Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Driving Techniques. Crashing Techniques.

A little wake up call today.

While I have been worrying about the impending risks of Balochistan after a conversation with journalist that interviewed me yesterday, I almost croaked it on the M3 by Fleet services today.

I'd just been considering the different driving techniques I use in my car (veg powered too) and the van. A busy work day, tidying up a few loose ends meant I had to clock up about 150 miles, done a top motorway speed, interspersed with over-postponed rushed stops at motorway services.

Motorway service stations are really the lowest pit of humanity. They make me crave a good scrub. Soleless, faceless, inhuman.

As I burst back out, rushing to the car with a sandwich to eat at the wheel I see a guy that was leisurely taking his time over a drink and a smoke, and in no rush. Sunday: that will be me, unrushed and happy to sit at 45mph with long thoughtful breaks. But today I have traffic to get frustrated about, a deadline and more miles to cover.

On the way back from Bournemouth the traffic suddenly slowed, and then slowed dramatically, then the 4x4 in front of me swerved to reveal a gentle coming together between 2 cars ahead on my right, I braked harder, fumbled for the hazard light switch, narrowly avoid contact with the 4x4 in front by braking as hard as I can and hear a clapping bang as something crashes sideways into the hard shoulder on the left. Like the eye of the storm I slinked through unscathed with crashes to the left and the right, the rear view filled with cloud, debris, screeches. Only luck, not judgement to thank.

There's a type of braking cos the car ahead is slowing, then there's a type of braking because the traffic is all about to slow right down, and you pace that with an eye in the rear mirror to give the car behind a chance, but then there's the type of braking when what's behind is not a priority because what is in front is coming so fast. Only right at the end do you think "Ah, this is going to be one of those crashes". It's all quite gentlemanly up to that point when you realise impact is unavoidable. I noticed my concious change at each step.

I couldn't have done anything differently, I was constrained by the speed of my reactions and the fixed length of my car, The closeness between me and the 4x4 attest to that, but a static wave of braking went from the collision ahead of me, through my velocity, and thankfully chose to break a few cars back.

Never mind the dangers of terrorism, global warming, killer disease. The first risk on this and any vehicle based expedition is much more mundane, Road Traffic Accidents.

Later the radio reports a 6 car pile up, no mentions of fatalities, and in another incident on the same road, a "coming together between a car and a motorbike" On a motorway? I wouldn't like to be that bikers family tonight.

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