Driving standards – they leave me cold!
You know, one of my favourite all time monthly publications is VIZ magazine, blessed with characters including Johnny Fartpants – The Fat Slags – Biffa Bacon and many other smile raisers – if you have never sampled it you really must give it a try!
Anway, for me, the best part of this adult comic for me is the Letterbox page. Some letters are obviously made up, but some are hilariously funny. One such letter I remember was regarding that annoying yet, at the time, addictive show Noel’s House Party. A reader wrote in stating that if, Noel Edmonds started the show five minutes early, he wouldn’t have to run and rush around like an idiot everywhere – daft but oddly true!
This brings me neatly to my moan of the week. This past week here in leafy Sussex (along with most of the UK) we have been subjected to some pretty bad weather, namely snow and ice. Everything just stopped: planes, trains, local buses. How those poor folk in Sweden and Finland manage, I do not know – well, actually I do – they just bloody well get on with it.
I have been driving for over 21 years and hold both an LGV and PSV licence, so it would be fair to say I have driven a mixed and varied type of vehicle. This past week, I have been left utterly speechless (my other half would disagree though) with the standards of driving I have witnessed. I have seen it all – letterbox sized de-iced windows , driving to fast, countless vehicles with only one headlamp working, abandoned cars half on the footpath, excess speed with minimal skill and so on. Every year it’s the same carry on whatever the weather.
Too much rain? We flood. Too much sun? There’s a hosepipe ban. Too much dark? Everyone gets SAD or ME. It’s all pathetic really and watching everyone running around like headless chickens dragging sledges to the shop buying every loaf of bread is comical and makes me ashamed to be British – it really does!
I was stood down at work last Thursday but, on Friday, I had to go in and help sort the depot out for vehicles that were being used on Saturday. Flask of coffee, plenty of fags and spade in hand, I set out to to try and find my little Rover which was buried under 18in of snow and head off to work, leaving 30 minutes earlier than the normal – take note Edmonds!
My prat of the week award goes to the man in the Network Rail van who thought that driving less than 10ft from my rear bumper whilst negotiating a steep icy downhill road was acceptable. He then tried to overtake me 200 metres short of a roundabout and almost put the oncoming car into a ditch and forced me to put the nearside of my car into the bank of ploughed snow – boy that stops you quick I can tell you!
However, one thing is a fact: my bloody Rover is a Trojan in this weather. I popped it into reverse and the damn thing just backed out with only the slightest bit of wheelspin and the remaining five miles went without incident. Maybe I am a glutton for punishment, but I love driving in the ice and snow. It could be the sense of achievement of getting there or maybe it’s because you have to apply and use your skill and experience in doing so.
All I do know is people don’t drive to their abilities or skill, too much speed and scant consideration to other road users seems to be the current trend. Until it becomes legal for me to fit a 10ft steel spike to the front and back of my car, I’ll keep vigilant for the other pillocks I have to share the road with.
I am pleased to report that the return journey home went without a hitch. Well, apart from some fatal-sounding noises from the transmission. During the day, the temperature had dropped dramatically. The compacted snow and slush from the morning’s incident had frozen into the wheelarch and the subsequent knocking and banging nigh on gave me a heart attack as I thought the differential had failed – imagine my relief!
Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications