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Author Topic: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?  (Read 1194 times)

alan colson

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I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« on: February 04, 2010, 03:43:54 pm »

I had an accident about 12 months ago on the M25 at 70mph, luckily I only glanced the central resevation, did not hit anything else and pulled up on the hard shoulder to check the damage.
I had fallen asleep at the wheel with the car on cruise control, that's how I am certain of the speed. I drove the car home and sent it for repair the next day.
Alan
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Roger in France

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Re: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 05:22:21 pm »

Pleased for you, Alan.

Many years ago, one night in the winter I was driving a loan car as mine was under repair. I hit a patch of black ice on a corner, went down a small bank and into a ditch. Got out and had a look around no damage but I guessed I had one chance to drive out after which the ditch and bank would be a sticky mass of mud.

I got back in the car, thought carefully and went for it.

I drove out and went a short way down the road into a Pub car park. Under the lights I could see no damage other than a lot of mud. I sat, thanked my lucky stars, decided not to go into the hostelry for a drink. Drove home very circumspectly!

Roger in France
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Bryan Young

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Re: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 05:32:23 pm »

For myself, I've always thought that Cruise Control is dangerous.
Last time I was in Florida I drove from Jacksonville to Naples along "Alligator Alley". Miles and miles of ruler straight road. Ensconsed in a a big easy seat it seemed that I could just let the car do the driving. Big mistake. I didn't hit anything, but cruise control can lull you into a sense of "lack of awareness". Never used it since. BY.
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Notes from a simple seaman

Roger in France

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Re: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2010, 05:39:15 pm »

I have had cruise control on three cars.

As you say, Bryan, there are problems. I notice that my driving deteriorates because I want to stay in cruise control as long as possible (especially coming up behind a slow vehicle) and that split second before I deconnect may make all the difference.

On the other hand I do find it a great boon when towing a caravan. It certainly is on the long, straight deserted roads I have the joy to drive on, frequently, here in La France profund.

Roger in France
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alan colson

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Re: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2010, 07:03:18 pm »

I must admit that I was very tired having been up for about 19 or 20 hours when I had the accident. It hasn't stopped me from using it though and I shall be using cruise control when towing my caravan down to the Loire later this year.
Alan
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Colin Bishop

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Re: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2010, 09:00:31 pm »

I have found cruise control of only only limited use in the UK but quite handy on the Continent. It was also useful on the hire car we had in the USA when we were obliged to drive from San Diego to Las Vegas via the back of LA due to there being no flights because of 9/11.The air conditioning was even more useful though!

I think the worst situation to be in is driving south down the M1 on a wet Sunday night in the dark with all three lanes full of traffic. very hypnotic and very dangerous as a result.

Colin
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malcolmfrary

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Re: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2010, 10:09:24 pm »

A heck of a lot of years ago I was returning to the college of nollege at Stone after a weekend with not really enough sleep, in the wee small hours of a Monday morning.  As I passed Keele services, I thought, "Next turn off and nearly there".  Then I thought "What the **ck happened to Knutsford services?  And Thelwall viaduct?"  I must have driven almost 50 miles down the M6 on pure auto-pilot - I did recall Charnock Richard.
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sheerline

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Re: I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY, HOW ABOUT YOU?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2010, 11:54:58 pm »

On long tedious journeys we all experience 'autopilot' syndrome, and I am no exception. You just sit there mile after mile, your brain wanders from time to time due to the tedium. It's a bit scary when you suddenly realise that you weren't truly paying attention to the road and can't remember the apparent few miles you just covered. However, I did listen to a discussion about this on the radio and some scientist or other has proved that you may be in this mind phase but that you will react to varying conditions on the road as your brain is apparently still 'working' on the driving. If something occurs that requires your reaction or correction in some way, the brain will snap into driving mode immediately. I have experienced this effect too but it would be interesting to see reaction times and figures as a comparison.
As far as being lucky is concerned, there are too many incidents to relate and not all driving ones but one springs to mind where the other guy was the lucky one:

I'm diving down the A1 in the outside lane at 70, there are four of us in the car and the inner lane is full. The outer lane is also busy but more sparsly populated and i have a very large distance between myself and the car in front but have one on my tail.
Suddenly, there is a pedestrian standing in my lane and he is carrying armfuls of what appears to be crisp and bottles of pop and he is obviously trying to cross the carriagway to get to the other side. I had about one second to react to this situation and in that short space of time I had decided to run him down!
I didn't come to that conclusion because I resented his presence there, he had frozen at the sight of my car bearing down on him. Mine was a calculated decision which came at lightning speed and it amazed me how rapidly the human brain can calculate a life and death decision. In that brief moment I had decided I could not swerve because we would either hit the barrier or the cars on the inner lane... total carnage, possibly kill people. I could not brake, there was no time and an emergency breaking situation with a car up my backside would have also resulted in total carnage and possibly kill people. I simply took my foot off the throttle and gripped the wheel as I could see him in my minds eye, either going over the roof and bonnet or possibly coming through the windscreen. I didn't even have time to yell out and warn the passengers and simply decided he was going to die. All this happened in the blink of an eye
At the last fraction of a second, he dived for the barrier and crisps and plastic bottles went flying everywhere. To this day, I don't know how he did it but he was nanoseconds away from ringing his bell. I was in total shock but couldn't do anything about it as there was nowhere to stop or pull over.
I have never experienced such a moment of clarity in my life as I did that day when  I decided I was about to kill somone by a calculated decision.
He was the luckiest bloke to be alive.
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