An incitement to ram?

17 06 2008

Baby on BoardI’ve never been much of a morning person- On a good day I might manage a couple of grunts or nods pre-10am. Driving to work this morning, bobbing and weaving between the non-indicating, kamakaze nose pickers, I was taken aback by the number of people sporting “baby on board” signs on their rear windows.

The driver of the baby-wagon in front of me captured my attention as she proceeded to crawl along the motorway, hugging the white line between two lanes as if a tram on a rail, delaying my progress significantly (I’m supposed to be almost at work by the time Newstalk’s Ger Gilroy starts talking sports!). I found myself staring at her “baby on board” sign with rage wondering what the frig was the point of it. Are you supposed to pause before ramming the car and reconsider your actions as..uh oh…there’s a baby on board? Or is it just another way for proud breeders to highlight their virility?…”yes that’s right WE have a baby and it’s in the car with us”. No, apparently the sign’s origins lie in urban legend….tragic car crash…signs put in place to alert rescue workers to the presence of a baby….mmm…still think their bad drivers way of detering agression!

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3 responses

20 10 2008
Marc

What a silly train of thought, really.

For the first time in my life I have given this sign some thought as we just had a child ourselves.

The one very valid reason for putting this sign in the car is that I tend to drive slower and more carefully than before. This is ONLY because the miserable state of British roads can make our baby awake at every turn and every pothole. More hasty drivers have been complaining with obvious signs of vulgar disrespect (also an unfortunate British trait) and I now want to alert others to the very reason I won’t drive as they’d like me to.

Low patience with overly timid, inexperienced and erratic driving is something I fully understand. At the same time I am hoping that cautious driving due to a child on board can be seen as a valid exception.

An awake baby can mean more work and more attention and more stress inside your own car. So we simply prefer she sleeps though the ride.

Think about this kind of argument when you next see the sign.

21 10 2008
Julie

Hi Marc- first off- thanks for your comment. I see your point and it is a valid one. My point was relating to the “overly timid” drivers that you mention. I agree that safe and cautious driving with a baby on board in understandable- however it seems as though many people use the sign as excuse for poor driving and I find it frustrating as considerate people like me can’t honk my horn for fear of waking a sleeping baby! I am considerate I assure you!! By the way this blog has moved to http://www.mustardonthehedge.com. Perhaps you’ll drop by for more debate!!

21 10 2008
Marc

Hi Julie,

I agree with you. I also find that fresh parents tend to install ‘the standard equipment’ before they even reflect on what is truly needed, this ‘Baby on Board’ sign included.

Going through the shops for our essentials, I have observed what an insecure and manipulable consumer group new parents really are. I am still firmly taken aback by this and have to keep my own wife from overdoing it on cheap unnecessary gadgets.

But back to the discussion on traffic behavior… please do not hesitate to ‘honk [your] horn for fear of waking a sleeping baby!’ wherever and whenever a traffic situation calls for it. Each driver carries their own responsibility on the roads and must act according to their own best knowledge and conscience.

And though the horn is not built or prescribed for alerts of frustration between drivers, considerate drivers also deserve some consideration by others sometimes and in such cases I’ve been making use of the horn myself.

All the very best,

M.

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