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"Here in my car", said 80s pop hero Gary Numan, "I feel safest of all". He obviously never shared the same stretch of road as me, then. Automotive tales of mirth and woe, please.

(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 12:34)
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Dylan's Demise
I was due to be going back to the sticks to see the folks in my car, a trusty student Astra 1.3L-boring (christened Dylan by my late Mum due to the registration nearly spelling that), and I was in an excellent mood as I'd had some good fortune that morning.

I'd needed some new tyres for a while as they were looking a little on the smooth side and weren't going to get through the MOT back down home way (didn't trust these-here dodgy London garages packed with rip-off merchant grease monkeys).

I'd wandered along to Kwik-Fit (yes, I *know*) and left the motor there and was meandering around town when I get a call from KF saying one of my wheels is bent, we can't put another tyre on it 'cos it won't be guaranteed, yaada yaada. OK, how much? £70 - fair amount of dosh for a penniless student type, so I say I'll call back. Just then, as luck would have it, my mate Mart phones me, and he's a local, so I ask if he knows of anywhere I might be able to get a cheaper replacement.

I'm in luck, he knows a local scrapyard, we get there, and I get a replacement for the princely sum of a fiver - result! A short while later, and two new front tyres to the good, I head off to the parents' place with a full tank of fuel and some computer gear I'd managed to score for Dad.

It all went wrong trying to leave the roundabout to get on to the M25 at J17 - a monstrously large roundabout - very wide indeed, probably wider than a motorway carriageway. I'm going at a fair lick because you go uphill off the roundabout onto the motorway, and joining the M25 doing 35mph is a pretty bad plan overall. It's drizzling a little, but I've been round this junction scores of times.

Going round nicely, there's no problem until I straighten the wheel to drive off the roundabout onto the slip road ... and nothing happens, the car keeps turning ... so I turn the wheel more and more ... and suddenly the grip returns, the car skids violently to the left and slides sideways over a very tall kerb, knocking down the slip road sign, and ends up with me looking back down the towards the roundabout. With a very strong smell of petrol permeating my nostrils, I'm guessing I've ripped most of the bottom of the car off on the kerb.

I am not pleased. I was giving Dad a quick call ("not going to be with you as early as I thought") as Old Bill turned up, and we had quite a pleasant little chat, considering. At one point the PC asked "Do you think, sir, that there's any particular reason you left the road at the point at which you did?", and I thought a little and said "I think I was driving a bit too fast", at which he cracked an almost imperceptible grin and said "Well, I can't argue with you on that". They didn't breathalyse me or anything. (The car got written off for about £100 more than I'd have been able to sell it for, and I didn't get a bill for the road sign either!)

Apparently, as I later learn, going too fast round a roundabout in the wet with a heavily laden car on a brand-new set of front boots was always going to end in disaster. Thanks Albert, wish you'd have told me that *before* I stacked the bloody thing.

And upon what date did these troublesome events unfold?

Year 2000. April Fool's Day. Har-de-fuckin'-har. Fair split my sides, I did.


(, Thu 22 Apr 2010, 13:13, Reply)

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