver who is being annoying or who is annoyed with you (unless you are making an apologetic wave).

Speaking as a dyed-in-the-wool London hooligan driver, I have to say that when I am in mimsing provincial dumps like Bristol my blood pressure tends to rise. Whad do these damn yokels think they're playing at, etc. However I try to keep it to myself.
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Nsar
London drivers...yeah right. How can that be cut and thrust driving if you never get out of 2nd gear?
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Lud

Lol, Nsar. It's very crowded. But the driving is perforce brisk (or 'terrifying' to wimps).

Obviously a lot of us would rather be howling down the Grande Corniche in an early-fifties Ferrari barchetta. Too bad.
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - helicopter
I used to work in London and would drive and ride motorbikes in London every day.I now avoid driving there and take the train - as Nsar says it is just too crowded and with aggravation from lights , cameras , bus lanes and psychopaths in white vans...

Franco - IMO you just lack confidence , that does not mean you are a bad driver, you just need more experience in London driving where it really is a survival of the fittest but most people at least play by the rules.

However if you want to see really bad driving, no holds barred , try Beijing, Cairo or Lagos.
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Phil I
>dyed-in-the-wool London hooligan driver
>what do these yokels think they are doing??

Its called having a life, zero stress - maximum karma. You should try it. One of the reasons I came to Frome to enjoy my retirement.

Happy Motoring Phil I
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Lud
Nice little town Frome, got friends there.

Bit of stress doesn't rob one of a life though, Phil. However I must agree the Smoke doesn't suit everyone, especially if they have reached a certain age without getting properly used to it.

My late father after a certain point stopped driving into London because he couldn't bear the strain of being dissed by everyone including 12-year-old policemen in Black Marias (what they had before they took to white vans, like ducks to water it has to be said).
Am I jinxed or a bad driver? (long post) - Vincent de Marco
Sometimes the thought of driving around Warsaw turns my >>stomach, in fact nearly always and I worry that one day I >>won?t have enough driving mojo to put the key in the ignition.

Oh, fear not my child coz it's sheer pleasure as long as you're equipped with 4 pair of eyes & stuff like that huh.

If you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear, if you've something to hide you shouldn't even be here ;)
Or come down to where I live now - one roundabout, one church, one pub, one post-office, one restaurant. And huge amounts of green forest. And mud. And... er, to keep it motoring-related... a proper 4x4 is a necessity.
- - - - - - -
I am the only Pole over here.

Ask Honest John

Value my car