Monday, 15 March 2010

Ye gods, that was CLOSE!

So... There I was, in the middle trip of todays' duty, driving down the 40mph dual carriageway at the western end of the route, doing about 35 mph or so... which was quite amazing, given that half the buses we have apparently won't rise above 30 mph even with a down hill slope and a back wind!

Anyhow, about half way along the dual carriageway, I was overtaken by a fast moving Astra-sized car, doing well over the odds - I estimated at least 60mph - and without any warning or signalling, dove into lane one, then without any apparent pause for thought, let alone mirror-signal-manoeuvre, in order, did the following:

  • Slammed his anchors on going from warp speed to dead slow, in what seemed like an instant,
  • Indicated left, and
  • Mounted the kerb to get to the off-road parking.

An aside while you get popcorn during the advertising break...

As any driving instructor will tell you, when the speed of the vehicle in front dramatically decreases through aggressive braking, the two-second rule tends to rapidly become the zero-second crash. Now, the two-second rule is fine and dandy, but I generally like having a bit more on dual carriageways - bus brakes tend to behave slightly differently at higher speeds - I know they shouldn't, but that's how it feels to me. Check this out: on safe truck stopping distances. It's a good rule of thumb, I think, and I tend to follow that more than I do the car stopping distances guidelines. Just as well, given this incident.

Anyhow, by this point in time, I was:
  • Braking hard - cancel that, I was damn near standing on the brake pedal which by now was probably trying to gouge a foot-deep furrow in the tarmac - and
  • Trying not to defecate masonry, while
  • Conducting a rapid suicide avoidance glance in the offside mirror,
  • Indicating right,
  • Pulling into lane two,
  • Missing the sodding madman by millimetres, and
  • Indicating left and
  • Pulling back into lane one,
  • All while probably shouting something vaguely religious and profane at the same time...

I'm still amazed none of my passengers went flying out of their seats, or even complained. It meant one of two things:
  • That they were used to hard avoidance manoeuvres from watching the movies ("Speed" comes to mind), or
  • That they were all asleep at the time.

Frankly, I didn't much care, as long as none of them had been tossed about the bus like dice in a cup. Either way, that madman needs to buck his ideas up - especially as he was sporting a minicab licence lozenge in his back window.

I know, I know, minicabs LIKE cutting up messing with and generally peeing off Bus Drivers in general, but the manoeuvre that this muppit pulled was a whole order of magnitude more insane than the usual muck they pull.

Let's face it: Having the 18 fully laden tons of an Alexander Dennis Trident double-decker bus stuffed lengthways up ones' chuff is, after all is said and done, a pretty massively silly and embarrassing way to commit suicide...

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