To think that Harpenden, hertfordshire has some of the worse drivers... in the world

(65 Posts)
ReallyTired Fri 01-Mar-13 20:43:40

A long time I went for a job interview at a Harpenden School. It was scary! There were mad people in their 4X4s trying to drop their children as close to the school gate as possible. It was a miracle that there was no accident.

I thought this was a one off, but a couple of weeks ago my son did Grade 2 at St George's school Harpenden early in the morning and yet again there was 4X4s fighting to the death for a parking space.

Driving in Italy is calm and stress free experience in comparision.

You went to the wrong places in Italy then. My list... Varese in Italy, the whole and Vietnam, Nairobi.

That would be the whole of Vietnam.

I don't know much about the driving- but have you seen how expensive the houses are around there?! I live in Surrey so not easily shocked by high house prices- but blimey!

SalopianTubes Fri 01-Mar-13 20:54:18


I once stopped at a roundabout as the car from the right was already on the roundabout and I would have had a collision if I'd continued. The tosser in the car behind me was so infuriated by being held up for all of 15 seconds, he stood up in his open top car, just so I'd get a better view of him flicking V's.


Xiaoxiong Fri 01-Mar-13 20:56:53

Harpenden may have some but the rest all live in Slough. We went to Nairobi in December and DH commented that Slough drivers could teach the Kenyans a thing or two about mad driving.

I'm staying away from Slough then.

NewGirlInTown Fri 01-Mar-13 21:00:26

I live v close to Harpenden and can only concur about the mad mummy driving. Everyone seems to have a massive 4 x4 and they all drive them like tanks! The Waitrose car park is another danger spot!

JacqueslePeacock Fri 01-Mar-13 21:02:32

Interesting that you say that. The worst driver I've ever had the misfortune to get in a car with does live in Harpenden.

chocolatetester1 Fri 01-Mar-13 22:06:48

Daaaaaarrrling! The ladies of Harpenden don't park, they simply stop.

NewGirlInTown Fri 01-Mar-13 22:14:57

Chocolate! Yes! Only to hurl out a small child then head off for coffee in the Lily Lounge!

chocolatetester1 Fri 01-Mar-13 22:22:23

New girl, you put it like that and I'm quite jealous! wink Coffee without kids? Ahhhh that's just a pipe dream round here grin
But at least I can park! gringrin

pixwix Fri 01-Mar-13 22:26:01

No - I live in St Albans, and hate driving through Harpenden!

ruledbyheart Fri 01-Mar-13 22:31:20

My cousins wife is always moaning on Facebook about the drivers in Harpenden, I just thought here we go again another moan but now its on mumsnet it must be a serious problem grin

kim147 Fri 01-Mar-13 22:32:56

Forwarded this to a friend in Harpenden grin

She doesn't think much of MN.

Sallyingforth Fri 01-Mar-13 23:02:15

Just try driving in Russia. You'll soon change your mind.

ReallyTired Fri 01-Mar-13 23:41:35

Harpenden has more than its fair share of pushy mummies. When these women are behind the wheel they are unstoppable!

Incase I am outed, most of the Harpenden mums I know in real life are lovely.

kim147 I expect that netmums is more popular with they pushy Harpenden mums who can't drive their 4X4s. They can have a hideous flowerly pink ticker saying that they have exclusively breastfed Theo for 168 days.

NewGirlInTown Sat 02-Mar-13 02:24:49

Lots of very witty posters on this thread! ReallyTired conjures up the army vision very well!

marcopront Sat 02-Mar-13 02:30:52

Do they drive the correct way round roundabouts? Do they drive in between the white lines? They don't in Egypt.
Do they see a gap a few centimetres bigger than their car and drive into it? They do in India.
Do they think their horn is an indicator? They do in a lot of places.

EMS23 Sat 02-Mar-13 02:36:41

It's not just the yummy mums.. My parents live there and as my Dad is getting older he is turning into a shocking driver!
I grew up there and when we were 18, 2 of my best friends wrote each others cars off crashing in to each other in a totally random accident.

Whilst I love Harpo and hate criticising the place for no reason, based on those two 'facts', YANBU!

ThinkAboutItOnBoxingDay Sat 02-Mar-13 02:51:53

Have you ever been to northampton?

Alligatorpie Sat 02-Mar-13 06:19:18

In the world?

I live in North Africa. People regularly drive the wrong way down a four lane motorway at 100 km an hour. Indicators are not used and most people do not bother getting licence's, meaning there is very little respect for other drivers / pedestrians.

Is it that bad?

Glittertwins Sat 02-Mar-13 06:27:04

I also live near Harpenden and hate going there because traffic/parking is dreadful. The only reason I tended to go was for the JoJoMamanBebe shop and I'd do a smash and grab at less busy times!

PanicMode Sat 02-Mar-13 06:37:14

I think Tunbridge Wells may just be on a par.....terrible driving here.

