Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Sunday Drivers

I’m doing a coaching course at the moment. It involves three full Sundays, not great timing as it means another day per week away from the family. I have to be in Slough at 9am too, necessitating an uncomfortably early start.

Last Sunday’s was a lovely drive over the south Downs, taking it easy in the corners because of the frost. There wasn’t much traffic around, but what there was ran smoothly at the speed limit or a little above, and was generally being sensible. Then a quick run up from Milford to Slough via the A3/M25 all without incident, not having exceeded 90mph, but making the 70 miles in a little over an hour..

After the training, I left Slough at around 4pm in the afternoon. From the M4/Slough West exit to Datchet is a long straight stretch of road that used to be 3-lane, but is now 2 lanes with the centre section crosshatched (broken white line) because there were some nasty Darwin crashes in the middle last year.

After the roundabout at the start of the straight there were two vehicle in front, both doing 40mph (it’s a NSL). Neither seemed interested in picking up the pace, so I pulled out to overtake – there was only one vehicle approaching in opposite direction – and slowly drifted past, no more than ½ throttle in 4th as there was plenty of room Mr 40mph saw me coming past and accelerates hard in his V6 auto 406 Coupe. Once its clear what’s happening I decide he’s not worth it and fall in behind.

A few minutes later, I reached Windsor Great Park (now a 50mph limit, but generally a fast open stretch of road). I was in another queue of 40mph traffic, probably a dozen cars following a struggling white transit van. I slide past a couple, but there was heavy on-coming traffic.

After the Ascot ‘peanut’ roundabout, the queue is still doing no more than 40mph along the two long straight sections of the A329 towards Ascot, this time all NSL National Speed Limit, or 60mph in this case). There was no on-coming traffic so I safely overtake about 6 cars on the first section, at no great speed in 3rd gear. On the second straight section, there was still no oncoming traffic (visibility at least 1 mile to the junction ahead, and no side turnings) and I pull out and slide past the rest, all strictly IAM one-at-a-time stuff.

Four folks flash their lights and wave their fists. Presumably in appreciation of my fine driving, as it surely can’t be in impotent rage and avarice.

Later on, I bang the Cayman up to 7200rpm in 3rd, having now run it in for 1100miles. This was on a deserted section of quiet open road next to Ascot racecourse. It used to be a NSL, but is now inexplicably a 40mph limit.

Then head ‘home’ to tea and biscuits & read the paper.

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