Crazy drivers

I got up in good time today, as I intended to do something rare; that was to go out on my own, to visit the Muckleburgh Military Collection at Weybourne, on the north coast. The twenty-mile drive would only take around thirty minutes, and allowing for some time at the museum, I would be back in plenty of time for Ollie’s walk, and he would not be left alone for too long.

As it doesn’t open until 10, I left home around 9.40 after the morning commuters were long gone, and the local country roads fairly quiet. However, in the space of the next twenty minutes, I was to have three narrow escapes from potentially serious car accidents that could have left me badly injured, or perhaps even dead.

Less than five minutes into the drive, I noticed a car ahead pulling out from a side turning, indicating a right turn. The windows of the small car were fogged up and obscured, the driver having not bothered to clear them before leaving home. As I got closer, the car just turned, seemingly oblivious of my presence. I stamped on the brakes, managing to stop before hitting the side of the car. The young female driver didn’t even glance at me as she passed, confirming my suspicions that she had not even noticed my car approaching.

Some time later, with the roads clear ahead, I approached the small village of Thornage. Up ahead, I could see a Post Office van parked on the left, and the postman was returning to it, having posted some mail into the adjacent cottage. As I drew level, I indicated to overtake the parked van, checking that there was nothing coming the other way. Suddenly, the van pulled away from the side, and accelerated alongside my car, the driver yet again oblivious to my presence. This left me driving on the wrong side of the road, and I blew the horn, and dropped back. The postman then braked hard, almost causing me to drive into the back of him. He waved me past, and as I looked at him, he mouthed the word ‘Sorry’. All I could do was to shake my head at him, and reflect on another lucky escape.

Just outside Thornage, the road narrows significantly, as you approach the town of Holt. There are signs indicating this. They say things like ‘Road Narrows’, ‘Oncoming Traffic In The Middle Of The Road’, and ‘Slow’. Because it is hard for two vehicles to pass, small areas have been provided as passing places, and as high hedges obscure the bends, it is very difficult to see what might be coming around them. Fortunately, I have driven this way many times, and was aware of the problems. As a result, I was going significantly slower than the speed limit.

Approaching one of the obscured bends, I saw a large truck coming at me. The driver must have been travelling in excess of 60 m.p.h., and his vehicle took up almost all of the available road space. I stopped immediately, and watched him come on, sure that he would drive straight into the front of my car at speed. At what seemed the last minute, he noticed me and applied his air brakes. In a cloud of dust, and a hiss of air, he managed to stop less than six feet from my front bumper. The young man driving didn’t bother to acknowledge his dangerous behaviour. Instead, he slammed the truck into reverse, and backed up into one of the passing places. As I drove slowly past his vehicle, he ducked down, as if to retrieve something, presumably to avoid my gaze.

I continued to Weybourne, considering myself lucky to be alive, and praising the four-wheel disc brakes fitted to my car. On some of the quietest roads in England, I had escaped disaster not once, but three times. In less than thirty minutes.
Small wonder I don’t go out much…

There will be some photo posts about the Military Collection, in due course.

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45 thoughts on “Crazy drivers

  1. Oh my heavens, Pete…It appears that this time of year over there is the same here. It’s not safe to be on the roadways with the changing of the weather. I am still confused as to why the Canadians who were born here in this country, don’t ever and I mean ever slow down when the 1st Month of Bad Weather hits. Heck, I’m from Florida and know that it is necessary to reduce speeds when the roads are bad or the windows fog terribly due to hot and cold air colliding. The first month of Winter I don’t go on the roads very much at all.. It’s a shame I have to be housebound just to stay alive during these times when the Canadians are figuring out the weather and the road conditions are not as good as in summer… There I’ve vented… 🙂

    I’m so glad you returned home alright… Take care, Laura

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    1. Thanks, Laura. I doubt I could cope on those icy roads and dark mornings myself. I have always hated driving in the snow. We are never prepared for it here, and it always feels so dangerous.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pete, I’ve grown over the plus 30 years to know the icy roads like the back of my hand… But, I still air on caution during that first month of winter … Snow tires are in place, snow brush for the windows in place, and windshield fluid stocked… I’m ready….. 🙂

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  2. I am glad not to be doing as much driving now, mostly local, but as far as I’m concerned the whole country is a giant Wacky Races full of Dick Dastardly’s in BMW’s and Penelope Pitstops in little hatchbacks. Glad you made it through!

