No Information; No Rage

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Friday night is a time when motorways are often at their busiest as people get away for the weekend or a short-break. Fridays in August are even busier as people try to get away that evening for their holidays. Yet just as we complain that we don’t get information from airlines or airports when there are delays, do we get any information when the roads snarl?
Yes we can tune into the radio to be told there are delays but if you’re in the traffic jam, you don’t need this information. What you need to know is how to get out of it.
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I were coming back from a day in Margate along the M25 at about 4.15 pm when we came to a halt. Twenty minutes later with engines turned off, we were trying to find out what was going on. A very serious accident had closed both sides of the motorway and newscasters were saying that it would be closed for up to seven hours. (as of now, 16 hours later it is still closed.) As the information was passed around nearby drivers some walked up to see if they could see how far the accident was in front of them; one chap got on the top of his lorry cab and sunbathed; another lay next to the central reservation seemingly oblivious of the whole thing and others watched helicopters hover ahead or ambulances belting down the hard shoulder. Some holidaymakers – and there were plenty stuck in the jam – got out chairs and sat in them.
At no time did any official come and tell us how they planned to move us or tells us anything. As one vehicle after another turned into the hard shoulder and went the wrong way back to the previous junction we heard no news. As they disappeared from sight it encouraged others as obviously the authorities must have been letting them through. An hour later and the traffic moved; we were being turned around and sent back the way we had come. Radio bulletins said we were making matters worse by getting out of our vehicles and walking along the motorway. What idiocy. On a day when the temperature was in the mid twenties did they really expect us to roast in our own ovens?
I’m not saying that the prime responsibility of the emergency services is not to help the injured. But out of all the police that there in Surrey couldn’t one have driven back on the empty , opposite side on the M25 with a megaphone saying what the situation was and what they were doing about it? An information dearth breeds frustration, anger and problems. We have a thing called road rage but it doesn’t (or didn’t in this case) become a problem. People moaned but half heartedly and with resignation. Very surprising I found it. What is so different to airport delay frustration? Or is that bred by the media because they can reach those people. They couldn’t get to us. Ponder that over your Saturday breakfast.

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