Brian's Brief Encounters

This is an Unofficial Kaffe Fassett fanzine. Brought to you from a Leafy Suburb of the Throbbing Metropolis.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Public Information Broadcast

Are you sitting comfortably?

Mobile phone switched off?

Have you brought your note taking equipment?

Good, then we’ll begin.

Today’s lesson is brought to you courtesy of HM Government. More specifically, the Highway Code. Remember it? I guessed not. A little refresher for you then.

194: Emergency vehicles.- This is the paragraph I’ve chosen, at random, from this most useful of documents. It’s quite a tricky one to explain. Bear with me; I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.

You- Yes, this applies to everyone, even if you are a bus driver.

should look- Okay, I know it’s a struggle to occasionally glance around you when driving. Manufacturers have tried to make it as easy as they can with mirrors. Once you’ve finished applying make-up, examining the length of your nasal hair and/or checking your incisors for remnants of last night’s spinach quiche; please use them to check out the state of play behind you. Every six seconds is the optimum timing. Once in a while will do for a start.

and listen- If your bass-box, sub-woofer, rap CD combo is setting off car alarms and seismic sensors; it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to hear very much over the Byronesque lyrics and thumping bass line. Could I suggest turning it down to below tsunami inducing levels? How else will you hear the conversation on the mobile phone pressed to your ear?

for ambulances, fire engines, police or other emergency vehicles- I could understand if you failed to notice a stealth bomber. They’re quite difficult to spot, especially in poor visibility, even with the aid of your radar detector. We try to make it as easy as possible with bright stripes and catchy words like ‘ECILOP’ and ‘ERIF’. If I had my way I’d add ‘ELICEBMIOUYYAWGNIKCUFEHTFOTUOTEG’. Unfortunately, the Diversity Directorate have told me I’d need to put it on in at least 47 languages and we haven’t got enough sticky letters for that.

using flashing blue, red or green lights, headlights- Please don’t confuse us with the chav-mobile sporting tasteful blue neon lights on the bonnet. They won’t let us have those.

or sirens.- Three of the most irritating noises known to mankind have been designed specially for us. ‘Hi-Lo’ is my number one choice, for it‘s particularly grating melody. By changing quickly between them we can be even more irritating. And no, I’m not running late for my tea break.

When one approaches do not panic.- Unless you’re a learner driver, then we fully expect you to stall in an impassable position. The rest of you should know better. Don’t leave it until the last second either, you just slow us down. Your chances of driving into a parked car are greatly increased too.

Consider the route of the emergency vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass.- This is the tough bit. HM Government are far too polite to say what they really mean. ‘Get out of the way’ just about sums it up. I apologise if it adds 5 seconds to your school run.

If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop,- Adjacent to traffic islands isn’t the best place. I challenge you to find a Throbbing van without damaged side panels. Guess how they got damaged? Not on the traffic island, that’s for sure. The brow of a hill is another not very clever spot. Until they fit our vehicles with periscopes please avoid these too.

but do not endanger other road users.- This includes us. Turning out of a side junction, in front of an emergency vehicle, then immediately pulling in and stopping is your favourite. If this Blue Light Roulette were an international sport we wouldn’t need Kelly or the four men in a boat.

Thank-you for listening.

You can put your pens down now.


At 7/8/05 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd also suggest stopping completely, and pull to the right. Simply slowing down, with your turn signal on just doesn't do it. Also looking at me through your mirror as you slow down doesn't help. Even if you thought I was only pulling you over for a violation, it doesn't help your case when you wait for your driveway to stop.

The "chav-mobile" with tinted windows and extra loud muffler while a pleasure to ride in, is also no excuse for you not hearing the sirens.

At 7/8/05 12:07 PM, Anonymous Pat said...

Surely Anon means pull to the left so emergency vehicle can pass on the right? Or is he from across the pond? Or am I going barmy(er)?

At 7/8/05 7:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what are you supposed to do when sitting at a red light with a police car trying to come through?

At 8/8/05 2:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well made point. We've got the same problems in the U.S.

Many officers here refer to it as DWHUA: "Driving With Head Up @ss."

At 8/8/05 9:37 PM, Blogger gonorr said...

As its not my car, I always wang it up on the kerb well out of the way, you boys have a tricky enough job to do without nobbers getting in your way en route

At 10/8/05 2:15 PM, Anonymous Aled said...

Anonymous said...
And what are you supposed to do when sitting at a red light with a police car trying to come through?

I'd suggest carefully moving forwards/out of the way. Do so without endangering the traffic coming across you. This is your opportunity to go through a red light *without* being prosecuted. Trust me, people who not only follow the law, but take positive action to help us are our friends for life.

Don't just sit there, ignoring the blue lights until the light is green.

At 10/8/05 2:47 PM, Anonymous Dan said...


i think anonymous was referring to the case of the driver done for going through a red light to let an emergency vehicle through, he was caught by a camera and the fact that it was the only way he could get out of the way of the ambulance was ruled inadequate defence...

At 10/8/05 3:00 PM, Blogger SingleFin said...

If that sounds like a pain in the arse (which I fully appreciate it is), try getting to a lifeboat call, armed with only a poxy yellow sign bearing the legend 'Emergency lifebot call' taped to your sunvisor. I'd give my back teeth for some good flashy lights!

At 10/8/05 4:29 PM, Anonymous Ian said...

I saw an ambulance subjected to this the other day in Bath. I'm not sure what the driver said but I definitely saw her lips moving...

At 10/8/05 10:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the red light comment, there was another case in the paper today of a chap who pulled over to let a police car pass. The policeman got out of his car, breathalysed the driver (negative result), and on finding no faults with his car, booked him for going over the red light.

At 10/8/05 11:06 PM, Anonymous Snoop said...

How about "oi, wanker" instead of the very long set of stick-on letters? Bound to get attention. After all, it works in pubs.

At 14/8/05 11:00 AM, Anonymous Gordonjcp said...

I've noticed that all the ambulances around Glasgow seem to have had the blue sticky letters on the front taken off, leaving the word "ECNALUBMA" in sticky goo and dead insects across the bonnet.

Could there be some truth in the "47 languages" thing? Does anyone know why *really*?

At 4/9/05 5:10 PM, Blogger MuppetLord said...

Hmm...perhaps you should be allowed rockets like Mr would clear the roads quite well.


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