Who is the most irritating driver in the U.K.? Tailgating Terry? Middle Lane Malcolm? Or, in the interests of gender equality, Fog Light Freda?
They certainly get their fair share of attention, but there’s one driver who seems to fly under the radar. And they have the ability to strike where it really hurts: on a B-road.
Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the Level 42 driver.
Fans of jazz-funk needn’t worry, we’re not talking about thumb-slapping Mark King, but rather the driver who is hellbent on sticking to a steady 42mph, regardless of the conditions.
You will have encountered a Level 42 at some point in your life. There you are, enjoying a dawn raid on your favourite B-road – sticking to the 60mph limit, of course – when into view comes a generic supermini or compact MPV. Occasionally, you’ll spot an illuminated fog light, acting like a beacon, warning you of trouble up ahead.
It soon becomes clear that Level 42 is sticking religiously to 42mph, almost as though he or she is starring in a rubbish remake of Speed. “Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb in the Hyundai ix35. Once the ix20 hits 41 or 43, the bomb is armed. What do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO?”
Budget Keanu Reeves decides that 42mph is for the best, bringing to an end your enjoyment and any hope of swift progress. No matter, you think, you’ll get a chance to overtake at some point.
Only you can’t. As you enter a village and drop your speed to 30mph, you notice that Level 42 is disappearing out of view. Not for them the inconvenience of selecting a lower gear and reducing speed.
They’ve gone, but the joy will be short lived. Having left the village, you’re able to enjoy the B-road once again, or at least until you stumble upon Level 42 for the second time.
On this occasion you take a chance to overtake. You might spot a flash of headlights, as Level 42 signals their happiness at being overtaken on a perfectly safe stretch of road. They may even move across to straddle the white line, just to make sure you’re alert and paying attention.
At the next village you slow to 30mph again, only to become reaquainted with Level 42, this time from behind, glued to your rear bumper. It’s as though Level 42 is on autopilot, satisfied that 42mph is the best speed for any occasion. Either that or Dennis Hopper has been on the phone again.
You might argue that Level 42 is being terribly safe, driving at a steady 42mph. But in reality, Level 42 is merely highlighting a lack of awareness, possibly even a lack of confidence. These drivers are annoying and somehow manage to fly under the radar. They’re probably the same people who let off a little ‘tommy squeaker’, moments before getting out of a lift.
Joseph and Emily, if you’re sat there on the back seat of car doing Level 42, do the right thing: tell the driver to get a move on. Britain’s B-road drivers will thank you for it.
Mark Image courtesy of Wikipedia.