10 May 2013

Bridge over troubled waters (or in this case a railway)

I had to take my car for an MOT test today, so left it at the garage and walked about a mile or so home to wait for the call to collect it again. Near where I live is a little hump-back bridge over the railway. It is often the scene of many a road rage scene. The road narrows just before the bridge on either side so that the road over the bridge is just one-car width. There is a road sign denoting who has priority to cross, should two cars arrive at once from opposite directions. However because of the rise of the hump, it is often quite difficult to see who is coming from the opposite direction.

However, some people don't put their brain into gear when they approach that bridge and use the priority arrow to mean carte blanche for them to go across the bridge without using any other consideration for anyone else. Even if someone from the red-arrow direction is three quarters of the way across the bridge before white arrow car comes hurtling along at great speed, white arrow car will more often than not force red-arrow car backwards three-quarters over the Bridge to their original start point!


At peak times, such as rush-hour or school-run times, it can get quite hairy, as people just don't use their heads. There are often arguments, gestures and I have even seen the occasional physical fight. Confrontations have happened to me in my car several times (quite recently I was red-arrow car going happily across the bridge with nothing in sight at all on the other side, when white-arrow car came hurtling along well over the 30 mph he should have been travelling at, in a souped-up, open-top Porsche and forced me three-quarters of the way backwards. My comments were unprintable!) If I had more time I would sit it out or even call the police, as in fact I did once before when Greg was still alive and sat beside me for moral support.  (The police's view by the way is that people should use common sense when approaching the bridge and not take the sign too literally).
It happened again today, as I walked over that bridge on my way back from the garage. A young woman in a VW Golf was white-arrow car trying to force some middle-aged man in red-arrow car three-quarters of the way backwards over the bridge. He remained cool, got out of his car, still three-quarters over (and blocking) the bridge, strode purposefully towards her car and said something to her. I was out of earshot so could not hear what he said, but behind each of the two opposing cars  a line of other cars was forming, tooting and honking their horns. The man then threw up his arms in mock horror, returned to his car and decided to back up over the bridge (as did all the cars following him), while white-arrow woman revved her engine and then proceeded to sail ceremoniously past him with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. I felt the sudden urge to tap my forehead with my finger at her as she passed me, to indicate what I thought of her. I don't wish her any harm, but can only hope that in the meantime a big pothole has swallowed her up.
Yes, the sign indicates who has priority if you both reach the bridge at the same time and there is any doubt about it, but it does not require you  to leave your brain behind and force backwards someone who is already three-quarters of the way across, just because you technically have priority and arrived well after them. I despair of the human race sometimes.
Oh yeah.... my aged car passed it's MOT for another year. Put the flags out!


Nota Bene said...

Pleased to know you're still on the road. Have you ever seen this:

The Sad Passing of Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm, life isn't always fair, and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place.

Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children

He declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Panadol, sun lotion or a sticky plaster to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar can sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by three stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else is to Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Furtheron said...

I honestly think they should remove most signs and road markings as they are either ignored or followed like your example with blind stupidity. Maybe with less "guidance" people might try to think and importantly compromise.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Pleased to know you're still on the road too. Nota Bene's comment says it all...

Anna :o]

Kelloggs Ville said...

I'm with Furtheron, it's like there is no give and take anymore. I live really close to a similar sort of thing. I've taken photos of people banging on car windows of cars they believe to be in their way etc. I was once forced to mount the pavement as a van refused to let me round despite me apologising profusely and admiting I had made a mistake. He had the right of way and he was going to take it even if it meant going over the top of me! I was neither polite or reasonabe by the end of the run in, a great shame and a dreadful failing on my part.

Flowerpot said...

I agree it's sad that everyone's in a tearing rush and has time for no one else these days.

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