French road: Diagnosis 2 – part 1


It is clear that there is considerable room for change regarding car driving in France. From practically the bottom of the class we could join the leaders. Some will say that this is pure Utopia! The problem is too deep-seated and has gone on for too long. Could it be that these people have a friend who works as a body-shop worker or mechanic, or has a wider interest in seeing that things do not change? Apparently a certain French Transport Minister asked his British opposite number: «How do you manage to reduce the number of deaths on the road?» I also remember a TV program in which a Transport Minister was accompanied by a well-informed professional who simply said, «the problem is sufficiently serious for us to start entirely from scratch»? He was then gagged and the minister hastened to take center stage with his «I this, I that» instead of at least «we shall do this, we shall do that».

The upshot was that nothing changed in regards to the problems of the road system largely because the various lobbies and economic pressure groups are much stronger than the various Ministers (who generally try to remain on good terms with them, as is only logical in that they are of similar social standing and that the comprehension among them tends to operate in the same direction).

Car accident make money.

There was nevertheless one participant who pointed out that what was happening on French roads was intolerable. Too often these people from the educated elite, who often knew each other at college, are full of theories and totally without experience, preferring to remain in their world where the realities are not those of people in general and who remain persuaded that they know everything about everything. They forget that everyone has knowledge of his particular field that is always worth listening to, if he is given the chance of expressing himself. These elites remain among their own social equals, carefully avoiding descending a few rungs of the ladder. This I understand, but the result is that the people expect concrete action which never appears, whether it be in the field of road safety or other safety problems. Many people do not appreciate what goes on when driving on the roads, while others are simply unaware, feeling that it is not their business. This does not mean that they have nothing to say in other fields. Many of them believe they are good drivers having never had an accident. Even if they have had an accident they may be in complete denial, personal and moral, of having the slightest responsibility for the accident either in legal terms or in moral terms — which is not exactly the same thing and indeed the reverse in certain complex cases.

There is nothing new in the fact that justice is sometimes blind, especially regarding our roads, and has every intention of remaining so. Meanwhile, any driver involved in a car accident, whether it be trivial or fatal, whether he be responsible or not, has in a sense a share of responsibility, however small. Pure chance will always be present, but it is only a tiny part of our voyage on this planet, for the simple reason that «the strength of thought goes beyond the imaginable» and, when linked to genuine information that takes a hard look at the cancer of our roads and at safety in general, will then resume its rightful and inevitable place.

For the moment, the substantial number of road accidents is not due to chance but is inescapably normal and logical — the exact opposite — and the day the guillotine blade falls will be irrevocable. Everything is a matter of putting real and reliable knowledge and information in the hands of the public at large, without taboos and detached from all forms of meanness, and completely remote from the backward principles of «Old France», out of date and in blinders like members of the provincial bourgeoisie who want to impose subjectivity in order better to dominate their attendants.

Failing that and because of that, the various violence phenomena slowly but surely and perniciously take root in the least well off social strata — always the first victims — before quietly moving up the social ranks, in a natural corollary movement. Some who regard themselves as the center of the world — precisely because they are not — think themselves the lords and masters of the road and categorically refuse to see the beam in their own eyes rather than the mote in their neighbor’s. They stupidly blame the other road users — and particularly the professionals — for all the accidents and everything that is wrong with road transport. What many of them seem to forget is that by stooping to a naive repetition of the heresy the media would have us believe — i.e. by pointing the finger at the truckers as being practically the only people responsible for road accidents — they perpetuate the depreciation of the economic and human value of professions that are unfairly and badly paid. Moreover they perpetuate a heresy and increase the mutual incomprehension between car drivers and truckers and intensify the insecurity and hyper-aggressiveness between the two groups. That road-rail has to be introduced is undeniable but by creating in the meantime such animosity towards anything to do with collective transport of goods and people is to reveal an extreme form of viciousness and rottenness. Fortunately, the overriding law of the wheel, which is above human law and many religious laws, restores matters when it likes and no one on the planet can change that. The world of the road being the world of the wheel, it is normal that it should be the place where its redeeming sword falls on those who take themselves for God or try to challenge him.

In France, the professional drivers are the scapegoats in everything to do with the roads. They are often judged to be responsible for the mistakes of others without being able to defend themselves. They are accused of everything — naturally without the slightest proof — and condemned in order to make them bear all responsibility. The media, ever ready to express a superficial opinion on anything without ever really going into the causes (with rare exceptions), project their own guilt and that of the ignorant car driver onto the professionals in order to satisfy their own conscience and that of the mass of irresponsible drivers whom they largely represent. All the protagonists in this process snuggle down in their filth, refusing to see that they will consume part of it themselves in the error of their ways. It is easy for them to profit from this betrayal of the professional drivers, yet everyone knows that in most cases the driver of the truck or goods vehicle is only doing his job and in 99% of cases is unable to defend himself against the vicious low blows from the media.

