I reached another mileage milestone the other day... but this one took some planning.
I reached another mileage milestone the other day... but this one took some planning.
Don't get me wrong, I love driving, but there are a number of things which can make it not so enjoyable.
I don't like these purely because they're dangerous and a lot of them are just down to bad road planning. There's various roads around here where you have to stick out half a car's length to be able to see what's coming, and although they may only be in 30-40 limit areas it's still enough to cause a problem, especially if someone is going too fast.
The junction onto the main road from our house is a bad one too. You basically need to have eyes on the side of your head like a rabbit to be able to pull out of it. If you look at it on a map or even drive around the bend itself you wouldn't think the junction is that blind, but it is. The road's a 60 and when cars are doing that speed you have about 2-3 seconds between seeing them and them coming past the junction. It's very hard to know what's coming from the left and the right at the same time when they're doing that speed and you have that amount of time, and it's worse when people are going faster than 60. You have to look left, right, left, right, left; if it's clear, you have to go for it, and once you've committed to it you can rarely back out of it. Far too often I've pulled out heading right and something has come round from the left 0.5-1 seconds after I've moved out; it's too late to stop because I'll be in the way of cars coming from the right, you have to just carry on. Some people realise it's a bad junction and will slow down when they see you're pulling out. Others just honk you and flash their lights, as if it's your fault you pulled out in front of them, and some will then overtake you, whilst still on the bend, because they can't slow down in time, or because they're just angry at you.
What do the council/highways agency do about it? Fuck all. And we've lost count on how many times we've written to them about it. The road from the right used to carry on being a 60 for another 2 miles or so, and a little while ago they changed it to a 50; however, the national speed limit sign at the end of that 50 is still before our junction, and it's right where the road widens out, so people will now be accelerating from 50 to 60, going onto a wider, seemingly faster road, only to then come past this bad junction at that speed. The council/highways agency admitted the sign was in the wrong place and said it will be moved to after the junction, but I can't remember how long ago this was, and nothing's changed.
The danger of this junction is plain to see. We've lived here 6 years and in that time there's been a car on it's roof, a car in the ditch, and an accident on boxing day a few years ago where a flatbed truck was literally ripped in half after hitting another car, where one person died and two air ambulances were needed; the air ambulance was needed for another accident too, and there have been more accidents than these mentioned. Yet the speed limit is the same and there are no extra warnings about the junction. Unfortunately 4 people need to die at a particular location before anything is done about it. The situation is made even worse when you consider the council/highways agency didn't even know the correct location of the accidents because the police told them they all happened at the next junction along; this may explain why the 50 limit ends there instead of past our junction, but also doesn't fill us with much confidence in the people supposedly in charge of our safety and the maintenance of the road. Either way I know it's only a matter of time before there's another fatal accident there and I just hope nobody from my family is involved.
I hate these things. Why do they have to make the ramps so narrow and tight? There's always scrapes along them from people who have misjudged it, wouldn't it make more sense to sacrifice one space per ramp to make them much wider and easier to drive up and down? It's worse in my car as the mudflaps always scrape along the floor and the exhaust often hits the floor too. I always think I've hit the side! Now that I park in one every day I'll hopefully get a bit more practice in so I don't hate them as much in future.
A lot of the roads around here are pretty poor. Rough, bumpy, potholed, gaps and patches all over the place. More often than not though, the roads that get relaid seem to be roads that were pretty good as they were, and it's more a waste of materials if anything when OK roads are relaid and roads in need of relaying are not. This problem is made worse when they use rubbish materials, primarily that gravel stuff that means you have to drive at 20 over it for a week before enough people have driven over it to wear it in a bit, and until then you just get stones kicked up at you. Sometimes roads relaid with this stuff just start to deteriorate again very quickly, I mean they're only really covering the road with another layer rather than actually relaying it; one road that was done like this had holes appearing no more than 24 hours after it was done, and within a week it was relaid again with better materials, meaning the first job was a complete and utter waste of time and money. Whatever happened to relaying roads with tarmac and a steamroller? Do they not do this anymore? If you relay it properly and do a decent job of it you won't need to keep coming back to it.
Another road surface I have an issue with is that shiny black stuff they sometimes use. When it is wet, it is a total hazard and has no grip whatsoever. It is terrible stuff and I have absolutely no idea why they use it. It's bad enough having to brake on it when in a car (I usually see it's this stuff and slow down a bit or brake earlier/softer to avoid locking up) but once I was on my bike approaching a junction where the end of the road was covered in this suff, and when I braked, the back wheel instantly locked, I had no grip, and I just carried on across the junction to the other side. A car was coming from the right and if it had been about 2 seconds ahead of where it was I'd have been killed or at least ended up in hospital. I wasn't going fast at all approaching the junction but it was like hitting sheet ice when I tried to brake and I was very lucky not to get hurt. They should stop using this material at all costs.
Well, I have two more pictures of milestones I reached.
My journey home doesn't usually take that long. Once I get out of Norwich it's almost all 50-60 until my house. Once I get to a certain point though I can choose to carry on as normal, or turn off and go a longer way home. It's a bit faster, bit more twisty, and overall a bit more fun.
I've been in a bad mood for the past few days, and, even though I wasn't driving today, there are some idiots on the roads around here and I must vent.
