D4D

I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.

Archive for the category “Commuting”

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…

Service Reward

As I said last week, the Slab passed its MOT with flying colours. So I decided to give it a treat – as well as the service it was due for, I sorted out a couple of things that’ve been annoying, and all is good.

Since I got it – and obviously before that too – one of the information displays has been pretty dodgy. It’s an old-type thing with a dot-matrix screen, and there were obviously some borked connections, so it never displayed the entire screen at all.  Depending on any number of random factors, it could be 75% working or 25%.  It didn’t affect the functionality of the car, but it got annoying on occasion.

Anyway, with having had to spend Not Much (actually, nigh-on Sod All) for the MOT, I asked about getting a replacement (or in this case, reconditioned) display module. I’d thought about it before, but didn’t bother at the time.

The service was done yesterday, along with the new display module, and replacement of various fluids that were OK-ish, but got flagged up as “could do with being replaced”. (Brake fluid and the like)

The display now is ace – indeed, it’s taking me some time to get used to it being as bright and clear as it is. The service had a couple of small bits that also needed doing, but it’s been worthwhile, and still Not Much for a car as comparatively old as the Slab.

Of course, with new bits and now it’s all sorted and taxed for the next year, something major is sure to go wrong with it in the coming month or so. That’s just the way these things go…

Jammed

At the moment, I’m doing regular drives on the Northbound M1, which is currently subject to no less than 15 miles (Fifteen Miles! For fuck’s sake!) of roadworks in one stretch replacing the central barrier, and another stretch installing ‘smart motorways’, in a similar way to how the Southbound M1 was screwed over a couple of years back.

Through both of these stretches, we’ve got the 50mph speed limit and ‘average speed cameras’, which seem to also contain some kind of mind-control that turns the majority of drivers into zombies who can’t see an empty lane, but can see a speed camera and slow down for it. (The phrase ‘average speed’ is utterly beyond them, of course)

It amazes me how bad the driving standards are in these roadworks zones – it’s as though people stick to the lane they were in when they entered the roadworks, and aren’t able to move from it. They don’t move in (or even pull out to overtake) despite any available space, or someone else driving even slower ahead.

I don’t know what can be done to change it – it’s just a human nature thing, I guess – but dear God, it’s bloody annoying to be surrounded by that many dickwhistles.

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