Anomalies and Weirdos – Things That Annoy Us on the Road
This blog is a little tongue-in-cheek and consists of some random ‘short stories’ about those things that annoy us when we’re out driving but we tend to keep to ourselves.
Feel free to send us yours, we know you’ll have some!
1. The 40mph Everywhere Driver
Don’t you just love it when you’re enjoying a delicious sequence of bends on a national speed limit country lane?
And then you find yourself behind a (insert here the name of any ‘Eurobox’ car you care to think of) doing 40 mph. Nothing wrong with that, of course. People should always drive within their driving ability and the road conditions, etc. When there’s a clear straight, you’ll blip past in an instant. Except there isn’t. Instead, there’s a series of interconnected villages with only short gaps in between.
Naturally, you observe the speed limit of 30 or 20 mph for safety in built-up areas.
However, the Eurobox continues on at 40mph oblivious of the danger.
They’re also oblivious of you because you’ve drifted back in their rear view mirror (that we assume they use from time to time).
You inevitably catch them up shortly after exiting the village on a national speed limit section, only to find your way blocked by the same Eurobox doing 40mph and no overtaking opportunity before the next village.
In 1905 New York, the world’s first traffic roundabout came into being. The UK followed in 1909. The idea was a simple one… to keep the traffic flowing. The alternative was stop lines, give ways and traffic lights. It took a little while to agree that traffic approaching roundabouts from the right (in the UK) had priority, after which things ran pretty smoothly.
So why do we have traffic lights on roundabouts?
We all understand that some areas are helped, at rush hour particularly, where minor road access to a major roundabout can cause unfair delays. This is where traffic lights on roundabouts is a genuine attempt at maintaining optimal traffic flow.
So why do I have to wait at a red light on a roundabout at 4 o’clock in the morning? Or even the middle of the day when traffic is light.
I once wrote to my local city council to suggest that such traffic lights should be time-controlled. Some are. But why are not all, especially in these days of congestion charging zones, clear air zones… never mind one’s desire to arrive at a destination on time.
The council’s reply? At best, dismissive. Aargh again!
3. Clean Air Zones
Before we start, please don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-clean air!
However, there’s something that bothers me about Clean Air Zones (CAZ), or more specifically CAZ charging. But first a minor detour…
If you play golf, you’ll know that the ambition is to go round in the lowest number of strokes. That’s fine for the professionals, but we rank amateurs should take pleasure in going round in 100+. Why? Because on a pence-per-shot basis, that represents better value for money.
Applying that same logic suggests that, to get value for money from your £5 charge for driving into Gotham City, you should drive around all day… thus decreasing the air quality and negating the CAZ 🤔.
OK, that makes little sense, but some people might think that way.
To put it another way, if you drive 2 meters into a CAZ, park up all day and then drive out the same way, you’ll also have paid your £5. Your conscience may be clear but your logical brain will be shouting, nooo!
Surely, the amount of time spent with your engine running should be the determinant of the CAZ charge. If it was £5 per hour, we would soon find other ways of traversing or avoiding such cities, led by businesses who operate fleets of vehicles far more polluting than our ‘toys’. I’m sure that the electronics in modern cars can cope with such a requirement.
Over to you councils and manufacturers…
As a footnote, the above ‘logic’ doesn’t apply to Congestion Zones where, in our example, the parked car may cause the very congestion that the charge is seeking to avoid!
4. Some Humour
Earlier this week I followed a small car along a country lane and into a village. They were driving rather slowly but there was no opportunity to overtake so I sat patiently behind at a non-intimidating distance.
Thoughts of the ’40 mph driver’ above were dismissed as we trundled through a village at less than 30 mph. A short while later, the car’s right indicator appeared and we slowed for the next junction.
It’s then that I spotted the rear window sticker:
BLACK BOX FITTED
BELIEVE ME, I’M MORE ANNOYED THAN YOU ARE
It made me laugh out loud and extract the above rather grainy shot from my dashcam.