D4D

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

Archive for the category “Commuting”

Three Thousand

It’s six and a half weeks since I replaced the Saab with the Kia. And I’ve just gone over the 3,000 miles with it this morning.

Bear in mind, this year I’m doing far far less miles than I usually do (short commute, etc. etc.) and it’s still only taken a month and a half to cover 3,000 miles.

There’ve been a couple of longer runs with it in that time, so I know it’s doing OK, and that everything is – so far – running smoothly with it. And no, I’m not going to curse myself with the Gods of Fate any more than that.  So far, I’m happy with the car. It’s nothing glamorous etc., but it is doing its job of getting me from A to B without needing recovery, garage visits and the like.

Anyway, that’s the basic warranty ( three months, or 3k miles) blown away – but of course, it’s still warrantied for another 17,000 miles, so that’s something to be happy about.

Suitable Vehicles

At the moment, while my general commute is pretty short, I still see a lot of drivers, cars and idiots. As regular readers know, driving makes me think, so here’s the latest one…

Why do so many people buy unsuitable cars?

For example, what’s the point of buying high-end ‘performance’ cars, if you’re then going to drive them like an arthritic granny?  It’s something I see every day, people with high-end hot-hatch and performance cars, lumped in the outside lane, and not even driving at the speed limit, let alone over it. Last night’s was a huge BMW X5 Mpower, pootling along, not making progress and generally just getting in the way.

The same applies with vehicles that are too big for the driver, or that the driver simply can’t handle/drive. When I’m at home and the school run kicks in, there’s any number of chelsea tractors that can’t fit down the road to the school itself – and if they can get down, it becomes an incredible palaver to turn the sodding things round, or park them up.

I just don’t get the point of having vehicles like that – but maybe I’m missing something.

Sunrise

One of the few good things about the way the days are getting shorter right now is that I get to see sunrise, which is always one of my favourite times of day.

This week has had a couple of stunners – Monday was beautiful (if bloody chilly) as I was driving to my current client’s office. As I was on the road, I couldn’t stop to take a photo. But sunrise through mist and clouds, silhouetting trees on the hill-ridge, that was a thing of beauty – and one of the few times I wished I’d got either a dashcam to save the image, or a camera linked to my field of view.

Today I was in my own office as the sun came up, and it was another stunner…

Sunrise_clouds

Hell, it even made Milton Keynes look pretty…

Weather and Maintenance

It’s November, so in the last few days we’ve seen the clocks go back and had some seriously thick fogs in the mornings and evenings. That means people are (or at least should be) driving with lights on and so on – and it also illustrates that plenty of them don’t have everything working.

As usual, I find it utterly gobsmacking how people can drive along – while maintaining the same speeds they’d drive at on dry roads with decent visibility – with broken headlamps, no lights at all, and no foglights.  (And, of course there’s then the ones who leave on foglights well into clear weather, or use them at night when there’s no need at all)

I lost count of the number of – usually pale/grey – cars with no lights at all, in visibility that could be measured in feet, at best. I don’t understand what goes through someone’s head, that whole “well, I can see fuck-all, but I’ll keep my lights turned off, because even though I can’t see, it’s Day Time, so I don’t need lights” kind of process.

Equally, I don’t get how people can consistently drive with a broken/non-working headlamp, and the massively-reduced visibility that gives. I know it happens, that they can just blow without warning – I’ve had it happen. But when it has happened, it gets replaced rapidly – particularly in Autumn and Winter. Even in the poorest days, you (or at least I) still make sure that the car is safe.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case with a lot of people, and it’s a mindset I just don’t get.

Ker-fut

Yesterday nearly got very interesting indeed.

I’d had to drive over to Chesham for a day in the proper office, and on the way the car had started making some very dodgy noises, although it was all running OK.  From the noises, and when they happened, I was fairly sure it was an issue with the turbo.

As a result, I rang up the Saab garage, and booked it in for a checkup on Tuesday, which was the first day they had available.

On the way home, the noises were worse, so I was driving more carefully (and a bit slower) than usual.

I got to the Leighton Buzzard bypass (having avoided the M1 on a Friday evening – can’t think why I might’ve wanted to that) and whatever had been weakening let go, dumping a shitload of smoke and gunk over the road – which must’ve been interesting for the poor bugger behind me, to say the least.

I’ve managed to nurse it home – taking it slowly, accelerating without hitting the turbo ranges etc. – so it’s parked up outside the house, and I’ll be somehow getting it to the garage over the weekend (when the traffic is quieter, in case things go horribly wrong) in order to get it sorted on Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ve also reserved a hire car for next week, and we’ll see how things go from there.

I don’t yet know whether I’ll get it repaired/replaced, or look for something new – a lot of it will depend on what the costs are for fixing it, really. So I’ll know more later in the week, and work from there.

In honesty, I could’ve done without the hassle – but it’s something I can deal with without crippling me, and that’s no bad thing.

People-Carriers

[Note : There may be some sweeping generalisations in this, but at the same time I’m trying to avoid them]

As has been noted many times over the years, I drive way too much, way too many miles (in comparison to pretty much anyone sane) and get to see an awful lot of crappy driving.  I’m not claiming my own driving is perfect – but with that number of miles I cover, nor is it bloody awful.

Anyway, as always there seem to be certain categories of drivers who are worse than others.

Invariably, the worst of all tend to be the drivers of BMWs and Audis, but there’s another class I’m seeing more of on the roads – the people-carrier vehicles, the MPVs and their ilk. In particular, there’s something about drivers of Citroen Picassos (I’ve always suspected that people only buy those because BMW don’t make a people-carrier – if they did, that’s what the fuckknuckles would buy) but it’s actually most of that vehicle type.

I don’t know why it is that certain types of vehicle seem to attract crap drivers, but it keeps on appearing to be so.

[I had a theme in there, but it’s now gone. Grrr]

Overtaking – On the decline

Over the last few weeks of driving, I’ve been noticing more and more that other drivers seem to be quite averse to overtaking, even with miles of clear and visible road ahead.  I don’t quite know why it is – maybe it’s about how generally risk-averse we’re becoming – but it’s bloody annoying.

I do overtake – so long as it’s safe, and the road is clear. (That should go without saying, but still) But I now seem to be in the minority.

Of course, the irony is that when you’re then on a multi-carriageway road, every single one of those motherfuckers is sitting in the outside two lanes, overtaking fuck-all. But I digress.

The thing is, if you’re behind five or six – hell, even two or three – vehicles who aren’t overtaking whatever’s holding everyone up/back, then my own overtaking manoeuvre becomes difficult, if not impossible. So you just end up sitting there, because no-one else is prepared to do anything.

It’s an odd state of affairs – and sometimes bloody annoying. But there’s not a lot that you can do, except accept that it’s just going to be one of those days…

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