The Blog of Zakspade
|January 2017 Archive|
Driving with Manfred Mann's Earth
At this time of year when I walk home, it is dark
I’m not afraid of the dark. However, I am afraid that the designers of modern cars have rushed headlong into a race to the bottom.
Of course, it isn’t just the manufacturers who seem to have left their brain in bed when they got up in the morning. Many drivers seem hell bent upon demonstrating either their arrogance or ignorance in the way they drive on well-lit town streets.
Why a car needs to have headlights that blind oncoming vehicles and pedestrians, I really do not know. When the ground is wet, the effect is to swamp the highway with light sources that obscure other users of that same road.
There strongly appears to be an element of, I’m alright, Jack taking place. See my lights, see me, fuck you!
Well, it appears that way. If car drivers were forced to walk alongside the very roads they speed up and down on their way home from the office, then they would understand just how much they are doing to just smother any chance of anyone making out what exactly is happening.
If they walked more, then there would be no raised eyebrows when reading of yet another cyclist knocked off their bicycle, or a child having been run down.
And those who doubt me - have you seen those cars fitted with fog lights that turn on singly when indicating left or right? Yes, highly annoying, I agree. It is just an admission by manufacturers that they given up trying to put proper indicators on their products to overcome the blinding light produced by their very own headlights.
Currently the limits are 55/60 watts per headlight, dipped/main beam. It was the same in the 70s. In the meantime, the technology to support headlamp shell design has created an unbearable lightness of being on today’s roads.
So there is a problem. Could it get any worse?
Ah, I forgot to mention the morons who drive with their fog lights on.
Properly adjusted fog lights point their beams down. So darkness isn’t too bad a time to have one of the mentally subnormal cretins heading towards you. However, once you throw in a little light rain, you have even more confusion thrown into the mix.
But who cares? They have lots of lights and you can see them (or something) coming.
Some more, I’m alright, Jack while the rest of us are blinded by the light.
I walk to work.
The route I take is through the development upon which I live; part of a neighbouring housing estate; along a main road leading into town; then through the town centre before crossing a park to where I spend time in order to seek money for my labours.
Only ten minutes of my walk are along that main road into town. I join it halfway along and turn off to cut through behind a supermarket into the town centre.
During that ten minutes I am passed by six to eight HGV lorries. I’m ignoring rigid-body vehicles as I know someone out there will start arguing about whether I have correctly identified a vehicle over 7.5 tonnes. I am referring solely to articulated lorries.
Big deal. Except...
...except that each end of the road are clearly marked with 7.5t notices.
So, if during those ten minutes I manage to see that many HGV lorries; how many go up and down that road each day? I suppose it would be foolish to extrapolate and claim over 1,000 HGVs break the law every day.
If they adhere to working hours of the industrial estate at one end of the road, or the other over the other side of town and reached via this road if the bypass is bypassed; and if we presume that the numbers are higher at the time I walk down that stretch of road; and if we arbitrarily determine that no one is open and visited by an HGV at weekends, then we could believe that 500 lorries a week ignore the road signs.
A little digging uncovered that the average fine for exceeding the 7.5 tonne weight limit is £452 (the maximum is £2,500). My very simple calculator tells me that works out to £226,000 per week.
As the police and local authorities seem blind to the fact that HGV drivers are breaking the law, I am offering my services to them. I propose standing midway along the road, Monday - Friday, and issuing notices of intended prosecution to those who are too stupid to drive a lorry. All I ask is for a 10% cut of the fines.
I’m happy to stand out in all weathers for £2,260 each week, or £108,480 if I allow myself four weeks off each year.
Today I was passed by only six HGV lorries. Of that six, three of them were HGV driving schools. Three different driving schools take huge amounts of money from people hoping to attain a standard to obtain an HGV Class 1 licence - and yet the instructors either do not know what the signs mean or they are too stupid to teach others to drive.