Had my first real “oh shit!” moment last night.
I was running north to Ashington which is just up the coast from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. It’s a steady three hour run from Worksop and I was nearly there. I wasn’t running particularly heavy, we rarely do when we’re doing shop delieveries with a single-decker; it’s the backhauls that get heavy.
The weather had taken a turn for the worst and the rain was hammering down in proper sheets leaving a lot of standing water and quite poor visibility. I was passing a sliproad that joined the dual-carriageway that I was on and as per usual, some cars were filtering on.
Most cars are pretty sensible when pulling onto a dual-carriagway and adjust their speed to fit in around the truck (as they should). For some reason a fool in a tiny Micra pulled out about a hundred feet in front of me travelling at around thirty miles per hour. Fuck! I hit the brakes and clicked on the right indicator ready to pull out right… but there was a car accelerating up behind me in lane two and I would have crushed it by changing lane. I clicked off the signal and continue to haul on the brakes as hard as I could – because it’s so wet I wasn’t slowing down very quickly and the suicidal car isn’t making any attempt to speed up.
I thought it was curtains for the Micra but I managed to haul down to his speed at only five feet from his rear bumper. I’m get on the horn and the driving lamps out of anger but give up and just feel drained. Lucky I wasn’t fully loaded or there’s no way I’d have stopped.
He pulled off at the next sliproad a quarter of a mile further on without seemingly even registering a problem.
Drunk? Amazingly stupid? I don’t know. I would have destroyed his little car and most likely killed him and his passenger. It would be a horrible thing to live with.
I don’t get into many scrapes – my anticipation is usually pretty good but sometimes you can’t guard against the foolhardy actions of others.
I guess when you spend so much time on the road then incidents are inevitable but I’m really not looking forward to my first one.