The Plastic Hippo

June 15, 2015

Hostile take over

Filed under: Society,Transport — theplastichippo @ 3:00 am
Copyright Richard Wintle

Copyright Richard Wintle

Driving a motor vehicle a long distance between two different centres of population along a busy trunk road or motorway is not that difficult. There are, however, choices to consider and a myriad of decisions to be made on every mile of the journey. Obviously the main consideration is to arrive safely but this tends to be overshadowed by the desire to arrive safely in the shortest possible time regardless of the possibility of being burnt to death in a charred heap of crumpled metal.

So, on a long drive back from the coast after a rather splendid weekend away, uppermost in my mind was the speed at which I should approach some unforeseen bottleneck in the accompanying traffic. The trunk road in question is mostly dual carriageway but occasionally narrows to a single lane for a mile or two which will, no doubt, be improved once the Highways Agency secure the time, money and planning permission to make our journeys faster.

I like driving on dual carriageways. I can plod along at 70 (subject to local speed limits through villages and at crossroads) safe in the knowledge that I can overtake great big trucks governed at 60, nervous drivers who fear that exceeding 50 will inadvertently launch them into undiscovered dimensions and agricultural tractors who travel at about the same velocity and predictability as a gaggle of geese. When the road narrows, however, the crucial decision is what speed to approach the inconvenience. Should I, like so many other fellow knights of the road, put my foot down to 90 or 100 in the hope of being four or five cars closer to the combine harvester pulling out across the road at 5mph and so be much more involved in the ensuing conflagration?

At this point, I tend to consider the wellbeing of the box of tissues on the back parcel shelf, don a trilby hat and slow down to a speed more appropriate to my age. Sadly, the drivers of fast and expensive cars seem to think that the ownership of such an opulent form of transport guarantees the exclusive right to the “fast lane” and that the poor people in inferior motors should give way and let them pass. Consequently, instead of harmoniously merging into a single lane and passing through the bottleneck at an agreeable 50, we all stop and spend half an hour bunching up to allow these complete and utter Richard Craniums to impose driving misery on the rest of us who would really like to be home in reasonable time.

The wonderful irony of this selfish behaviour is that the idiots in the fast and expensive cars will blame more sensible drivers for not letting them go first in creating grid lock. It is far too easy to dismiss these racing drivers with talk of wealth based arrogance or even Freudian analysis of compensatory behaviour because the sad fact is that these people lack the ability of Lewis Hamilton and espouse all the failings of Jeremy Clarkson. Put simply; they do not know how to drive.

We arrived home safe despite the attentions of the driver of a very flash four by four who, basically, nearly killed us by cutting in at the last minute and then came to a dead stop. This caused me to break so severely that the box of tissues hit me on the back of the head and I fleetingly imagined the following truck deciding to involuntarily occupy the back parcel shelf and would then imprint the reversed word “Scania” on the back of my skull as the only evidence of the identity of my mortal remains. I tried to memorise the registration of the monster four by four assassins but could only get the last three letters.


Make of that what you will.

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