You're never too old to get hit by a car - so stop, look and listen to my advice about crossing the road

Plus, the German education minister who plagiarised her thesis 33 years ago

Related Topics

Say goodbye to Tufty the Squirrel. Road safety adverts for children – which have been on TV one way or another since the 1960s – are being axed. Budgets at the Department of Transport have been reprioritised, a usage which has surely caused Orwell to spin in his grave. We’re all in this together, you’ll recall. Particularly those of us whose heads are near bumper height. With the next generation having to take their chances, I would like to provide this handy guide to road crossing at any age:

1 Look both ways before you cross. Then look again. Is that erratic driver swerving because he or she is pothole-dodging, on the phone, or drunk? Err on the safe side: don’t cross.

2 Follow step 1 even when it’s a one-way street. That high-pitched whining sound is someone reversing at speed in the opposite direction to the way the arrows are pointing. Leap out of the way. Try not to learn or recall any of the names the driver just called you.

3 Be aware of the “They Don’t Mean Me” philosophy. Many drivers think that rules, like taxes, are for the little people. Why stop at a zebra crossing, or even a red light, when it’s so inconvenient? They don’t mean me, thinks the driver who swoops through, one hand on the steering wheel, the other holding mobile phone to ear. This driver is a sociopath. Stay on the pavement.

4 Listen before you step into the road. If you hear a car, don’t cross. If you don’t hear a car, check you’re not about to be mown down by a Prius. I once borrowed one of these hybrids, and had to put my head on the steering column to tell if the engine was running. Shhh.

5 Anyone driving an SUV or similar anywhere other than on rough terrain is an idiot. Chances are they’ll drive like one. This is doubly true if the driver is the only person in the car.

6 Any minor inconvenience to a driver means they are owed one by the world. This includes you. If a lane is closed, for example, this justifies swerving into another lane without indicating, and speeding for the next five miles. Observing other road-users is now optional. Don’t cross.

You must be Schavan a laugh

The Germans are brilliant at creating compound nouns, like Blitzkreig (lightning-war) so it seems right to applaud any chance for them to create another. And the plight of former education minister Annette Schavan is just such an opportunity.

Ms Schavan has had to resign from her post, after being stripped of her doctorate last week by Heinrich Heine University, which has alleged that she plagiarised her thesis, 33 years ago.

For the education minister – who oversees universities amongst other duties – to resign in such circumstances is so horribly apt that Schadenfreude (harm-joy) doesn’t really cover it. Surely no one would take joy in her downfall, unless they were her political enemies. But a word needs to be coined to describe the ugly satisfaction one gets when something simultaneously so neat and nasty occurs. Schavan-freude?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page


Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments