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.
At the moment I seem to spend far too much of my available non-work time on the road, so I notice stuff around me.
Over the last couple of weeks one of the motorway gantries on my route (the ones with speed cameras on) has been out of action, so there’s been a small – but noticeable if you pay attention – yellow sign saying
Camera not in use
Today though, I noticed that it has changed, and now says
Camera now in use
And lo, there we go, seeing it flash on speeders.
It just struck me as interesting, the simple alteration of one letter that means so much, and changes the whole thing – and I wonder how many people notice/realise.
On my commutes, I regularly find myself bemused by the whole thing of performance cars – things like Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, AMG Mercedes and the like.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like the look of a lot of them, as well as the idea of fast cars. I love seeing them, and some of the stuff about them, the hand-made elements and so on. But here in the UK I just don’t really see the point of them.
I get that some of it is about showing off, that you can afford a fast car (as well as the petrol etc.) and fair play. Personally I don’t value myself by my possessions – large or small – and I don’t define myself by that perceived value, or that of the brand/marque that’s been chosen.
But regardless of whether you’ve got a shitty old Mk1 Ford Fiesta (or any other ‘low-end’ vehicle) or a £200,000 Mercedes SLS AMG, you’re legally limited to 70 mph. 80 at a push. And the run I do on a daily basis is populated with speed cameras and police, so it’s really not worth speeding past that – it’ll become a very expensive hobby, for sure. So what’s the point of a car that can do 200mph, if it’ll never get there?
Sure, there’s other places you can speed, where there’s less cameras. But even then if you do get caught, it’s going to be expensive.
And then you get to the fuel consumption. That SLS gets 21mpg on the combined cycle – and I bet that drops like a stone if you put your foot down.
Great, you’ve got the money to make it feasible for you. I’m happy for you – not impressed, and not bothered, but it’s not for me, it’s for you.
Mind you, if you own that £200,000 car, it must really steam your piss to be overtaken by a shitty 13-year-old Saab that’s worth less than a hundredth of what your car cost…
On the way to work this morning, I was confronted by road closures and the after-effects of this crash.
Fairly serious – and the damage all looked pretty grim – so I hope all are OK in it.
[Update : As it turns out, they weren’t. One fatal (a motorcyclist)]
This year, I’ve seen a lot of roadkill – as I’ve commented before – which is at least somewhat related to going back to doing a fair amount of driving on fast roads, dual carriageways, motorways and the like.
I don’t mind that too much – although I think it’s quite sad to see it – but there’s something that bugs me about it, which is this.
No matter where the bodies are on the road – including right over by the edge and (particularly on motorways) right in the middle, near the central reservation and safety barrier, right out of the traffic lanes. Yet within a couple of days, the bodies are flattened, all bones crushed and so on.
It’s not decomposition – OK, it could be, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t happen that fast.
All I can assume is that there’s a certain breed of driver who feel it’s acceptable (or perhaps even amusing, I don’t know) to run over the bodies, even if it means curving out of the lane, towards the crash barrier in order to do so.
And really that just boggles my little mind…