The Government announced that a stretch of the UK’s motorway system would used to trial an 80mph limit (see: M20 in Kent could trial 80mph motorway speed limit plan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-17455760). The stretch they’ve chosen? A part of the M20 between Junction 4 and 7. That news, that the Government felt the 70mph limit had become out-dated, came on a day everyone got stuck on the very same M20 following an accident. Well, not everyone as there were people travelling in the opposite direction and on other roads. Saying everyone sounds better than I got stuck on the M20: that sounds as though I was the only one affected and it was personal! It was nothing of the kind… Still, it took me a good half-an-hour to crawl the few miles from Junction 4 to Junction 6. Two lanes had been closed, so three lines of vehicles had to squeeze down one. I left work early that day, and arrived late to pick up George from the childminder’s.
It seemed strange to us at our depot that the Government should choose the busiest stretch of the M20. In that area they enforce a variable speed limit. If they reduced the limit instead of increase it, the Government might actually save electricity. The signs burn brightly every morning in rush-hour telling the good motorway users they can only go up to 60mph. Not that a mere warning sign interferes with the need for some people to get to work yesterday. Far from offer the opportunity to go faster, some individuals should be stopped from using any mode of transport swifter than Shank’s Pony (unless of course they are not driving). Some people are clearly not cut out for this new-fangled-speed lark.
The accident to which I referred above was almost certainly caused by speed: and a lorry-driver changing lanes late and not using his mirror. Not a good combination on a busy road. I must confess, I lost my cool in my hot car. I do that, now and then; lose my cool. My thoughts surround me and the injustice of my predicament overwhelms me, and I think; “How stupid I must look being angry at a situation no-one can control”. At that moment on the M20 my mind filled with loathing aimed at those involved: it had to be someone’s fault! That’s the way insurance companies look at it, isn’t it?! My sympathy trickled away like the petroleum spirit in my tank, drawn by the idling car engine. Up ahead I saw a car pull onto the hard-shoulder; steam bellowing from its overheated engine. A nervous eye glanced at my own temperature gauge as I thought; They should throw the book at them! The rabid, raving right-winger in my leapt to the fore: hang ‘em, burn ‘em, flog ‘em! Capital punishment’s too good for ‘em! Eventually it was my turn to filter down the last lane open and in the corner of my eye I could see the roof of the car involved standing by the central reservation. The Fire Brigade had had to cut another victim out. Sympathy flooded back and I drove on in silence… Radio 3 serenaded the relief I felt to be moving again.