Eddie Cunningham: 'I drove 90kmh on an Irish motorway... the rudeness and hostility I endured was chilling'
I was recently on the receiving end of what I can only describe as motorway bullying.
It is the most horrible sensation and I can only imagine what it must be like for others who have to endure it on a daily basis.
I suffered it for a few hours for motoring purposes but I wouldn’t want to have to go through it again.
Just because I chose - for perfectly legitimate reasons - to drive on the inside lane at 90kmh (no more) for most of the journey from Dublin to Galway, I was exposed to a thoroughly nasty side of human behaviour.
I’d go so far as to say I was treated like a second-class citizen.
The number of times I was beeped, flashed at and given the fingers by drivers closing in on my rear bumper or overtaking was chilling.
Several rude 4x4 and lorry drivers nearly swept me off the road by cutting in sharply in front after overtaking.
I had to brake and swerve to avoid a collision with one so-and-so who seemed to take a perverse pleasure in forcing me into my emergency manoeuvre. I’m not exaggerating: it was either a matter of braking and swerving onto the hard shoulder or have my Renault ZOE electric car badly damaged.
Why for God’s sake? There was loads of room. The road wasn’t that busy. It was a bright morning. Was it just because they had to go to the bother of overtaking? Or is there a more sinister side? Are some drivers latent bullies?
Yes, the top speed permitted on most of the roads I traversed was either 100kmh or 120kmh.
But that doesn’t mean we all have to go that fast. Limits merely denote the upper end of speed under ideal driving conditions. We lose sight of that.
I think 90kmh is a decent, steady speed on the inside lane for many people.
I wasn’t hogging the outside channel like so many do. People could slip by easily without fuss.
But the rudeness and impatience of so many was disconcerting.
I thought of, and feel pity for, all those who, for whatever reason, drive at 90kmh or below.
We can’t just steamroll people into going faster than they are capable of, or wish to do. That’s a recipe for an accident.
There’s no need for the hostility. None. I had to take it as a once-off but how many must dread having to do so on a regular basis?
What are we coming to at all when someone who chooses their own safe speed can be bullied so relentlessly?
I won't forget my few hours of persecution for a long time.