So once again the Men and Women of the North Wales Police force are pushing a campaign to make the roads safer. With a ‘Fatal 5’ series of checks.
In case you are unaware The Fatal 5 are :-
- Drink/Drug Drive
- Not Wearing a SpeedBelt
- Dangerous Driving
- Using a Mobile Phone
Now We here at The Three Ninjas Temple fully support their attempts to cut down on people breaking those Five dangerous laws. But we feel there Should be a sixth one added to the list (Suicidal Six)
I know that they are allowed on the roads, but Consider it for a minute. To be allowed onto the DANGEROUS and fast roads on either a Motorbike or a Car you have to pass tests, both written and practical. You have to prove you know the Laws, Rules and can travel the highways of this country safely and without causing danger to others.
BUT! If you wish to travel the same roads on a push-bike, you just buy one and start off. You are sharing the road with vehicles that can travel a lot faster than you, and will do a lot of damage to you if you are not careful, yet you need no test or training.
How often have you been driving and seen a cyclist just pull out at a junction without waiting for a gap, Or just going right out on roundabout (I’ve even seen them go the wrong way around them) Because they do not have to learn the rules of the road, or abide by the laws, and worse. They know if they get hit it will be the driver of the cars fault!
Additionally consider the road rage they inspire, by travelling at a crawl on country roads where its impossible to overtake with them right in the middle of the lane, so the drivers of the cars stuck behind them are almost stalling from travelling so slow.
This morning there was one at a crossroads, He wanted to go straight across, but it was a busy road and he was waiting for the traffic to stop so he could cross. But he was waiting in the middle of the road, preventing cars passing on the inside if they were turning left and did not need to wait for a gap. The tail back was for miles, and several cars got annoyed after waiting for ten minutes and were forced into dangerous driving.
I really believe a lot of lives would be saved, if the police included Push Bikes in their campaign. And pulled them over to check they not drunk, on drugs, stupid, and at least know the laws of the road.
As I was on my commute home after work Friday I noticed my battery warning light was glowing. “By Jove, that’s a devilishly unfortunate occurrence” I exclaimed, (Well I think those may not have been the exact words used).
Now I have had problems in the past with my alternator, so I hoped it was either a dead battery, or just the alternator playing up. My commute is over the Welsh mountains, where there is no phone signal in the slightest, So I decided to drive on in the hope that :-
- If the battery was dead. I could keep driving fine off the alternator as long as I did not have to stop and restart the vehicle.
- If the Alternator was dead. I could get home as long as I did not over use the charge stored in the battery.
Option 2 was a bit tricky as it was pouring down with rain and dark, I should have had my lights & wipers on, but I am MAN. so I needed no lights, and minimum wipers. Unfortunately my plans were destroyed when I made a right turn at a junction. I had slowed down partially, and tried using the breaks as I turned only for it to feel weird. Confused by this event as I mounted the top of a hill and started to drive down a steep incline, I noticed as I adjusted speed to manage the twisting turns of the road that each time I used the brakes there was less and less there until the time I put my foot on the pedal and there was nothing there. *Don’t Panic!*
I came safely to a stop using the age old breaking technique of mounting the grassy bank at the side of the road for the grass/mud to slow the vehicle down, then finalising the stop with the handbrake. Upon checking the engine I discovered my “Alternator Belt” or “Fan Belt” (depending on your age) had come off.
So I found myself, standing over a internal combustion engine, big metal engineering tools held in my oil stained hands roaring up at the heavens as they poured rain down on me. “I AM MAN HEAR ME ROAR!!!!” You Know, working in an office based Job you sometimes forget the feeling of manly work. If there had been a woman in the area I would have asked for a stocking to really be manly in fixing the car.
I soon got bored of this activity and decided to sit inside the car while waiting for the engine to cool down enough to let me re-attach the belt. (Since the belt also controlled the oil pump & radiator fan the engine was a tad hot)
When I could safely work on the engine it was a five minute job to reattach the belt, which was a lot less time than spent looking manly and roaring earlier. And my trip home continued with me driving very calmly as the belt was frayed, twisted, and not the healthiest. I actually made it the last ten miles home with the belt, before some woman stepped out in front of me two hundred yards from my place and as I swerved around her I heard a SNAP, as the belt finally gave up the ghost. At least it had got me home.
I need to add one more section on this story before I bid you farewell dear constant reader. On the Saturday I popped into town to go to a Car Accessories and Parts place to get a replacement belt. Now I have used the same place for years, since its a lot cheaper than most because it sells to mechanics and car part shops. So I pull up outside the warehouse near the customer door, only to be confronted by a sign saying they now have a shiny new shop across the road, for customers to use. I manage to cross the four lanes of very busy traffic to enter the shop, which looks more like a normal car accessory shop than a parts place. I order my belt, the guy behind the counter checks the exact one I need, takes my money, then tells me I need to go to their main building across the road to collect my part. Yes. They send you across four busy lanes of traffic to order your part, then back across them to collect it. From now on I order over the phone.
This morning on my way to the Insane Asylum I had to stop off at a small garage (Gas Station) to fill up my vehicle with diesel. Nothing special about that, It happens at least once a week, or more commonly twice a week due to my superstition about filling up my tank in one go (Which I may explain at some point in the future). Now the reason I’m blogging about a common, normal everyday activity is the following.
I pulled into the strangely busy Garage forecourt, which normally has one or maybe two cars parked to either fill-up or use the shop. I once saw it on a particularly busy day with four cars there. This morning, including my car there was one vehicle at every pump (So eight in total) with a further nine parked at different parts of the small forecourt. Seventeen Cars, SEVENTEEN!
