I had my first long distance solo motorway journey today since the life-changing driving awareness course of the other week.
I have been taking it all terribly seriously ever since, driving the family insane when I drop to 15mph on small estate roads and forever counting out hidden hazards. Since every moving vehicle and pedestrian in sight is a hidden hazard, it leaves little time for any sort of conversation.
I have also been practising knowing-the-speed-limit-at-all-times. I’m pleased to say I now always know what the speed limit is wherever I am, and at this rate I can expect to have an entirely clean licence in 12 months allowing me to once again be able to hire vans. And thus I will be able to contemplate transporting much larger paintings around the country, so it’s all positive stuff as far as art is concerned.
And so back to the M1. I’d announced to everyone that I would not be exceeding the speed limit by even 1mph at any point; that I would be down to 50mph before I reached any of the many, many 50mph works lanes; and that I would of course keep a good count of six away from the preceding vehicle at all times.
This was no mean feat, with foolhardy wotsits cutting in on my lovely gap at frequent intervals. I was however mostly able to trundle along the inside lane happily at 68mph with a vast safe distance between me and the lorries ahead, whilst noticing that in the adjacent middle lane there would be three or four vehicles travelling within this distance, and, scarily, cars were even more closely packed in the outside lane despite their higher average speed.
With my fresh outlook, the outside lane of tailgaters actually now looked pretty scary.
But I had a far more relaxed ride without feeling the need to race the sat nav. And felt safe in the knowledge that even if the massive lorry ahead rolled onto its side with a freak gust of wind, I at least would have time to apply the brakes and come to a stop before hitting it.
Merry thoughts indeed. My powers of imagination never cease to terrify me when left to wander at will. But better safe than sorry any day.