or How to drive without driving other road users mad
Great Britain is criss-crossed with a fine system of carriageways quaintly called “Motorways” which for many years have made the job of getting from A to B a lot faster and simpler. The first part of the very first of these highways opened in 1959; it was called the M1 and linked Watford with Rugby. It was later extended both northwards and southwards to link London with Leeds. The very newest is the M6T (T for toll) which links Birmingham NEC with Wolverhampton 27 miles away.
This weekend I’ve had the dubious pleasure of spending approximately 8 hours on the M5 (which links Birmingham with Exeter) and the M6 (which links Rugby M1 Junction with Gretna, almost on the Scottish border). It has been a harrowing experience partly due to congestion caused by the volume of traffic and an accident but also due to the inconsiderate behaviour of some drivers I was forced to share the road with.
Here is a short list of dos and don’ts for prospective Motorway drivers:-
1. Do ensure you have a rear view mirror plus two wing mirrors fitted to your vehicle, and, most importantly, use them. They give you a much clearer picture of what is occurring on the road.
2. Do remember that your vehicle has blind spots, so it’s probably a good idea to glance over your left or right shoulder before making a move into a different lane.
3. Don’t sit in the middle or outside lane unless you are overtaking another vehicle.
4. Do indicate your intention to change lanes before you actually make the move. And then of course, once you are in your new position, cancel the indicator.
5. Don’t attempt to return to the slow lane before you have completely passed the vehicle you are overtaking. This could cause the other driver to press heavily on the horn.
6. Do try to keep your speed to a fairly consistent level especially when using the overtaking lanes. Other drivers may not be pleased at you cutting in front of them and immediately reducing your speed.
7. Don’t attempt to remove items of clothing/eat/drink/use a phone whilst driving. Things could easily get messy.
8. Don’t discard litter or jettison other unwanted items from your vehicle window.
As you might have gathered, mine was an eventful journey, but I’m thankful that I made it home in one piece albeit with heavily frayed nerves. And also with a heavy heart, as I left my beloved first-born at her university accommodation and will probably not see her again until Christmas.