But Russia and Italy and Egypt are definitely more dangerous than anywhere in the UK....

marcopront Sat 02-Mar-13 06:54:45

Another favourite in Egypt: Drive the wrong way at night without your lights on.
And from Nairobi : Drive at night with lights on full beam.

I can't decide which was worse.

They might have the worst parking in Harpenden but lots of places have worse driving.

Longdistance Sat 02-Mar-13 07:12:28

Are they not off skiing then???? Or is it out of season?

My brand new car got damaged in Harpenden by some fuckwit. The note left said the young lad did it, but then I contacted the number, the mum said she did it yeah right anyway, he left details. Had the cheek to ask me to search or a better deal. No fucking chance, it's going back to the showroom I bought it from. But, what a bunch of idiots.

I saw an old fella whack right into a Bentley with his Astra. He wasn't gonna leave a note shock til the woman who saw it started shouting at him.

Yanbu you're spot on Really.

mycatlikestwiglets Sat 02-Mar-13 07:13:13

Can't agree that it's the "mummies" who are the problem here in Harpenden - it's the fooking mahoosive potholes all over our roads. For an affluent area, the roads are surprisingly terrible - worst than in any place I've ever lived.

There do seem to be quite a few people here who don't know how to use mini roundabouts though!

comingintomyown Sat 02-Mar-13 07:36:26

Great charity shops there though

RocknRollNerd Sat 02-Mar-13 08:06:56

No idea about Harpenden specifically but I find driving in Italy far less stressful than driving in eg London. In London if I'm in the wrong lane no bugger will let me change and I get evils if I do manage to swap lanes, in Italy (am talking Rome, Florence etc) no-one is in the right lane in anycase so it's perfectly acceptable provided you have the bollocks to just swing across 4 lanes as chances are those in the other lanes will want to be where you were grin.

CruCru Sat 02-Mar-13 09:01:47

I think part of the problem is that people tend to move there from London because they want "large" families (>2) so they all have massive cars on roads that weren't designed for them.

ReallyTired Sat 02-Mar-13 11:55:16

I think that Harpenden attracts the very ambitious types who are go getters and used to having high powered jobs in London before children. Harpenden is a pretty place to live and has amazing schools. I agree that quaint Harpenden roads were not made for large 4X4s.

Certainly the Harpenden mummies who venture to Hemel for the better sports centre/ gymnastics/ cheaper music classes drive normally and experience less stress parking. Prehaps the magic roundabout in Hemel is enough to repell the mad Harpenden mummies back to Harpenden.

"Do they drive the correct way round roundabouts? "

marcopront, come to Hemel and there is a roundabout that you choose which way to drive round. Its enough to scare the sh!t out of little Theo or Rufus!

Longdistance Sat 02-Mar-13 12:30:03

Oh, I forgot about the magic roundabout in Hemel. Tis fun grin

EMS23 Sat 02-Mar-13 13:34:23

The day I passed my driving test my Dad made me drive his transit van around that roundabout for an hour.. Called it my baptism of fire!!

somewherewest Sat 02-Mar-13 13:42:47

Try Cairo grin.

Seriously, you have to love a place so posh it makes St. Albans look like Tower Hamlets.

youmaycallmeSSP Sat 02-Mar-13 16:26:14

YANBU, I hate driving in Harpenden. The Waitrose there weeds out non-classy shoppers by having the most evil carpark in the world. I nearly rolled back into a naice 4x4 last time I was there trying to get a ticket to make the barrier open blush

Hemel's magic roundabout was designed by someone on speed.

Glittertwins Sun 03-Mar-13 06:51:28

I love the magic roundabout from a spectator's viewpoint. Not so much fun when driving it and I have to constantly second guess who is in the wrong lane. It isn't hard, just treat it as a series of mini roundabouts rather than one single roundabout and it all becomes clearer.

Eastpoint Sun 03-Mar-13 08:06:47


GettingObsessive Sun 03-Mar-13 08:33:36

shock I grew up in Harpenden until I was 18 in the cheap bit at the top of the hill and the driving wasn't that bad. But, it wasn't posh enough for a JoJo Maman Bebe either grin

I learned to drive in St Albans. Until then I had no idea there were rough bits in St Albans [sheltered]

andubelievedthat Sun 03-Mar-13 19:14:29

Hatton cross,London >magic roundabout >rush hour , like no other !>>>Wonderful !!

thegraduand Sun 03-Mar-13 20:14:53

Never been to Harpenden, but having seen the drivers on the M25 near there, I can see your point.

Mind you drivers in Cambridge are a nightmare, they are all so dozy.

feelingdown3938 Sun 03-Mar-13 20:20:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Glad I'm not the only one to not like driving there grin Slough isn't that bad really. I do hate driving through St Albans though, had so many near misses there!

