I have a basic rule when I’m driving. My standards are correct and every other vehicle on the road is under the control of an idiot.
Today’s trip home from Anglesey backed up this theory and I aimed a series of expletives at multiple imbeciles on the daytime journey home.
I confess, I take the view that speed limits are there for breaking. Unless you’re in North Wales where traffic enforcement matters neatly as much as the local constabulary’s concerns about sheep rustling.
In the rest of the UK I work on the basis of speed limit, plus 10% minus one as my standard speed. 32mph, 43mph, 54mph, 65mph and 76mph are my standards. In North Wales I go 30,40,50,60,70 to avoid upsetting the local traffic gestapo who have an evil reputation for upholding the letter of the law.
And here begins the problem. I can only assume the Anglesey locals are all on nine penalty points. A perfectly safe road moves from 30mph built up area to national speed limit. Level with the sign of the black diagonal line with a white background, marking a doubling to 60mph limit, the road has the words “ARAF” and “SLOW” painted on it.
Why the hell would you double speed limit at the exact moment you demand traffic slows in two sodding languages? Beats me. But the locals are very keen to drive ARAFLY and typically maintain a speed of 35mph in this 60mph zone. I’m not talking tractors here. Audis. Mercedes. Vauxhalls and the rest. Shuffling along at a speed so hideously slow that they would surely fail their driving test if they were forced to resit it.
Joy in eventually reaching the Britannia Bridge to leave Anglesey. Ecstasy at there not being a queue on it for the first time in living memory. Still, confusion for the handful of cars heading east as, en masse, the responded to driving the 50mph limit by ceasing to use their accelerators at 40mph. WTF is this all about?
The frustrations with other drivers reduced a little as the dual carriageway that is the A55 commenced and I could cruise through the outside lane without being needlessly delayed by halfwits. There is a part of this 70mph stretch of modern highway that mysteriously reduces its speed limit to 30mph as it negotiates curves on the cliff. It’s a pathetic choice of speed by the authorities but quickly corrected at maximum speed is restored until the English border.
The M56 starts. Three lanes. Busy, but not excessively so. I find my steady 70ish speed works in the outside lane, occasionally pulling in to the middle allowing more adventurous drivers past. And then a new game begins.
White van man in the middle lane has slowed to around 45mph. I pull out to overtake him at a comfortable speed. He chooses to join me in the outside lane ahead of me. I slam my brakes on to avoid certain death. He accelerates generously to 50mph maintaining his position in the outside lane. Only matching the speed of the cars left in the middle lane.
Despite my BMW manual saying I should now be flashing my headlights, waving him maniacally out of my way and maintaining a gap of no more than two feet from his tail I retain a more composed approach of cursing him loudly within my car, which he obviously can’t hear. Eventually he returns to the middle lane and I lead a large party of other cars past him. I resist the temptation to let loose an appropriate hand gesture.
As we progressed to M6 and the M62 we experienced the evils of the average speed check. But outside these zones multiple other numpties approaching my car at a faster speed than me. This is normally fine and each time I willingly pull over into the middle lane to let them past. Their speed appears to be 1mph more than mine. They inch past. Pull back into the middle lane in front of me. And then reduce their speed forcing me to overtake them. It’s a bewildering habit that must have affected my journey on at least five occasion today.
Those wide and empty American highways seem a long time ago now!