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Viewpoint from Rev'd Irene Knowles


The Rev’d Irene Knowles

Rural Dean of Great Yarmouth and Team Vicar in the Great Yarmouth Team Ministry

Chaplain to Palliative Care, Police and Fire Services in Great Yarmouth.


 Through Necessity


viewpoints cross logo jpegThrough necessity, I drive around in Great Yarmouth quite a bit during the course of a week and I am aware of how aggressive driving has become.  There seems to be little or no courtesy on the road and speed is continually on the increase, so much so, that I bought an up to date copy of the Highway Code to see if things had changed that I was unaware of.  Can one now drive at 40/50 mph or more in a ‘built up’ area?  Can one park up to, or overhanging a road junction?  Can one park on double yellow lines – just so long as hazard lights are switched on?  Can one drive through traffic lights when they are on ‘red’?    Can one use a hand-held mobile phone? Can one cycle on IRENE KNOWLESpavements and through pedestrian areas?  Well, if the Highway Code is studied, the answer to all these questions is ‘no’.  So I ask the question ‘Why are so many people doing these things?’


Perhaps one of the reasons for this self-centred activity is that when behind the wheel of a vehicle we can feel cocooned in our own private space, we can talk to our friends on the phone, listen to our favourite CD’s or radio programmes and we forget our responsibility towards other road users.  Recently I emerged from the road by St Nicholas Church, pedestrian lights adjacent were on red, stopping (or so I thought) traffic going through, but as there was no-one on the crossing, a car continued through and  just missed me.  I was treated to a great deal of verbal ear bashing and when I pointed out that the lights were against him etc.  I can’t print what was then said


If this lack of respect towards one another continues, surely there will be anarchy on our roads and on our streets and already there are many people who feel trapped in their untitledhomes through fear of going out and about and being part of this mayhem, to say nothing of our children  going to and from school or other activities.  Through my Chaplaincy duties I realise that our hospitals and emergency services are inundated with clearing up after the results of some of this behaviour.  Through Viewpoint I appeal to all of us to ‘slow down’, leave a bit more time for our journeys and thus arrive safely at our destinations and who knows, we may be less stressed as a result

As a Christian I try to heed the words that we should love God with absolutely everything we have and our neighbour as ourselves, but how can we love our neighbour if we have little respect for ourselves and others?  The one flows, I believe into the other and is definitely reflected in our actions.  So, as we slow down, let that other driver pull out safely, allow the pedestrian across the road, maybe we will have begun another journey towards regaining respect and possibly learning a little humility along the way