Now as I filled up, I was the only person in sight. All the cars were empty, and no one was walking about. When I walked into the Garage itself (which I should point out is a small room, with a counter, and a small office/toilet at the back which you could fit maybe three people in if they were “very familiar”) One man walked out. There was also one person behind the counter serving, So with myself three people to account for seventeen cars? SEVENTEEN? where were the other fourteen people? there was no way they could all be in the back room. In fact the only way they could be in the building at all would be if there was some sort of secret government facility underneath the garage.
Well I guess, Zombie outbreak?, Mass murderess who kidnap customers and throw them into an empty underground fuel store “It puts the lotion on its skin, else it gets the hose again!“?, Alien abduction? are also possibilities, but I tell you this now, I for one will not be using that particular garage again unarmed.
Public Service Announcement
I feel that some assistance may be needed among my fellow drivers in identifying the strange flashing blue lights, often accompanied by a strange siren like noise that you occasionally spot while driving. And more importantly the correct way to react in these situations.
When you see the lights or hear the siren do not panic, you are not about to be attacked by aliens or some mythical creature. All that is happening is an emergency vehicle (Ambulance, Fire-engine, Police Car, etc.) has been called to an emergency and is passing close to you in its route. There is nothing to fear.
The correct response is to “Safely” pull over to the side of the road if needed to allow the vehicle past you. Remember time is of the essence, so they need to get to the emergency A.S.A.P. to possibly save lives. So as long as it is safe do what you can to allow the speedy process of the vehicle. Its as simple as that.
Here ends the Public Service Announcement.
And I will recount the instance that has prompted this post. It happened today on my way home from work. I was traveling along the road and had come to a crossroads. The lights were on for cars joining the road from a side road, only those turning right had come to a stop due to lights further down the road. It was at this point I heard the sirens of an Ambulance travelling towards me. As it got nearer and was about to pass the junction a large Van decided it was not waiting for space and pulled out to turn right even though there was no space, so it was on the “Yellow Box” which in UK road laws you are not allowed to enter unless your exit is clear. Worse than that, as it was a large van, and at an angle it completely blocked the junction forcing the Ambulance to come to a stop, and wait for all the other cars to move and mount pavements so the van could go on its way freeing up the junction for the Ambulance. Hopefully the delayed arrival time did not make the difference between life&death. It did make me wish a little maliciously that it was heading to the home of the van driver.
Last Friday it was pointed out to me that the sidelight on the drivers side was not working on my car. Now changing the bulbs on a car is a simple task so I pencilled in doing some maintenance at the weekend.
So Saturday afternoon I pop the hood and look at the back of the light fitting to see what kind of bulb I need. Imagine my surprise when I realised the lamp I wanted was behind a bit of metal chassis. OK. Not to worry, I have the owners manual so I’ll check what they say about bulb replacement.
The entry for side lights & indicators was simply “For this task we suggest taking the vehicle to your supplier for them to deal with” WTF?? Since when has replacing a simple sidelight bulb needed the vehicle dealers to do? Pah at them.
So I take a look to see how big a job it is to gain access to the bulb. Right. to gain access to the back of the lighting unit you have to remove the lighting unit. So far so simple. Only the lighting unit is behind the front grill & bodywork. So you have to remove the front of the car to get at the lighting unit, to remove the lighting unit to gain access to the lamp to simply unplug it, and plug a new one in.
How fraking stupid is that design ?
Several hours of major mechanical work just to get access to a 30 second maintenance job.
Needless to say, my side light is still not working.
Just a quickie post: The Blog equivalent of a Knee trembler on the fire-escape at the back of a night club. Or if you was a Tiv Regular back in “the good ole days!” then a quick visit to that middle floor seating area.
Hang on… I’ve gone of topic slightly, and to be fair any mention of the Tiv deserves a full blog post for itself. Maybe someday… Right, for now back to “the Big Picture” of this quick post, and the lesson for the week that I wish to impart to you.
One Last tangent: 10 Film Geek Points to anyone who connects the post title to the content. (easy one)
R: “You know for a <quote>Just a quickie post</quote> you have so far “babbled” for 112 words?“
GN: “You actually counted them? Sheeeesh, you have way too much time on your hands!”
R: “Duh!!!! If I did not, I wouldn’t be reading your blog would I?“
GN: “Fair Point. I’ll give you that. Now Back to the story…..“
To tell you the truth, I’ve now forgotten what I was going to post about, “Hey it is a Monday morning. I can be forgiven!” The Big Picture, that was it.
This morning as I drove to work I was stopped on a hill by the car in front of me wishing to turn right, and was waiting for a break in the oncoming traffic or a nice driver to stop and let him cross. We were there for quite a while as a silly amount of cars came past in a constant stream. After about five minutes the driver gave up and drove on, planning on taking a different longer route to where he wanted to go.
Now if he had looked at “The Bigger Picture” or at least ocular mapped the area, he would have realised two important things.
1) The reason there was so much traffic coming down the hill was due to the road works slightly higher up the hill, which were on Red for us, Green for them.
2) If he waited for lights to change he could have turned with no problem.
As it was he drove past his turning and got stuck in the row of cars waiting for the lights to change.
So people, Always look at the big picture. Take that extra few seconds to look outside of your comfort zone. See why things are as they are, and how they affect you. You could end up saving yourself a lot of hassle and problems.
Remember Rome was not built in a day. But with modern technology we could flatten it in minutes. It makes you think!