At the moment, my daily drive is on the M1, which has roadworks on it through ’til mid-2022. (Yes, it’s a joy) Throughout those roadworks there’s a speed limit of 50mph, which is monitored by average-speed cameras. And as I’ve been going through them, I come more and more to the conclusion that the average speed stuff isn’t actually all that safe.
More accurately, I don’t think they’re that safe when it comes to British drivers, and the habits that a lot of them have – which don’t appear to be the same as those of drivers in other countries.
The main problem with averaged 50mph limits is that it means everyone is driving at the same speed – cars, vans, HGVs, all at 50mph (or close to it) That means that the British-normal of last-minute lane changes for junctions are nigh-on impossible (although that doesn’t actually stop people from trying it) Instead, you need to be aware of the other lanes, and plan to be ready for the junction far further in advance.
Additionally, British drivers being what they are, turn off their brains completely when in average-speed areas, and will just stick to a particular lane with no regard or understanding of anyone around them, or of moving over into empty space to allow others past. On any given day, it’s terrifying to see just how many drivers are there, zoned out, sat in the outside lane and overtaking two lanes of fuck-all.
All told, it adds up to a whole bundle of unsafe situations at any given time of day. I can see (and have seen) people doing this shit at 6am, at 4pm, at 10pm, and at 2am. It just seems to be the way things are in these situations.
Fun and games, fun and games.
I regularly drive through Woburn, and at least a couple of times a week I’m amazed at how lazy people are, even when it comes to their own safety.
In the case of Woburn, there are two zebra crossings within a very short stretch of road. There are good reasons for this – the road is usually busy, and fairly fast. But people still cross away from the crossings, where it’s apparently “more convenient” rather than walking a tiny way to the crossing where cars *have* to stop for pedestrians…
The first one looks like this…
This is where most people cross – and you can see the markings for the zebra crossing at the top of the photo (the zig-zags, for non-UK readers) Note also that this is just after a busy crossroads, so has any number of vehicles coming round corners and paying far more attention to other vehicles than to pedestrians. I measured it on Google Maps – it’s 30 metres from here to the crossing. Not even a minute’s walk. (I’ll also note that all the people avoiding the crossing are able-bodied, so it’s not like they can’t walk that distance.)
The second one (slightly further up the road from here, after a tight choke-point and just round the corner so out of view from this one) looks like this
This one is a bit harder to see – it’s a bit further, at 45m from where people actually cross – but it’s still there, with markings visible across the road. Here, people cross from the pub to the hotel and back – and again, with parked cars on the right, an extremely tight road with drivers focusing on squeezing through rather than on pedestrians, people trying to park (or turn into the various lanes and archways along this bit) rather than walking that 45m to be able to do so safely.
I know people in general are lazy bastards and so on, but really, it utterly amazes me just how many (and even more so at school times, as there’s a school just back from where this shot is taken) are prepared to ‘save’ time waiting for a space in traffic and then risk their all to cross the road, rather than walking that tiny distance to do so safely (and actually usually more quickly than waiting for that gap!)
I don’t know if they don’t see the crossing, that they’re blinkered to just going straight across the road instead, or if they’re all just fuckwit examples of Darwinism waiting to happen. Either way, it is (to me) a gobsmacking way to live.
This morning, when I rocked up to my office, there was a guy apparently passed out across three of the parking spaces outside. I couldn’t tell much about him – he was asleep/comatose rather than visibly wounded or bleeding – but it still wasn’t a great situation. In particular I was aware of the upcoming rush hour, and of the speed (and stupidity, and lack of observational powers) of various drivers peeling into apparently empty parking spaces.
I didn’t know whether he’d chosen to sleep there, or had fallen over the railings separating the parking spaces from the pavement and bus stops.
So I ended up calling 101 (the non-emergency number for police services) to report the issue, and let the professionals handle it. As it turned out, I should’ve called 111 instead (the non-emergency number for NHS) but I’d forgotten that one, but remembered 101.
Anyway, the details were taken – but what surprised (and depressed) me was that my call was the first they’d heard of this particular man. It’s particularly depressing because where he was, he’d been completely visible to any number of people waiting at the bus-stop on the other side of the railings. (The bus-stop and pavement are slightly raised from the car-park level, so he was definitely visible)
I do understand that a lot of people don’t want to get involved, or all assume that someone else will be doing something. But still, I know that if it were me laying there, I’d at least hope that someone would call the emergency services about me as well.
I don’t know, maybe I’m still feeling all optimistic and stuff, but it just pisses me off when people simply ignore those in need. And yes, I probably could’ve done more as well – although my first-aid knowledge is rudimentary, and old – but I did what seemed right at the time.
(Oh, and to close this particular tale, he was OK, but intoxicated, and got taken to hospital as a precaution – I saw the ambulance people as they were about to leave, and asked how he was)
[PIDU = People I Don’t Understand]
There are many, many types of people I don’t understand – or at least whose thought processes are beyond me. That’s the theme of the PIDU posts (as mentioned here, although I’ll probably repeat this a few times) and may also become a bit of a throwback to the rants of yore.
