Sunday, 20 January 2013

A snarking on winter driving

I'm talking about this kind of thing. Or this...

People, clean the snow of your f*ing car before you drive it!  ALL of it. If you don't think your journey is important enough to warrant the effort, stay at home. If your journey really is necessary, you won't have a problem taking the time to make sure you're keeping yourself as safe as possible. Turn your headlights on, I'd like to see you. I really don't understand why you would drive in bad weather without them. Perhaps you'e a secret agent or you're invincible. Well I'm not, so turn them on for me.

Other top tips:

Prepare - tyres, antifreeze, brakes all checked. Have a winter kit ready - ice-scraper, gloves, de-icer bought well in advance. Have an emergency kit with a blanket, torch, hot drink in a flask and some food. Remember the woman who survived on M&Ms for a week when she got stranded? Imagine you get stuck on the motorway. You can't waste your petrol on heating but you need to keep yourself warm. Stock up.

Take your mobile with you - make sure it is charged and you have credit.

Change the way you drive - lots of people drive like idiots at the best of times and see no need to change in dangerous driving conditions. They're not going to change, so adjust what you're doing to keep as safe as  possible. Don't get stressed. Don't break suddenly to get someone off your tail. You might skid, they are unlikely to be able to stop and they'll get pissy with you. Don't speed up either. If you can pull over and let them past, do it. Better they are out of your way. If you can't pull over, then leave extra room between you and the car in front, so if you have to stop you can do it really gently so the numpty behind you has maximum chance of responding in time. Leave the moral high ground behind, this is about keeping you safe.
Drive slowly, really slowly if you have to. If visibility is 5 metres, then you have to be able to stop in 5 metres because you don't know what's lurking ahead of you. It could be your granny, and you wouldn't want to mow her down, would you? Brake gently. Think ahead. It's easy to overshoot at a juction on black ice. Assume it's there so you don't get caught out.

Adjust your expectations - If you can't leave any earlier, then tell wherever you are going that you will be late. If you're boss gets narky, remind them of the saying 'better late than never/dead'. Don't expect pedestrians to be doing sensible things. They most likely want to get to where they are going as fast as possible. So they might take risks. You probably would too.

And as for all you tail-gating-fast-driving-non-headlight-using folks who just know they are 'safe' drivers. I hope it's just you that gets hurt when you end up spinning off the road. There's no such thing as a 'safe' driver. Stop deluding yourself.

Well, that news wasn't so good after all.

It's been a while, but I wrote back in October that it looked like we were about to get our local supermarket back. Not to be. The former Lidl site on Ballysillan Road is still that, a former Lidl site. Asda have pulled out of yet another site in North Belfast (this time on Shore Road). North Belfast is not awash with investment.

On the other hand, the Crumlin Road Spar has opened up again, taking over the empty shop units on the corner of Bilston Road. This is great news for the older people in the area who relied so much on the Spar for their groceries. And not to be forgotten in the mean time is the Paypoint in Wineflair, for late night pay-as-you-go emergencies. So it's not all doom and gloom.