mr police man, I promise to go faster






I usually enjoy car journeys on the motorway, listening to music and without the stress of heavy traffic on smaller roads. Recently, I was going along as usual. Many others dangerously use the motorway as a high-speed race track and never seem to get a ticket. I was travelling at 80 km/h (50 miles/h), which is on the slow side, but with two lanes there is a chance to overtake, and I know cars with trailers HAVE to go max 80 km/h in our country. I didn’t have a trailer on but felt entitled to drive carefully, and it’s easier to listen to music at that speed, as there’s less engine noise. Then I find myself followed by a car. At first didn’t concern me, then went on for 30 minutes which is unusual as drivers usually lose patience and move past. When I reach my turn-off the car continues to follow and I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable. Are they going to follow me all the way home? I hope not.
A police car has been waiting by the turn, follows me for a while, then suddenly puts his lights/horn on. I’m wondering if he simply is busy and wants to overtake. Then he gestures for me to pull-over which I do at the next roundabout. Apparently someone had phoned the police to warn them I was coming. When I stopped, the policeman approached. I feared the worst, so said nothing. Asked for my driving license and if I owned the car. Apparently I was driving too slowly on the motorway and not in a straight line. The accuser had assumed I was driving slower because I was drunk, which I wasn’t. I was merely trying to save petrol as my 1,0 engine uses up almost twice as much if I go along at 70-80 miles/h. The motorway was very quiet.
Regarding the swerving from side to side, I didn’t mention to the police, but my car model is light-weight and the steering is the weakest aspect of the car. I’ve spoken to another person who owns the same model and with side wind and gusts it’s normal for a bit of turbulence, especially at higher speeds. Probably I should have explained this, but I didn’t want to make excuses. I just said I was sorry, wanted to save petrol, and wasn’t trying to bother anyone. It’s hardly my fault if a cheap car is not steady on the road. He still wanted me to blow into a breathalyser even though I said I hadn’t been drinking. I asked what the lowest speed you are allowed to drive is, the rules are murky as they can’t force you to go at a specific speed. He advised me to take the highway instead, if I want to go at that speed.

Who is right in this situation? I can understand someone worried about a drink/driver, but I think it’s an excessive overreaction for a random person to follow me for so long and deliberately slow down. If they want to go faster, why drive behind me? I’m 99% sure it’s the follower who phoned in my number plate. The accuser also 'beefed up' his story by claiming I was travelling at 70km/h (43 miles/h) which is dishonest.
Part of me thinks they got some pleasure from seeing the police catch me, and the policemen had no choice but to follow procedure. A misunderstanding that I’d rather have avoided. I guess there are people who have nothing better to do than complain. I never imagined I’d say to a police man, ”I promise to go faster…” . Was almost absurd saying that sentence out loud. Obviously the experience isn't as shocking as Spielberg's Duel pictured above, though my incident has left some mental scares.





8 comments:

  1. Oh no, what an experience, Chris. Yes, it does sound absurd that you had to say "I promise to go faster..."! It wasn't as if you were crawling along at 10mph creating a big queue behind. It reminded me of someone I knew a few years ago who thought that the speed limit signs meant you HAD to travel at that particular speed, not faster OR slower, so she used to get annoyed at anyone who was driving even just a few mph below the legal limit! I did try to explain...

    Great choice of song - I also really like the original by the Equals.
    And 'Duel' is a fantastic film, isn't it? - so chilling. An incredibly simple concept for a story and yet so very powerful. In fact it's about time I watched it again, thanks for the reminder - but so sorry to hear of the experience that prompted your reference to it.

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    1. @C: As you say, I wasn't even going that slowly and no queues in sight, so it's a bit petty. The caller was wasting police man hours. Theraputic to write it down and get out of my system.

      I think many drivers let out pent-up rage on the roads, I don't. Maybe that person you knew is one of those.

      The original by the Equals is a big departure from the faster Clash cover. Thanks for sharing. Duel is great film and at least my trip wasn't that crazy!

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  2. I can't see the problem if it's multi-lane road where others can safely overtake, but a slow vehicle can become an issue for the more impatient driver on a single carriageway. I've seen many an idiot lose patience and overtake recklessly when it really isn't safe to do so - risking their own lives and the lives of others in order to gain a few yards.

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    1. @The Swede: I suppose informing me slow driving is dangerous taught me a lesson. But no need to tail me for so long which is taking the complaint too far. Maybe some Danes are too concerned with minor rule-breaking.

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  3. I'm from the UK and our road rules are different so I can't really comment, but what a scary situation to be in!

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    1. @Allie: Hopefully there will be no fine in the post. Think I got away with a verbal warning.

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  4. Poor you - Not a good experience but a good excuse to include the film reference and song.

    I drive on such quiet roads most of the time that I have lost confidence on motorways and the like nowadays - Happy to fly or get the train if outside my comfort zone but Mr S is right, on a single carriageway road there are many idiots who overtake recklessly only to find you catch up with them at the next junction or set of lights. Madness.

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    1. @Alyson: Thanks, not a nice experience, although I did learn something. Motorways certainly are dangerous. May I’ll go for quieter roads, unless I’m in a hurry. I’ve witnessed many a reckless driver taking chances too, maybe they should get up 20 min earlier!

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