Anyway, another one of the many things that are beyond me are the people who don’t follow through on their actions. People who use the last of something, and don’t replace it. People who turns lights on when they enter a room (regardless of whether they need to) and then don’t turn them off when they leave. People who don’t clear up after themselves in staffrooms and the like. Basically, useless inept twatspanners with the memory-span of a goldfish.
I don’t understand what makes these simple processes so complex. (Although I am assuming that the majority of these people aren’t cognitively impaired, or suffering from brain injuries – not an unreasonable assumption, in a set of offices, for example) If you’ve used up a toilet roll, replace it – don’t just leave the fucking cardboard roll for the next person to find. If you’ve turned the light on in a room when you go in, and no-one else has entered after you, turn the cocking thing off again. Is it really that difficult?
The sad thing is, if you start pulling these people up on their failings, they get defensive and insist it’s not their fault. Well if that’s the case, whose fault is it? No-one else is responsible for doing it, unless they’ve spent a whole lifetime with someone following behind them fixing everything that they can’t be bothered to do.
I know, personal responsibility is one of my own bugbears – I hate it when people don’t take responsibility for their actions, or follow through on their actions. It’s always someone else’s fault, someone else’s problem, and that’s a mindset I just don’t get.
Over the last couple of days, there’s been some coverage about an American scientist (which seems to be a pretty endangered species in the Age Of Trump) claiming that fitness trackers and pedometers are pretty arbitrary, and not necessarily the best way to go.
Which, I think it’s fair to say, we can file under “Sherlock, Shit, No”.
Of course that 10,000 steps a day advice is arbitrary. Even the figure tells you it’s arbitrary – those nice round numbers for ‘ideals’ simply don’t occur that often in reality.
Hager claimed the 10,000 steps target dated back to a 1960s Japanese study that showed there were health benefits for men who burned at least 2,000 calories per week through exercise – roughly equivalent to 10,000 steps each day. An early pedometer was known as the manpo-kei, which means “10,000-step meter” in Japanese.
Really, if anyone is taking anything from these devices as gospel truth, they’re a fucking moron. At best, these devices are indicators.
The heartrate monitor is well known to not be accurate – but so long as it’s fairly consistent per user/wearer, it’s a decent-enough indicator of where you stand. And if it suddenly dropped to reporting 10bpm (or 200bpm) then anyone vaguely sensible would take themselves to a GP for a proper check.
The same’s true for the sleep monitor (which I do use). It’s not gospel truth. But it’s a decent-enough indicator of awake vs. disturbed ‘sleep vs. actual REM sleep. Do I believe it innately? Hell no. But does it consistently show me my bad nights vs. less-bad ones? (I’m yet to have a good night’s sleep) Yes.
And if you can’t rely on those indicators, why would you rely on the step monitor? Simple, you wouldn’t. Can you game it and mess figures simply by swinging your arms more? Yep. But what’s the point of doing that, unless all you’re interested in is attaining that arbitrary [x],000 steps in a day? The only benefit in that is you, and you’re just cheating yourself.
However, it does make for a useful indicator, and a reminder to actually move more. I can understand (kinda) why people make these things into targets, but really all that’s important is being more active. And that’s what counts.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching the BBC’s “Eat Well For Less” series. It’s an interesting concept, helping people with their eating habits (and more accurately, their spending on food) by removing all the labelling and branding from food in people’s houses, removing all the prejudices etc. around their food spending. They replace expensive branded stuff with ‘own-brand’ or cheaper alternatives (and in some cases with more expensive, but better/healthier options) and also leaving some things alone. Additionally, they help people with recipes for their favourite meals, rather than buying pre-packaged and so on.
A lot of it is insanely annoying, but the core information is (in my opinion) worth it, for both the families on the programme, and people watching it.
But oh Dear God, those families are fucking pathetic. There’s lots of preconceptions about brands being preferred “because they wouldn’t be so popular if they weren’t the best” and so on, which drives me crackers.
The most recent one tonight, though, drove me crackers. One family member had been diagnosed as coeliac, and had spent six years eating salads he hated. Six. Fucking. Years. How does anyone end up eating stuff they don’t like for six bloody years? There’s no logic in it that I can see – unless they haven’t done any enquiries or research about what’s got gluten in and so on?
In this case they were buying loads of pre-packaged food – and I get that more, because they were so worried about cross-contaminating from their foods to his, and making him ill – but with no thoughts or understanding. I think the peak point for me was buying pre-packaged “gluten-free” rice, not understanding that all rice is gluten-free, in the name of Jesus H Pant-shitting Christ.
So yeah, it’s been an interesting series, but Holy DogEggs, some people are fucking lazy/stupid/pathetic*.
(* Delete as applicable)