John Taylor: A bridge too far

editorial image

Is this Plod, I see before me, I softly mused.

As through the windscreen loomed an authoritive, arm waving figure, clad in an authoritive ‘hi viz’ jacket.

Indeed it was, and adding shed loads of ‘street cred’ I got pulled over for ‘driving with fog lights on,’ which came as a huge surprise, because I haven’t got any fog lights.

And so after a most amicable discussion it was resolved they were actually ‘running lights,’ ie on all the time.

So with smiles all round it was off on my merry way.

But not before the obligatory ‘breath test,’ for, as the officer explained, the purpose of these increased ‘stops’ is to catch inebriates at the wheel during the Christmas period.

And such an inebriate might well have been an Army Lance Corporal during WW2, who at 11.30pm one November night had been trying to drive his military vehicle straight up the eight inch kerb at Stag Bridge, Fenny Stratford.

When police arrived he then staggered out and drunkenly slurred, ‘You’ve got me all right this time.’ At the hearing his superior said he’d done some stupid things, but none as stupid as this!

As evidenced by this incident, alcohol can give the misconception of heightened driving abilities, especially for speed merchants.

But one speed merchant questioned by police at Stag Bridge was perfectly sober.

He was Donald Campbell, who, whilst returning from his attempt on the world speed record at Coniston Water, was approaching Stag Bridge when, glancing in the rear view mirror of his Bentley, he noticed the car his wife was driving had been involved in a collision.

She and her passenger were taken to Northampton Hospital as the written off car taken to Cowley and Wilson’s garage.

As for drunks writing off their cars, that’s their problem. But totally unacceptable is ruining, and often losing, the lives of other people.

So whilst now is the time to enjoy the festive season, when driving it’s best to keep off the spirits. Otherwise, like Marley’s ghost, you might just become one.