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Sunday, 15 May 2011

More Motorway Madness: Creating Road Rage on the M40

Yesterday I drove from Brighton to Worcester, setting off at six am for a small stamp fair where I had taken a table. It was sunny even at six, the road was clear and I was happy: I could have been on the Autobahn.

Then I joined the M40 and very shortly the overhead gantries were flashing orange, reducing speed to 50 mph, and warning us "Animals Loose in Road. Slow Down". This went on for a couple of miles (there are overhead signs every few hundred yards now - there is always money for road signs).

Were there animals in the road? Of course not. Had there been animals in the road? Perhaps. Were there going to be animals in the road? Perhaps. Did we need to be warned of a possible world in which there might be animals in the road? Probably not.

Would they have set off flashing lights and warnings on the Autobahn? No: for the simple reason that Germany hasn't yet been cowed and tricked into spending vast sums on signs which flash up false information.

Calm down, dear, I said to myself. But then they started up again. For the next twenty miles I had to endure Thought for the Day: "Check Your Fuel Level". At this point, I discover that over a lifetime I have acquired a colourful repertoire of obscenities.

Even more infuriating, in the full knowledge that I had filled my tank only the previous evening, I checked my fuel level. This is how Nanny gets to you, undermining your self-confidence and hold on reality.

I bet you other drivers react to the fatuous Nannying on these gantries as I do, maybe even more so, so that the net effect is to make us worse drivers than we would otherwise be.

Switch them all off. I am sure they cause accidents.

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