Highway Code for Northern Ireland Sections 137 & 138

Taxi drivers: useful but sometimes ignorant

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You know how it is, you are out somewhere and you need to get home. Or perhaps you are at home and you need to get somewhere else quickly. You consider the options:

  1. I walk there.
  2. I get the ‘bus there.
  3. I get a taxi there.

Well, sometimes walking is not quick enough – or the distance is too great. ‘Buses are not running where you need them to go, or they are too infrequent. So you decide that you are going to spend the extra money required to buy the professional services of a driver and order a taxi.

That’s right, I said professional services.

This evening, Andrew and I were round at a friend‘s house for dinner just off the Lisburn Road in Belfast. When it came time to return home we considered our options. Option 1 was out – it is just too far, especially in the rain. Option 2 was out – far too many buses involved and Translink don’t operate connecting services. So we opted for Option 3. Sadly our Taxi firm of choice was ‘all booked up’ when we rang. So we went for an alternative that our host suggested. After all it is based just up the road from where we sat.

The route home

The taxi duly arrived, we boarded it, and the taxi driver set off. Now returning from the Lisburn Road to our flat off the Hawthornden Road should have been an easy journey. Even Google Maps would have us come by a quite simple route.

Simple route from around the Lisburn Road to Hawthornden Road via Albertbridge Rd.

Quite simple and according to Google should only take about 19 mins. Was this the route that our taxi driver took us? Of course not. His route is shown below. It was longer, and some of his driving was quite interesting. More of that in a minute. Let’s look at the route.

The complicated route home....

This route was quite complicated. There were rather a lot of junctions. And we even ended up on the Outer Ring or A55.

The Highway Code

Driving on a dual carriageway is something that we all learn to do eventually and sometimes quite quickly after we pass our tests. However, what was certainly drummed into me was that the lane to drive in is the nearside or left hand lane. Only drive in the right hand lane or overtaking lane when actually overtaking.

Whilst in the taxi earlier, I asked
So far no one has answered my question.

Highway Code for Northern Ireland Sections 137 & 138
Sections 137 and 138 of the Highway Code for Northern Ireland on lane discipline on dual carriageways.

It seems that the Highway Code, even the Highway Code for Northern Ireland seems to be ignored by many taxi drivers, for I had the same problem with the driver who was driving me from home to Belfast International Airport a couple of Fridays ago. The same problem except that he not only two lanes but three – and he insisted in driving in the outside lane – and at more than 10 mph over the National Speed Limit.

Personally, I am just fed up of taxi drivers thinking that because they are ‘driving professionally’ they can do whatever they like without any regard for the rules. The person who collected me from Luton Airport that Friday, suggested to me that the correct action was to have got out of the taxi at Aldergrove and told the driver that he had been driving illegally and so was not going to be paid. I’m not quite sure how that would have ended…

Perhaps some of us need to note the number of the taxi into which we get, and ask for the ID number of the driver as well. Then we can report either to the Police or to the Driving and Vehicle Agency. But that is for another time methinks.

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