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Origins - unsafe at any speed.

I'm seriously considering going to Origins, seeing as I'm a nominee for an award. It seems a long way to go to spend all my time in a hotel with X,000 sweaty blokes but I'm sure there are other things to do in Ohio (Serpent Mound?) but I guess that means I have to learn to drive again.

And I really hate driving.

I passed my test about 8 years ago and since then I've only driven twice. I did 700 miles during a week in California, 7 years ago, and about 400 in a week in France, 5 years ago. So my driving confidence is not real high and I had several bad experiences during both trips that seemed to suggest that whilst my driving is OK, there are plenty of numbnuts with crosshairs on their hoods aiming for me.

Case in point: on the freeway going into San Francisco, there are 5 lanes in each direction. It might even be 7. There is no lane discipline on US freeways, which means you can overtake on either side and change lanes as you please.

The signposting is also pretty poor, typically signs only seem to appear just before you need to turn, which means you get people pulling across 4 lanes of traffic to the exit ramp. And exit ramps aren't always on the outside!

So I was in the middle lane looking for an exit sign, doing about 2mph less than the speed limit but generally keeping up with traffic when the drivers on either side of me decide that this means there's a healthy gap to be exploited in my lane in front of me. So they both move ahead of me and try to get into my lane at the same time. You know the chicane on the Scalectrix track? It looks like a figure of 8 and there's just not quite enough room for two cars to enter at the same time. Well, this flashed through my mind as the cars veered towards each other in front of me and then swerved away. I'd never seen a multi-car pile up but I almost was part of one that day.

Other incidents include a big rig deciding my lane was nicer than his and forcing me over the road and in France a car with no lights during a storm in the airport car park, 3 minutes after getting my car and someone overtaking me on the outside of a roundabout.

So just about 1,100 miles and 4 near misses.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 21st, 2005 10:01 am (UTC)
I'm seriously considering going to Origins, seeing as I'm a nominee for an award.

Cool! What are you nominated for?
Mar. 21st, 2005 10:36 am (UTC)
An Origins award!

Best non-fiction publication: Places to Go, People to Be. And I've also written for the Excellent Prismatic Spray which is up for the same award. Of course, we're up against Dungeon, Dragon, Pyramid and Scrye so our chances are slim.
Mar. 21st, 2005 01:03 pm (UTC)
You're doomed to fail! DOOMED!!

Mind you, I hope PTGPTB does win :) Anything but A&E again...
Mar. 22nd, 2005 03:19 am (UTC)
I was always massively impressed by the design of the Prince's Highway in New South Wales - when the road narrows, cars in the slow lane have to merge into the overtaking lane.

But then again, I live in Beijing now, which may have the most poorly thought-out traffic system ever.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )