I have a car and a drivers license. Several of my friends don’t. So sometimes I find myself giving them lifts to places. I have eventually come to realise that people who don’t drive can be really bad navigators.
When walking is your primary mode of transport, you take the quickest route. You don’t have to worry about traffic lights, rush hour traffic or what lane to be in. You can go down a one-way street in the wrong direction, and if there’s a walkway at the end of a dead-end street, you can ignore that “No Exit” sign.
Here are four situations I’ve been in with non-driving bad directions-giving passengers.
The Impossible Right-Hand Turn
“Ok, now turn right up here.”
But it’s not just any right-hand turn. It’s a right-hand turn into a busy, four-laned road, in the middle of rush hour and the only way I have a chance of making that right turn is if I were to wait there for about two hours until the traffic dies down. So instead I make a left hand turn, with the plan being that I turn into the next street on the right, do a u-turn down that, and turn left back on to the road I was originally supposed to turn right down.
“No, I said turn RIGHT!!!”
The One-Way Street
“Turn down this street here.”
So I stick my indicator on and slow down and prepare to turn, but something’s wrong. There’s a no entry sign. That’s right, it’s a one-way street, and I’m about to drive down it the wrong way.
“I can’t go down here. It’s a one-way street.”
“Oh, um, well I guess you’ll have to take the next one. This is how I go when I walk.”
The Quickest Route
“Hey, where are you going? Shouldn’t you be going that way?”
Yes, but that way has five sets of traffic lights, where as this way has only two. That way also goes past the motorway on-ramp, which usually gets queues, and I don’t want to get stuck behind one of those. That way is quicker if you take a short cut through the big park, but as I’m not driving a four-wheel-drive vehicle, and as I think the city council wouldn’t be too happy about me driving all over the grass, I think I’ll stick to this way.
The Lack of Directions
“Go along here.”
Ok, I’m driving down this street, but the street is coming to and end pretty soon. I have three options; left, right or straight. I need to know which way to go so I can get into the correct lane. The passenger is in the middle of telling me a funny story.
“Then we left the party and…”
“Where do I go now?”
“Where do I go now? Left, right or straight?”
“Shall I just stop here in the middle of the street until you make up your mind?”
Too late. I missed the left turn lane. Straight ahead it is.
The Lack of Warning
“Turn left, now!”
Suddenly the passenger sees the street I’m supposed to turn down and tells me. However, if I were to attempt to turn down it, I’d have to suddenly slam on the brakes, and jerk the steering wheel hard to the left. I used to trust people’s timing and once ended up driving up on a concrete island at a service station because I thought “turn in here” meant “you have enough stopping distance to safely turn in here now.”