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    1. Thanks, FR. Driving seems to have changed a great deal since I started in 1969! Perhaps it is all the in-car entertainment, mobile communications, computerised dashboards, and satnavs. So much to do, driving becomes secondary.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I have an (almost) 10-year old Zafira. I have never bothered to figure out the dashboard computer, and only ever use the radio on one station, or stick in a CD. The aircon broke because I have never used it, and I couldn’t afford the £700 to fix it, so just carry on opening the windows! But Ollie has a big space in the boot, so that’s all I need for now.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Scary indeed. Sometimes people who drive along small roads are so used to there being no traffic that they don’t pay enough attention. My dad was born in a tiny hamlet in Galicia (North West of Spain) and apart from the roads, that were narrow and winding with poor visibility at times, the locals always seemed to drive in the middle of the road, that caused quite a few hairraising moments.

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  4. Lucky you to survive, Pete! I’m not fond of driving the winding country roads at all so I happily let Klausbernd do the driving (on the wrong side for me). It always amazes me to see the big lorries and the enormous mobile homes struggling to get around the corner in Holt …phew.
    I have never visited the Muckleburgh Military Collection, but I definetely want to a have a go on the Poppy Line from Holt to Sheringham. Did you ever go?
    Greetings from Fredrikstad,
    Dina x

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  5. Pete, glad to hear that you are ok. You are not selling this driving malarkey to me! I shall stick with trains and loud phone calls… At least they won’t kill me… I hope!

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  6. I’ve had a few close calls, and one harrowing experience (on Sept. 11, 2001, no less!). Here in Nevada, we have those crazy “California drivers” who take speed limits with a grain of salt and run through red lights as if they are color blind. I’ve always been a wary driver who obeyed the rules of the road. We all make mistakes, of course, but some people don’t even try to drive correctly. I’m very glad you avoided bodily injury (or worse) while driving those country roads in Norfolk. What’s up with people these days? When they make mistakes, rather than assume responsibility for them, they either dismiss, deny, or duck and run….

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    1. Like everything in society, driving is suffering from the same ills. Nobody wants to take any responsibility for their own actions, whether behind the wheel, or away from the car.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  7. I never wanted to drive in Crete because so many drivers there haven’t a clue (or are driving illegally and have never taken a test). The thought of driving on English roads again fills me with horror. It’s better here on the I.O.W but when I finally get a car as and when my eyes have been sorted, it’s still going to be a baptism of fire and I’m not at all sure I’ll be willing to drive on the mainland. I’m thankful you are ok, Pete, and that your reactions are highly tuned.

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    1. Driving on Crete was one of my worst experiences, in the mid 1980s. Not so much that the drivers were bad, but the side roads were poorly maintained, with no crash barriers, few signs, and huge drops into certain death below!
      I think you will be fine on the IOW, but the M27, M3 and surrounding link roads might seem like a racetrack to you these days!
      Best wishes, Pete. x

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  8. I noticed that in Norfolk Pete, and it is the same down here where the roads are even narrower, people tear round bends without considering someone may be coming in the opposite direction. I crawl around them so at least I can stop! And I do think a lot of drivers stop checking their mirrors and just pull out or change lanes without a thought. I’m glad you got to Weybourne in one piece – did you drive a tank?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I was actually disappointed in the place. All the vehicles were inside, crammed into poorly-lit sheds. They were ferrying people around on an old army lorry for £3 a head, but I was upset to see no tanks outside. I got lots of photos, including a V-1 rocket and a Harrier Jet outside, as well as what I could squeeze into the 28MM end of the lens inside. But I thought it was poorly displayed and organised, and not worth the £11 entry fee, to be honest.

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    1. Thanks, Jen and Gary. What is it about people in the country? I never had such issues in a big city like London. Around here, they all drive like they are the only car on the road!
      Best wishes, Pete.

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