The car in front was obeying the posted speed limit, yet there was just something about it that set it apart from the others on the morning commute. It moved sometimes in sharp steering movements, the driver obviously distracted, annoyed, nervous or deeply unsure.
Our autumn weather had turned liquid at some stage of the night, the pockmarked road surface now filled to capacity, with some pools amalgamating to form reasonably sized ponds. On each side of the road some pedestrians battled to keep their umbrellas from going into orbit, while others put their heads down and trudged forwards into the torrents, the rain very probably making its way through their every layer of clothing.
So overall, it was a miserable morning for all concerned, particularly for those walking or stood at bus stops. It would be hard to imagine how their day could have been made any worse. Back to the car in front, which was showing no regard for the misery of those to the left, sending slaps of water onto the footpath with apparent complete ignorance of their actions.
And then I saw the elongated pool of water that stretched for all of 20 metres along the footpath edge. Two cars in font of my jittery friend went wide and avoided it altogether, but not our man. Entering the leading edge of the water the car never slowed or deviated off its path. The people at the bus stop were defenceless to the tsunami that befell them, the jet of water rendering the shelter invisible and positively drenching all within.
If seen on a comedy sketch, this would have carried some merit of mirth, but here in the misery of the morning, it was stripped of any hilarity, and undoubtedly fell into the category of assault. Those of us who drive have a basic obligation of consideration in conditions as prevailed that morning. I never found out why the driver behaved as they did that morning, why their erratic driving culminated in an act of total disregard – his attitude of selfishness proved by his progress through a red light.
Sharing the road is what we all do and whilst some behave atrociously, it is up to the rest of us to be courteous where it is warranted and appropriate.
By Tony Toner, BeepBeep.ie Motoring Correspondent.