People do crazy things when you’re driving on blue lights. Some will swerve into the middle of the road, some will slam on their anchors and stop right there. Some will “surf the blue wave” and speed up, some will tail gate. And some might even do the correct thing by signalling and pulling over to the left! But not many.
Pedestrians also do crazy things. And the one thing I really hate and fear is when people jaywalk across busy roads. But not the ones who make it to the other side – no, the ones who just stand dumb-ass in the middle waiting for a break in the traffic. You’ll see them all over London, putting their lives at risk, completely unaware and unamused by the vehicles zooming past them in both directions.
Yesterday I had a very scary moment with a Jaywalker . . .
I was moving through heavy traffic and slowly making my way round a bend. My blues and twos were going crazy so all the cars about me knew I was there. But as I rounded the bend on the outside, there she was – a young Asian woman with her hands full of shopping, standing on the white lines that separated the middle of the road.
In that split second I knew what was about to happen, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I wasn’t going to hit her . . . no way, I wasn’t even close . . . but I slammed on my anchors anyway. And in one desperate move I put my hand up and shouted, “STOP!” – like there was any chance she was going to see it anyway.
As soon as she set eyes on my car, the woman, facing as if to cross my side of the road, stepped backwards . . . right into the path of a large coach.
It was only by some huge miracle that the coach managed to turn a tiny fraction at the last millisecond. However, she was still hit, but thankfully only by the side of the coach, which sent her into a spin and annihilated her shopping in one go.
The woman rallied immediately and ran through my traffic to a bus stop and hid, for some strange reason, behind a large group of commuters. I waved over to her to see if she was ok . . . she smiled and put her thumbs up.
I sat for a few seconds more and looked at the road . . . the coach had moved on now and was replaced by cars totally oblivious of what had just happened. But her shopping had exploded everywhere and was strewn across two lanes of traffic. I couldn’t help but think that if she’d stepped back a nano second sooner, or an inch more then she would probably look very similar to what was spread on the road right now.
I took a deep breath and drove on.