Shooting Parrots today has a post about an idiot common at this time of year: the fog light fan, who doesn’t know the difference between the rear screen demister and the little button that blinds the driver behind you.
Anyway, I’ll let you read his waffle about that and move to another thing that tee’s me off. It’s not drivers. It’s not speed cameras. It’s the matrix signs.
For those outside of the UK who maybe don’t know the term, these are signs randomly dotted up and down the motorways of the UK. They’re simple dot matrix things, usually square, made up of several light bulbs and can display various messages, often fictitious, sometimes wildly apocryphal. In a way, they’re like temporary traffic signs. Only whereas traffic signs warn against a permanent, known issue (give way, danger of frogs crossing, old people who’ll get trapped in your wheel arches if you don’t go over them fast enough and so forth), the matrix signs are designed to deal with temporary or emergency situations.
Sadly, they rarely work. I don’t know who controls them, but they’re either taking the piss most of the time, or they just connect the control panel to a room full of epileptic chickens and flash lights at them for a giggle and see what happens.
The resultant displays seem to fall into three categories:
Stating The Bleeding Obvious – “FOG”. Yes. I know. I can see it. Although for one brief moment, I thought there were 3000 Jamaicans at the side of the road getting high. Or the other favourite “QUEUE”. No shit, Sherlock.
Taunting – “40”. I’m in a queue of traffic. I’ve not moved for 30 minutes. I *want* to do 40. 40 would be paradise. But please tell that to the 185,256 cars in front of me who don’t seem to want to move.
Just plain wrong – “M1 closed J35 to J32”. No. It wasn’t. It was open and had been all day. Instead you directed people on a 50 mile detour down the A1. Why?
The one remaining alternative is for them to remain blank. This usually happens when there is a closed lane or something ahead. Let’s face it, they’re a great idea. They just never bloody work.