Our recent shitty weather has reminded me of something I saw on a motorway matrix sign recently. Of course I have history with motorway matrix signs, so perhaps you ought to read these posts before you carry on:
In fact, I’ve just sought out a picture for the top of this, only to see I’ve used it before. Splendid. Those posts say approximately what I’m about to say, I suspect, but let’s go for it anyway.
So anyway, I was driving innocently around the northwest of England, on an averagely bland, grey morning and was confronted with a sign which said ‘HEAVY RAIN EXPECTED’. Fine, thanks for that, should I start driving at 50mph now? Should I be keeping an eye on the sky in case the heavy rain starts and I’m not quite ready for it? Or is this just some kind of weird parallel world where what the matrix signs are actually for is general information and weather forecasting.
I can’t help but feel that driving on a motorway is a tricky business and anything which can be done to keep our focus on the road and away from the distractions of modern life is a good thing and yet more and more there seem to be things, pointless things, being forced into our eyeballs whether we like it or not, and whether we need it or not.
We don’t need it. I don’t need a weather forecast on my motorway matrix signs. It can’t possibly have any positive impact on the way I’m driving. If it starts raining I’ll assess the situation and change my driving accordingly (except I won’t, because, not being an idiot, I’ll already be driving in a way suitable for rain). If it starts raining heavily, which the matrix sign suggests it will, I’ll deal with that. I’d love to meet the person who insisted that this phrase was put into the signs and talk to that person about why it was put there.
The other day I saw something about a concert which had been cancelled about fifty miles from here. That seemed OK. It seemed a logical place to display that information, but to be fair the concert was outside, on the coast, and there had been persistent torrential rain all day. At the time I saw the sign, I could barely see the road for the spray and the heavy rain and it made me think that perhaps the sort of people who want to go to an evening outdoor event during torrential rain and storm-like winds after a whole day of torrential rain and storm-like winds, is the sort of person who probably wouldn’t notice the sign anyway. I noticed the sign, but would rather have been looking at the road, because conditions were treacherous.
Of course there’s all the other idiotic things they write, such as ‘Fog’, which I’ve never understood because long before I can’t see the sign because of the fog, I’ve already noticed that there’s fog and have begun to drive accordingly. Blimey, that was a tricky sentence.
Look, let’s leave it there. Read the other posts for more waffle on this topic. Suffice to say that ‘HEAVY RAIN EXPECTED’ has been a particular low point in my life on the motorways of this wonderful country.