Sunday, 11 June 2006

Get Past the Bus or Die.

As you approach the roundabout at the end of the Ring Road coming down from Newton the road changes from a single lane 40 mph road to two lanes. As the arrows suggest the left lane is for going straight on, (there is no left turn) and the right hand lane is for turning right.

Yesterday I was coming up to this roundabout. The road was clear and I had been traveling at 40 mph, ignoring well meaning but illegal advice from the depot's RMT Union rep about traveling well below the speed limit. More about that in next post. Anyway a white van moved into the right hand lane and entered the roundabout a second or so after me. I kept well over to the left to allow him to turn right on the roundabout. However as I left the roundabout I have to move into the right lane at once in order to be in the correct position to turn right 150 metres ahead. So a signaled and moved over. Unfortunately the white van did not turn right as he should have done but was trying to overtake me on the roundabout. Not a very safe thing to do at the best of times but very unsafe when he should have turned right. He suddenly found me moving across in front of him and he had to brake very hard indeed or run into the back of me. Not a good idea when you have your wife and young child in the van with you. How do I know he had his wife and child in the van with him? He chased me up the road and when I stopped at the next stop to pick some one up he pulled across the road in front of me and blocked me in. He got out of his van while his wife looked daggers at me from the front seat. A few seconds later the young child was placed on the front seat so he could look at the monster who had nearly killed them all. Driver came round to the side window demanding to know what did I think I was playing at?

Now I have learn lots of things in my life and one of them is that having slanging matches at the side of the road with upset drivers is a complete waste of time and energy. I once, many years ago came into contact with an other car and we managed to swop details without exchanging a single word, a very civilized method of dealing with an unfortunate incident. So I didn't say anything to this driver, just took a few pictures. In the end he drove off.

Twenty mins later I was paying in at the end of my shift and who walked in. He wanted to know who to complain to and I indicated the controller who was on duty but added that he should explain first why he had gone straight on even though the road markings suggested that he turn right. At first he said he didn't see any markings. I told him I had driven round that roundabout lots and lots of times and they were there. After a little time spent in quiet contemplation he apologised and left.

The deep question that I wanted to ask but didn't, was why in God's name did he try and overtake me on the roundabout in the first place. I didn't really need to ask, some poeple must get in front of the bus no matter what. In the course of a days driving there are usually 3 or 4 incidents where car drivers risk life and limb just to get past the bus. Now forty years ago I may just have understood this, buses were slow and poured out thick black smoke in their wake. But this has changed. Buses don't usually smoke these days and our buses may not be quiet as fast as a car pulling away but they do have a good turn of speed. Also I had approached at 40 mph so I wasn't holding him up in any way. After the roundabout there is a long two lane duel carrigeway, plenty of time to overtake safely. Or was the urge to get past the bus at all cost so strong in him that he was willing to risk the safety of son and wife just to do it as soon as possible, even if that sooner was by only one second.


cymmon said...

What did I say in my previous response? The idiots seem to be all over, they care little for their families (or anyone's) safety. They should be taken off the road.

Philipp said...

Your example is one of the evidences that van drivers are really 'folk devils'. I still can't imagine how they dare to behave themselves on a road so madly. It is true that man and van is now most often viewed as a mobile thug – a dangerous threat to the decent, right-thinking, motoring majority.
Happy that you did not come to harm.