Tuesday, 18 August 2009

What to Do on the M5

Driving a coach affords amply opportunity to sit and think. For instance I take a party up to the theatre at Babbacombe on a Thursday dropping them off at 7:45 and picking them up at 10:20. Now I could drive back to the hotel and park there but I would still be just sitting around waiting for the show to end so I don't bother, I just sit in the coach and read and listen to music on the iPod. I don’t own a car and in the last 15 years I haven’t done much motorway driving (lucky me). Going up the M5 to Dudley, Wolverhampton and Walsall on the Motorway also is a not much happening time and much of that time is spent thinking. Not about important things like coming up with an idea to stop global warming, though that would be a bonus. No, what I think about is, "Why did he do that?"

The 'he' in this case is the driver of a car, sometimes towing a trailer with a boat on board. The boat is usually called Sea spray or Sine wave or Please Don't Sink. ( Now there's an interesting question, What is the most common name for a boat, particularly those on the back of trailers going up the M5). Anyway, the what in the above question that fills my mind as we drive through the Somerset Levels is this. I have my cruise control set at 95km (58.9 mph) and I can see I am slowly gaining on the car towing The 'Fair Wind' which is a motor boat so doesn't need a fair wind. Now because I am getting closer to the back of the trailer it means I am going faster than it is. At the appropriate point I check the mirror and if safe pull out to pass. Now what the skipper of the FW does is press down very slightly on the accelerator pedal so I am now out in the second lane doing 58.9 mph but now no longer going past but travelling along side the Fair Wind. So what do I do. Carry on blocking the centre lane making all the faster traffic behind me move out into the 3rd lane or disengage the cruise control, lose a couple of miles per hour and pull in behind the idiot. Usually I give the cruise control lever a couple of forward pushes which increases my speed by 2 km per hr hoping the skipper of the boat to my port, or is it starboard? doesn't do the same. If he does I end up slowing slightly and pulling back in. By now several hundred car drivers have gone past all wandering what the lunatic coach driver is doing blocking the centre lane. At this point I wish I had a couple of canon fitted in the luggage space so I could give Fair Wind a broad side of grape shot. At least incidents like this give me something to think about as the miles go by.

PS I have been driving a coach now for 4 weeks and I have to admit I do prefer bus driving.


Joe said...

Your number 12 will probably always rank ahead of motorway driving and cruise control stupor. However, Dave any change of job takes at least 3 months to adjust to so early days yet.

NThorn said...

Some drivers are just ignorant.

I'm not surprised that initially you prefer bus driving, you miss out on all the hustle and bustle of Torquay etc. aswell as more variety.
You may adjust as Joe said.

Good luck with it anyway.

retired driver Peter said...

There are always those who see a bus (or coach - or probably a truck) as a challenge (possibly to their masculinity as it rarely seems to be a woman at the wheel). My answer was always let them get on with it and not to continue trying to overtake as I have always hated upsetting other drivers who would be affected nor wishing to give such idiots or following drivers the opportunity to report me in my large easily identifiable PCV. Such reports even if 'the boss' can be convinced of your innnocence cause hassle when trying to prove that innocence. I must admit this attitude came with experience and longevity!

retired driver Peter said...

Maybe you will be able to go back to issuing tickets and checking passes one day, it is even possible that next summer Stagecoach may even realise how human-like you made bus drivers and forget your supposed misdemeanor with the camera and take you back.Any way I am pleased that I am not the only one who prefers the 'hum drum'.

Anonymous said...

Pet Peeve Alert!

I hate it when people do this when you are on cruise. And its not just busses and coaches either. You'll be trundling along on a quiet motorway, your cruise set at a speedo reading of 72mph, the idiot in lane 1 hits an upward hill and slows down to about 60mph, you pull out, overtake, but before you get gap to pull in, hit the downward part where idiot speeds up to 72.1mph and sits on your inside flank. PICK A BLASTED SPEED AND STICK WITH IT FOR HEAVENS SAKE!

wipes froth from mouth and meanders off muttering...

Mark said...

Hi, I am a coach driver. Sit there, but slowly edge to the left. They suddenly drop back whn they see this happening!