Friday, 28 September 2012

Too many flashing lights.

Two enormous tractors with huge wheels just went through the village with yellow front flashers, like aircraft strobe lights, and rotary-style blinkers each side. Ambulances that used to have one flashing blue light are now lit up like Christmas trees. No self-respecting wide load goes without a police escort and fairy lights. Construction trucks, long loads, dumper trucks, road-sweepers, dustbin lorries, road-menders, every amateur emergency service now has a blinking light on the roof.

Two problems. So many sparkling warnings devalue the currency. They should be reserved for real emergencies, like the ambulances, and not stuck on every truck to give the driver a sense of well-being. It’s fine for AA patrols on the hard shoulder, but some construction sites look like Guy Fawkes nights even when everybody’s parked.

Second. The old Roadcraft manual used to warn police drivers about Red Mist, the sense of urgency that comes with an emergency call. It’s now a Flashing Blue Mist and gets to the adrenalin of any driver, it seems, with an alternating light.

They ought to be rationed. Licensed. Drivers with sparklers should be held to account for every occasion they are switched on. Too many look upon them as a Turn-On.

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