Dicing with death?
Following on from my blog about ‘idiot season’, I feel compelled to write about my experience today.
I was heading off to Glasgow, via Stirling dropping my Mum at Lix Toll to collect her car. It was meant to be my last ‘fun’ drive in my FD2 Civic Type R – as mentioned in my blog yesterday. I was sad in one way, but also realised that it was time to get a ‘sensible’ car. Good grief. The Civic has barely turned a wheel since I became addicted to motorcycling. What a waste.
The first complete arse that I came across was at Glengarry House, my pals’ place, right on the bad corners as you leave Tyndrum. He was parked in his long wheel base van, saw me coming round the bend and pulled out from the layby in front of the house. BRRRRAAAAAKE! It was a ‘stomp and steer’ job. That would at least have got a bit of the rust off my brakes. Concentrating so much, I didn’t even have time to give him international sign language.
Having survived that wee episode, we drove down to Crianlarich. Glad that I wasn’t going down the Loch Lomond road, we approached the bend before the straight that leads you to Portnellan Lodges.
As I approached the bend, I could see an oncoming car, with a queue of traffic behind it. With the split second I had to take it all in, there were at least 4 cars being followed by an HGV and a tour bus. What was wrong with the picture was the small van with a ladder on the roof, coming at me on our side of the road. He could only have been overtaking the entire line of traffic, as there were no apparent gaps in the line of traffic. I had that split second of reaction time, before we had a head on collision. I was doing the NSL, really I was. I avoided the van by driving through the layby (the one in the picture). I didn’t brake, I didn’t panic, I just took the only option that was available to me and I think I probably maintained my speed too. To say it shook me up was this year’s understatement. My hair was on end and I got the serious shivers. Bless Mum, she gasped, and then very quickly changed the subject. I didn’t even have time to get a dose of tourettes.
I only hope that someone in that queue of traffic caught up with the guy, (yes, it could only have been a bloke doing an idiot overtake like that) and smashed him in the face. The good thing about having Mum in the car for sure, was if I had been on my own, I may have been driving a tad more *cough* progressively. Thankfully, I wasn’t going at mach 3 with my pants on fire, because I probably wouldn’t have survived the head on collision.
Once again, I have to take my hat off to the IAM and the education I have had received through the years. It kept me alive. When we say that the Skill for Life package is the best £139 you will EVER spend, it’s true.
This was by far the closest call I have ever had in a vehicle in all the 29 years I have been driving. Had the layby not been there, goodness knows what the result would have been. The thought of the local fire brigade being called out and seeing the remains of a Honda crumpled at the side of the road and for them to find Mum and I…. let’s not go there.
So, my adventure packed, vtec filled drive to Glasgow via Stirling was a bitty more sedate than planned. The roads were busy, so didn’t get to have a last ‘blast’ in The Beast. The good news was though, at least I made it to the Honda garage!
I must have had an invisibility cloak on though, the near misses continued. A car pulled out of the junction in Doune into my path. More rust taken off my brake discs. Then the taxi driver on the motorway who was tailgating me so much I could see up his nostrils. Oh, the temptation was there to give my brakes a wee tap, however, I am not one for road rage of any sort, so was glad when I got the opportunity to pull in and let him passed me. Really, what was the bloody rush?
I picked up my lovely new car, and boy, I was relieved to get there in one piece. I was still shaking when I got there too!
Driving up the M77 to catch the motorway back to Stirling (no, I wasn’t lost, I had visited my buddy) I had set the cruise control at 50, being it was a 50 limit. I was in the fast lane, given that the slip road coming up was always choca-block with cars coming onto the motorway, I had two men undertake me at the slip road, shaking their heads at me as they passed. Pffft. What a day.
My new chariot ticks lots of boxes for me. The FD had a steering wheel and a stereo, that was about it. I now have all the bells and whistles. One of the freakiest things that goes along with the reversing camera is the nearside mirror which tips down automatically to let you get a better view of the pavement. Nice. There’s lots of other gadgets and doo-dahs, too many to mention. It handles beautifully and she lifts her skirts nicely when you want a bit of oomph! All good. Happy to be alive.