We were going along earlier at about 60, and a car was waiting in a lay-by to pull out. There was a few cars in front of us, with about a 3 second gap between them and us. They went past the guy waiting, and then he decided that 3 seconds was enough time to pull out in front of us.
Well, it wasn't.
Brakes on hard. Flashing of lights. Swears. My dad drives with his headlights on all the time to help people see him, didn't seem to help this guy though. If he'd pulled out half a second later we would have gone right up the back of him.
Then, we were stuck behind some idiot in a massive SUV doing anything from 30-45 in a 60 for about 10 miles. Why?? God knows. It was a wide, straight road, perfect conditions, not wet, you could see for miles, but he decided to plod along, not really giving a shit that the people behind may actually need to get somewhere. We got past him eventually, overtaking the two cars in front of us who didn't have the brains to overtake, and then the slow guy, all at once. Other people then suddenly woke up and overtook him too. That seems to happen a lot up here, nobody overtakes, they're a bit like sheep, they just follow the person in front, but then when someone with a bit of common sense overtakes, they all do.
We also had to go to the horse place so my sister could have a lesson. The exit from this place into the main road is a nightmare, the junction is on a corner, whether you look left or right, it's blind, you can't see very far round it at all. There is a mirror on the other side of the road, but it's completely pointless because you can't see anything coming in it unless it's in your line of sight coming round the corner anyway. We pulled out, and a car then came around the corner, which happens quite a lot. He then had to slow down, nothing we could do about it, every other time it happens people are fine with it, as they accept it's a blind bend and it wasn't intentional, but this guy honked us, got right up behind us, then overtook, giving us a lovely hand gesture. I'd like to see him get out of that corner every time without cutting someone up, I've not managed it yet.
If these sorts of people weren't on the road, I swear we'd all get to our destinations in half the time and with a lot less hassle.
Was going to pick my sister up from her horse riding lesson, and was approaching a T-junction, I was going to be turning right. Approaching the corner, not yet stopped, I saw a nice car coming round from the right, a Lexus IS-F, they're quite rare and I'd never seen one before, and after it had gone past me I looked at it in my rear-view mirror. It then suddenly occurred to me that I was still moving along, towards the car in front that had stopped... quickly looked back at the road and slammed on my brakes, the engine stalled because I didn't dump the clutch, and managed to stop, without going into the car in front.
Note to self; make sure you've actually stopped before looking at a nice car coming the other way.
There's an ongoing debate about whether or not elderly drivers should be retested once they reach a certain age. I believe you need to get your licence renewed every 10 years or so and there is an eye test when you reach a certain age, but IMHO that isn't enough. This is my take on the argument.
Got my penalty notice through the post the other day for my speeding. 3 points and a £60 fine. I don't give a shit about the fine, that's not an issue, it's the sodding points I don't want. My driving instructor and I sent a letter to them trying to get me off it, didn't seem to work. Proof the police have nothing better to do and that the system is ujutst. Now I'm gonna have to tell employers... ugh, what a pisser.
As the saying goes, shit happens, it's just a pain in the arse when it does.
Oh, and I don't even think a speeding conviction gives you a criminal record but I just liked the title.
Yep, turns out there was film in the camera, and they've sent a letter to my insructor (it was his car). Bollocks. He's going to write a letter and I hope they let me off it. Getting points this early on for something like this would just suck.
OK, so I passed my test in December 08. Haven't driven again until today, 15th March. I was doing my pass plus today, basically a small course where you do more advanced stuff that you don't do in the standard test, and then you get a bit of money off the insurance as well as more experience. All went fine despite the fact I hadn't driven for 3 months, actually seemed like I'd been driving every day, was a bit surprised, and when we got to the half way point, to turn back, I was quite happy. Half way back it started to get dark, but I've done loads of night driving before so that was fine. Then, we hit a 50 mph limit. This went on for at least 15 minutes, along a quiet road, at the same steady speed, but it was slowly getting darker. Eventually it was very dark and could only really see what the lights showed me. Going along quite nicely, and my instructor suddenly says 'It's 40 along here!".
*slams on the brakes*
So yeah, there's me, first time driving for 3 months, doing 50 in a 40. But it's total shit really. For one, the 50 limit had been there for ages, and there was no real reason at all for it to be a 40 at that point. About 100 metres after the camera, it went back to a 50, there just seemed to be this random 40 mph limit in the middle of the 50. Plus, there was only one small sign saying the change of speed, which I didn't see, there weren't any markings on the road to indicate the change, and the camera was extremely close to the start of the 40 zone. Now, you may think that I should have seen the sign and braked. Well, yes, if there was any light, I'd have seen the sign, and would have slowed down. But there wasn't any light. Even if I did see the sign, I wouldn't have had enough time to slow down from 50 after seeing it to be going slow enough for the camera because it was so close to the sign. The guy behind me was going just as fast, he couldn't see the sign either, he only knew about it because it flashed for me.
Now, there's every chance the camera had no film in it. That's what I'm hoping for. If not, when they send the letter to ask who was driving, my instructor will obviously say it was me, but he'll also write a letter trying to get me off it. I do everything else fine, very careful, take note of speed limits, but in this case, the signs were very unclear. Plus we were talking about stuff to watch out for when it's dark, which is kinda ironic.
I guess I'll have to see what happens. If they do follow it through, I'm quite certain they'll let me off but I'm not looking forward to finding out.
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