I was stuck in traffic a few days ago for a couple of hours. I put it down to our H&S obsessed society today. Only 10 years ago you could have a multi car pileup. They would drag the vehicles to the side and we would whiz past at 80mph gawking at the damaged vehicles, plod, the ambulances and, if required, the fire brigade. Nowadays the slightest scrape, someone breaks a nail and two lanes of the motorway are closed off for five hours. People crawl along being moved into one lane while plod make sure nobody drives on the hard shoulder. My mistake was not having the radio on because the first warning I got of the jam was after the junction I could have taken to avoid it. Assuming it was warned of anyway. What a useless bunch our traffic people are. Of course they did their job which was to slow us down and generate more tax for the treasury.
It was interesting though watching the other drivers. I was thinking about their reactions if there had been an accident up ahead that blocked the road but which was not being moved by the emergency services. All we were doing was moving into a more compact car parking arrangement. I turned off my engine to save fuel but most did not. I got out and looked around, no movement for miles. Although I had half a tank of fuel plus some spare in the boot and I was less than 10 miles from home I knew that I would never have made it in the car. I was trapped. I did have my usual with me, blankets, coats, gloves etc. but the sun was baking us all. I had my usual food supply plus some sweets to snack on if things had deteriorated and we were stuck too long.
Cars moved on to the hard shoulder and just stopped. Kids getting out to go to the toilet by the side of the road. We were trapped. I had no way of getting home without the car and no way of moving the car. People sat patiently, I made a few phone calls and read a book but it was clear that we were just waiting. 10 miles away my family said nothing was wrong. It must just be on the motorway. Great.
After a while the cars started moving and eventually we got to the next junction where some of us got off and I take the A roads home. Most of the traffic continued in the one lane moving at 2 MPH, the next junction being another 10 miles away so it must have taken a while. As I left the junction there were cones here blocking off two lanes with workers, if I can say that, sitting in a van reading the papers. After leaving the motorway, even at two junctions before my normal exit I was home in 10 minutes. Nothing on the news or in the papers so far. So nothing too exciting then.
I’m going to have to seriously relook at my get home strategy. Especially that long, 15 miles, stretch of motorway that can’t be bypassed because of the river. It is a quandry for me because I don’t want to use a motor bike everyday, I can’t keep a bike or small motor bike in the car and I couldn’t abandon the car by default unless it was an event. Depending on where I was and the time of year I could make my way home but the road would be blocked with refugees from the cars which would be a danger.
I need a James Bond jetpack. That may be a problem.