Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Trouble With Cruise Control

1200cc of untamed power, a big exhaust and a wagging fist

It happened again today. My son Daniel and I were heading for Wimbledon (To visit a client, not to hear Cliff Richard showing that there's something worse than sitting on wet bleachers). The cruise control is set. Everyone we overtake either speeds up as we pass, or overtakes immediately after the manoeuvre, only to slow down again.

On Sunday a woman and her passenger in a Corsa made onanism-related gestures because I had the audacity to drive at a constant speed. I have 80mph dialed in, and we cruise gently past the little Vauxhall. By the time I've resumed the left-hand lane she's already overtaking me; she's accelerated by at least 15mph. Then she's in front of me, and she's slowed to around 75. Still set to 80, I pass her again. She does exactly the same again, with rather more aggression, then slows down as soon as she's in front.

After four repetitions, she swerves sharply into the right hand lane, much to the dismay of the Golf that's just about to overtake her. The Corsa finally attains a consistent velocity and, barping incontinently through its big-bore exhaust, bounces into the distance. The occupants treat me to what Patrick O'Brian called "antic gestures".

I don't know the moral of all this, unless it's that cruise controls have no ego.

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