In the present rules of the game, their only means of defense against this tyranny, but one which at the same time compounds the existing system, is to use equally low blows. There is no shortage of easy ways for a professional to defend himself against those subject to the dictatorship of the media. Experienced professional drivers know that it is possible to do what one likes, to whom one likes, when one likes, and where one likes using complete mastery of one’s vehicle and of the driving laws and regulations. All that is needed is a certain amount of observation and a minimum of psychology (never forgetting that the «spy in the cab» is present, except for urban transport) and that it is necessary to be highly astute if one is to avoid ambiguity or even take the opportunity of attacking the other party when the opportunity presents itself. In many cases of serious or less serious accidents, this is the element which determines the large share of responsibility borne by the car driver, added to the various external material elements that demonstrate his failure to respect the Highway Code. But, for this, the trucker must be able to show that his tachygraph is totally in order, that the internal and external disks are above reproach and perfectly in accordance with the law and that his vehicle is in conformity with the standards laid down. I myself have applied these techniques and know that the larger and longer the vehicle, the easier it is to adopt this approach — not as the aggressor, obviously, but simply defending myself as meanly and viciously as the system itself, in the name of the «every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost» dictum so dear to the media and the middle classes and upstarts, the group in which you often find the gabbers who take themselves for the Messiah. If all professional drivers obeyed the Highway Code to the letter, it would be child’s play to use this type of technique. Even without totally respecting it, the method is applicable, something they only do when they are particularly worked up, which is relatively rare, as they know very well. That is the proof that in general they are good guys and play the game, since they know better than anyone that «since the shit splashes, as long as they can keep it under control they leave it for those who like the smell to wallow in it as much as they like».

Back to subjectivity and good luck to us all!

There are black sheep everywhere and in all professions. It is a fact that certain truckers behave very badly and this increases the merits of those who behave correctly and who are extremely numerous, especially in view of the fact that in France they are asked to observe a Highway Code that is ignored by practically all car drivers. Disorder generates disorder and the lack of uniformity in driving methods — sometimes due to the technical capacity of the vehicles — as well as the systematic failure to observe the Highway Code and even ordinary reason, generates a phenomenon of unconscious fear. Conversely, it stifles a large part of the intellectual capacity that all drivers need if they are to move around with a maximum of security for themselves and for others. This unconscious fear leads to a failure on the part of most car drivers to remain masters of their vehicles and of the various situations of insecurity which they themselves are not aware of but which fills other people’s purses.

The ordinary driver’s brain is clouded by his fear and the domination of his own awareness by his equipment.

In this unconscious fear in which a certain economic system allows him to remain by giving him the impression of freedom, by not applying the laws of life in society, the present French system and in particular its philosophy regarding the roads give him little chance of applying the speed limits. And yet these limits are in fact extraordinarily well suited and worked out for the various situations on the roads for the average driver, in other words, for anyone who has not spent thousands of hours on the road accompanied by various advanced driving instructors. While this advanced instruction, especially when combined with a particular gift for driving, leads to an extremely high level of perfection, even those who follow such courses must not think himself invincible and superior — all extremes are negative. There lies behind this the high degree of disrespect shown by the French citizen for authority, but this should perhaps be seen as a kind of safety valve to prevent the pressure cooker from exploding. We have the proof in this story: the strong remain the strong and the weak remain weak, but how long will this last? The wheel turns!

The very high level of active and passive safety that most car makers offer their customers in recent vehicles mean that even when involved in an unprovoked accident, passengers in a car driven by someone with normal reflexes and driving behavior appropriate to the situation, if held by their safety belts, will not end up in a hospital, in a wheelchair, or perhaps in a cemetery for the rest of their days. But what suffering in all these cases for those who survive, unless the comments that I set out here are not simply applied. The various lobbies and economic systems are nothing if there are no future purchasers of a product or users of a system.

Life is a theatre and the name of the play is paradox!

The dominated person allows himself to be so, whereas in fact he is the real dominator. By this I mean that it is the people that truly dominate but remain weak – one only has to imagine what would happen if every motorist were to say no to the play that he is being asked to act, whether it be on the roads or elsewhere. However, let us look particularly at the roads, where he believes, or is made to believe, that he is a world champion. Whereas, unfortunately for us all, if he were to pass a set of practical tests to avoid various types of accident, marked on a rising scale of 1 to 10, there is little likelihood that he would get even halfway through. Not surprisingly, those who would fail include those who advocate breaking the Highway Code and the law in the way they live in society as well as those who refuse to fasten safety belts. This attitude has its own logic, given their complete lack of knowledge of the various phenomena of the road. But they will be executioner and/or victim one day or another.