Posts Tagged driving
The weekend just gone we made a last minute decision to drive to Oxfordshire and help out with some family shizzle that needed attending to. This meant driving on several of the South’s motorways. It was a decision that nearly wiped us out as a family.
Going round on the Saturday wasn’t too bad as there were so many traffic jams any prang would have been at 10mph anyway. Some brainiak had decided to close the M4 in to London for the whole weekend. This meant the traffic round the M3 junction all the way to the M40 was very slow moving (bear with me, this is relevant later). But we got up there unscathed, saw the family, had a nice meal and saw the family again on the Sunday morning then we drove home.
The M25 was nearly as busy but not quite and this means variable speed limits. Essentially, again until past the, M3 we were doing anything between 0 and 40 and in general needing to stay in the same lane. But once we got past the trouble the motorway opened up, the traffic eased and restrictions went. Not in the mind of one elderly driver though who stayed at a resolute 55mph IN THE THIRD LANE OF FOUR. Essentially you could overtake in one lane legally or two illegally. I find this sort of driving exasperating but it was nowhere near as dangerous as what happened next. As we reached our turn off (a 2 lane one) a young girl suddenly realised that she was in the wrong lane for it and, rather than check her blind spot and find a suitable gap to turn in to she drove straight at us. While admiring the cigarette she was smoking. Yes, clearly looking “cool” in front of her mate and taking a nice big lungful of poison was far more important than CHECKING TO SEE IF SHE WAS ABOUT TO DRIVE STRAIGHT FUCKING IN TO A CAR WITH A YOUNG FAMILY IN IT. We escaped only because the lorry inside of us saw what was happening and braked allowing us to swerve and then settle in front of him. Cue some fairly industrial language than I hope neither child repeats and then some fairly rapid breathing.
Was that the end though? No. For Mr Cunt was taking his Porshe for a spin. Half the the A23 is being dug up and the 40 mph limit imposed starts about a mile before it. Did this matter to Mr Cunt? No. For He Had A Porshe And He Was Going To Use It. Down the outside lane he flew at about 100 before he too realised he needed to turn off. This he accomplished by cutting across the inside lanes and a fast speed and diagonal trajectory so that, had the rest of us NOT been doing 40 he would soon have been renamed Mr Dead Cunt. Presumably he used the extra 5 minutes this gave him at his destination to take out his tiny needle dick and knock one out in front of the mirror (utilising 4 minutes and 30 seconds of this time to clean up).
The odd thing is I wasn’t driving. I was the very willing passenger. I learned to drive late in life and my Mrs has far more motorway experience and so, on drives like that she takes the wheel. Thank Christ she does as well for if I’d have been driving either of the 2 incidents would have done for us.
I know what you’re thinking. The irony of a self-admitted shit driver ranting about other shit drivers. But it’s not just that. When we did the much longer drive in France recently we didn’t get any near misses despite being on the wrong side for the wheel so to speak. In France you drive on the inside lane only and you use the outside to overtake. You do NOT sit in it. Once you have overtaken you pull back in. The motorways are less crowded too. Partly because of the less dense population of course but partly because of tolls. Where one isn’t charged (like many of the terrifying Peripheriques) the same issues as on the M25 come up but, long stretches of French toll road are a pleasure. I know we have the M6 toll here but is it time to start introducing it here more widely? It’s a bit Un-British isn’t it but consider this.
If I had been a plane passenger landing at Heathrow this week from a non-EU country then here’s what my first experience of the UK would have been. Coming in to land I note that we get below the clouds just before the runway. Because it’s pissing with rain. We pass over what looks like a huge car park but is actually London’s ring road. After the 2 hour wait at immigration during which people are arrested for slow hand-clapping I finally jump in a car to be told that the main motorway in to London from Heathrow is closed all weekend. We will have to go in the long way. Using that big car park thingy you flew in over a few hours ago. We emerge in to the jam and an hour or so later we are wiped out in a multi car pile up caused by Mr Cunt and a girl who’s too busy smoking.
Welcome to Britain. Enjoy the Olympics.
We live on a busy road. When we moved to owning from renting some things were going to have to give, property desirableness wise, if we wanted a house with a garden and parking space in the City of Brighton and Hove. The road is one of our compromises.
It is also the link to several local schools. Boy’s school is off a right turn at the bottom, there is a Catholic Primary half way down and an Infants and Junior at the top. There are also several pre-schools in the area. This means that, at school run time, there is a procession of buggies and small children up and down the busy road.
Therefore, last week the road and the one following on from it were made 20mph maximum speed limit zones. A mini-roundabout was also made safer (basically smaller as people just zipped straight over it). We were very much in favour of the change as we believed it makes our little ones safer on the school run and lots of other parent’s little ones too. The first week, however has been far from successful.
Bluntly, despite signs both on poles and painted on the road no-one is doing 20mph. Cars, buses and lorries fly by at exactly the same rate because the limit is not being enforced. No police patrols, no speed cameras. One person does do 20mph however. My wife. Because we knew about the change and supported it she drives at 20 and here’s what’s happened to her this week. She’s been beeped, tailgated, v-signed and overtaken for doing the speed limit.
So instead of a nice safe school run we have the same old problem only with road rage, tailgating and dangerous overtaking occurring. In other words the road is now far more dangerous than it was.
Things need to happen here. What I’d like, as a human being, is for people to start noticing the speed limits and stop driving like dangerous, aggressive fuckwits around children. Really, if it were you what’s worse, 5 minutes of annoyance or a kid’s death? But I realise that human beings being what they are this is a sadly impractical. So speed cameras need to go up asap. Ideally speed bumps too. And more police patrols. If not the whole idea, one I supported, looks doomed.
I’ll keep you up to date with developments.