It’s enough to drive you nuts…
You’re driving along and a woman’s voice is nag, nag, nag… Turn left at the next junction, take the third exit at the roundabout. Like I don’t know where I’m going! You can turn the sound off on the SAT NAV, but that gives you one more thing you have to keep an eye on. I need to have eyes everywhere on the roads around here. Regular readers will know I live in the heart of England; in the Black Country…
If you look on Google maps it tells you where the traffic is fast moving and where it slow moving. The section of motorway through the Black Country is slow moving, partly because it’s so busy and partly because there is always a lower speed limit. When you come off the motorway (M6) at junction 9 you are greeted with speed cameras, that will interrupt the voice nagging as your Sat Nav bleeps to warn you. I think it’s really unfair to add penalty points to someone’s licence for speeding. Some of the roads around here, used to have a 40 limit and it was lowered, so people do go over the limit to keep up with the traffic flow. Have you noticed the speed cameras are big yellow boxes and the signs that tell you the speed limit are small and often obscure; that’s when they exist at all.
We are supposed to be some of the worst drivers in the country around here. We eat when we drive. When else are we suppose to eat. We often get our sandwiches out on the approach to spaghetti junction! We drive without shoes on. How else are we supposed to put our foot down? We drink and drive. Have you tried driving around here sober? It’s way too scary!
The Black Country is cut in two by a dual carriageway called the Black Country route, that joins to the Black Country New Road and then on to the West Bromwich Express Way. The Expressway is nearly finished, they’ve been at it long enough. On a good day the Black Country route can be faster than the motorway and less scary. I did go down there in a taxi once at 70 MPH, that was scary. That was the taxi driver from hell. I was having a bad day. The paramedics took me to hospital and instead of admitting me they gave me an injection and sent me home. The taxi I called didn’t come and then I got the taxi driver from hell. I got home about midnight. It makes life interesting though; it’s another horror story to add to my collection. It could have been worse, at least I didn’t have thirty feet of plastic tubing threaded through the more intimate parts of my body.
I think my car’s doing well considering it’s over 14 years old. I had a sensor replaced last month, but apart from that it doesn’t cost much. It goes well on the quicker routes, like the motorway. It’s a miracle that I don’t have more trouble with it considering the speed humps that I drive over. They are everywhere here. Why do deprived areas get speed humps and traffic calming and posh areas don’t? They make the pavements jut out into the road too, that’s a pain. I can’t even imagine what goes on in the minds of the people who come up with these stupid ideas. Parents are always moaning about traffic near schools, yet they are the ones that cause it all time. Kids should walk to school and be taught how to cross the road safely. Injuries to children in accidents have dropped since 1980, probably thanks to better brakes and steering on cars. I stopped when a kid ran out in front of me not long ago and I couldn’t have done that before ABS and power brakes.
I was driving down the Black Country Route a couple of weeks ago and the car in front was doing 40 in the outside land. I just followed, but got a little worried when a Jag passed me at speed. I thought he was going to rear end the idiot, but it passed on the inside lane. When I passed him after the next roundabout, I realised why he was oblivious to the danger, he was using a mobile phone. I hope he has life insurance, he’s going to need it.
I can’t understand why older drivers in bigger cars pay more tax and the boy racers in their hot hatchbacks who tear past me coming up to traffic lights and roundabouts, pay less. If they paid more tax, maybe they would slow down a bit and we would need less traffic calming and speed cameras.
I like Google maps and Street-view, they are great for planning journeys and checking places out before you even go out of the front door. If I plan a route it nearly always takes me down the motorway, it’s not always the quickest route, especially near junction 9. Have you noticed how busy the roads are on a Friday afternoon? Isn’t it nice of all those employers around here to give people time off on a Friday afternoon so they can start their weekends a bit earlier? It must cost them billions to do that every week.
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