I know just what I want for Christmas – but I’m not sure it’s legal | Adrian Chiles

  • December 13, 2023
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Wouldn’t it be great to have an LED sign in the back window of your car to send messages to other drivers and put an end to waving and gesturing? Well, such a device exists

I know what I want for Christmas – an LED sign for the back window of my car. I’ve only just realised these things are readily available. I assumed otherwise because in all my years of motoring I’ve only ever seen one in operation. It was about six years ago on the A55 heading south towards Wrexham. I was riding my motorbike. It was a beautiful moment. A black Range Rover ahead of me was indicating a wish to move into my lane. I slowed down a little and nodded my helmet to signal my assent. And blow me down if an LED sign in the back window didn’t flash up a cheery THANK YOU. So sweet. But then I felt a bit rotten because I had no way of returning this friendly fire when I overtook him. It felt impolite not to say NOT AT ALL! But it’s difficult to physically communicate that, especially on a motorbike. With a random head movement and a slightly raised thumb, I did the best I could. All in all, it really was a most satisfactory exchange.

You get a lot of thinking time when you’re riding a motorbike, so I came to wondering what he might have flashed up if I hadn’t allowed him to pull in front of me. If he’d been disappointed enough to chase me down and get past me, what might have been his message? I thought of THANKS FOR NOTHING, or perhaps a simple FUCK YOU.

Adrian Chiles is a broadcaster, writer and Guardian columnist

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