Ah the magic roundabout is easy! You can always spot the people that are new to the area though when you are on it grin

OliviaAllOverTheSpamMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 03-Mar-13 20:26:46

Hello all ye brilliant and less than brilliant hErtfordshire DRIVERS
Get thee over to MN Hertfordshire for this rant, eh?!?
<end hijack>
And YY the magic roundabout is BONKERS

Right you are all coming in my car and I'm showing you how damn easy the magic roundabout is!

Oh yes, come over here!

youmaycallmeSSP Mon 04-Mar-13 10:00:02

Ah yes but I'm in Bedfordshire wink

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Mon 04-Mar-13 10:04:58

Never been to Harpenden, but I live in Milton Keynes and the drivers here are maniacs. I don't know if it's because so many of the roads on the grid system are 70mph limits, but they just zoom everywhere, including on the residential streets where there's supposed to be a 20/30mph limit confused

DH wants me to learn to drive but I am terrified of doing so round here. London was a doddle in comparison.

TomDudgeon Mon 04-Mar-13 10:34:59

I'm from Harpenden originally. Neither I or my parent drive though so am ok
I will say though that those same drivers all extend their crapness to wheeling their extremely overpriced pushchairs around. I have never been rammed into or tripped over as many times as when I am visiting

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Mon 04-Mar-13 10:40:03

Oxford and Cambridge's drivers all went to the same school of motoring according to DS, they're as bad as each other.

OliviaAllOverTheSpamMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Mar-13 11:14:35


Right you are all coming in my car and I'm showing you how damn easy the magic roundabout is!

Oh yes, come over here!

You should see if you can get a passenger to video it and post it on here grin

TomDudgeon Mon 04-Mar-13 11:21:10

The magic roundabout isn't really a roundabout. It's a series of mini roundabouts and if you treat it as such it's a lot less scary

grin @ Olivia

ReallyTired Mon 04-Mar-13 11:51:04

View from MurderOfGoths car ....

Startail Mon 04-Mar-13 12:12:58

My DDad, who went that way for work, once built a model of the magic round about out of ashtrays, fag packets and table mats and tried to explain it to me.

I was very confused, home was a welsh market town with one pelican crossing. Nearest duel carriageway is 60 miles away, nearest MWay is Cardiff.

OliviaAllOverTheSpamMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Mar-13 12:18:48


View from MurderOfGoths car ....

Feel slightly sick now have to say
And that windscreen wants cleaning. grin

MrsSonky Mon 04-Mar-13 12:55:39

^"I think that Harpenden attracts the very ambitious types who are go getters and used to having high powered jobs in London before children.
Certainly the Harpenden mummies who venture to Hemel for the better sports centre/ gymnastics/ cheaper music classes drive normally and experience less stress parking. Prehaps the magic roundabout in Hemel is enough to repell the mad Harpenden mummies back to Harpenden."^ ReallyTired

"Seriously, you have to love a place so posh it makes St. Albans look like Tower Hamlets." Somewherewest

These two comments just about sum the place up. Did make me chuckle. Proud of my HP postcode!

Enjoy these...

MrsSonky Mon 04-Mar-13 12:56:29
Wickedgirl Mon 04-Mar-13 13:58:14

My DH is a driving instructor and he takes his pupils to the magic roundabout. Dealing with normal roundabouts is so easy afterwards

Harpenden is full of new money and yummy mummies. It isn't a friendly place.

St. Albans is far nicer and so are the people.

Not been to Leeds then ?

Indicators are optional. As are red lights.
Leave a gap of more than a few cm and someone will slide in front of you..

Oh and dont worry about being in the wrong lane...Everyone is in the wrong lane.

Twoflowers Mon 04-Mar-13 14:19:11

YANBU! I grew up in Harpenden, my family is from there, and I still work there, hate having to drive in everyday. There are so many cars, such a shame as it was a great place a few years back. All my cousins and I have been priced out by the influx of commuters for London, it's totally changed the feel of the place sad.

Twoflowers Mon 04-Mar-13 14:23:34

Oh, and love the magic roundabout. You can go round clockwise or anti-clock wise to get the the same turn off, what's not to like? smile

TomDudgeon Mon 04-Mar-13 14:43:07

Agree Harpenden used to be a lovely place to live. It doesn't seem nice now and suspect I wouldn't live there even if I could afford it

101handbags Mon 04-Mar-13 15:51:34

I live in Harpenden. I don't drive and walk everywhere. I take my life in my hands every time I cross at the zebra crossing at the bottom of Station Road. It's suuuuch an inconvenience to have to stop one's Porsche/Range Rover etc. to let people cross.

girlwiththedragon Mon 04-Mar-13 18:11:54

In the previous country I lived in if they got sick of waiting in a traffic queue they just drove their enormous Landcruisers along the pavement. And they used to drive along with their kids hanging out of the windows and sun roof (no seat belt laws for children shock). Loads of shocking examples it was unbelievable. Now THAT was bad driving. Driving in the UK is positively sedate in comparison (even Harpenden)

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