back to article Motorist 'thought car had caught fire' as Adele track came on stereo

A panicked motorway driver abandoned his car after the word “Fire” scrolled across his dashboard – but it wasn't a warning system kicking in: it was the name of the Adele song he was listening to. Stopping on the hard shoulder of British motorways is illegal unless it’s an emergency but folk still do it for all kinds of …

  1. Goldmember

    I'm not sure

    Whether I hate or love these articles. On the one hand, the retardation of the general driving populace in this country is funny.

    On the other, the retardation of the general driving populace in this country is funny. Until one of them kills me.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
      Go

      Re: I'm not sure

      But honestly officer, it said "Green Light" on the display, right there.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: I'm not sure

        Shades of the dutch ad for one of those colour change lollies - sorry can't find a link.

        Imagine kids in back - sucking on lolly - neatly timed announcements coming to lights its green, its red, its orange. Daughter goes its green - ('sgruen) dad drives off - bang accident

    2. Steve the Cynic

      Re: I'm not sure

      "On the one hand, the retardation of the general driving populace in this country is funny."

      This sort of remark makes me think of something I saw one day on the A40 heading east from Oxford toward the London-bound M40 junction. It's a two-lanes-each-way dual carriageway, and on that particular morning, the right lane (the fast one) was crammed full of cars. The left lane featured a tractor well burdened by mowing machinery (not in use at that moment, but travelling at tractor speed). Approaching the tractor in the left lane were a handful of cars valiantly attempting to merge right to pass the tractor. One of them, of course, left it a bit later than the others, and there was a sudden burst of tyre-smoke from all four wheels, and then the car shuddered and there was a spray of assorted fragments from the front of the car and/or the back of the tractor. Car and tractor pulled off the carriageway, and my god he made a mess of the front of his car. (Didn't do the mowing machinery much good either.)

      Oops...

      1. Graham Marsden
        Boffin

        @Steve the Cynic - Re: I'm not sure

        > the right lane (the fast one)

        You mean the Overtaking Lane?

        Just as motorways have *two* overtaking lanes, the basic rule of the road being "Keep left unless overtaking" which is why idiots shouldn't hog the middle lane when they can move to the left hand lane...

        1. Dagg
          Devil

          Re: @Steve the Cynic - I'm not sure

          In Australia they have signs that state "Slow Drivers keep left". No one in Australia wants to be called dumb so they all drive in the middle lane.

        2. ravenviz
          Facepalm

          Re: @Steve the Cynic - I'm not sure

          The stay in the middle lane so they're ready to overtake a lorry half a mile ahead. In five minutes time.

    3. JP19

      Re: I'm not sure

      "retardation of the general driving populace"

      The general driving populace numbers about 30 million. Do you really not expect it to contain a proportion of idiots?

      1 in 15,000 got caught illegally parked on motorways in 3 months, 1 in 1.35 million on any given day.

      The kind of rate you would expect from non-idiots having an occasional brain fart.

      1. Nuke
        Meh

        @JP19 - Re: I'm not sure

        wrote :- "The general driving populace numbers about 30 million. Do you really not expect it to contain a proportion of idiots?"

        I thought the object of the driving test was to weed them out.

  2. Evil Auditor Silver badge
    Trollface

    I do understand why the driver abandoned the car when Adele came on stereo. But wouldn't it be easier to simply switch it off or to a different radio station?

    1. GreggS

      Rumour Has it

      He thought instead of a hard shoulder it was a Cold Shoulder and was just Chasing Pavements instead.

      1. AbelSoul
        Coat

        Re: Rumour Has it

        He thought instead of a hard shoulder it was a Cold Shoulder and was just Chasing Pavements instead

        @GreggS:

        Trust Someone Like You to come up with that.

        1. GreggS

          Re: Rumour Has it

          Hey I just wanted to Make You Feel My Love

          1. wolfetone Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Rumour Has it

            Imagine if he was driving along a bridge when he was startled by it, driving the car off the bridge. He'd be Rolling In The Deep....

    2. Truth4u
      Alert

      When Adele comes on I open the driver door and bail.

      The car with no driver speeding through the intersection is mine but it's your problem.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm surprised at someone who listens to Adele bothering to pay attention to the panel display. The general aim of pop music lovers seems to be to distract their attention away from the real world.

    4. Michael Strorm

      I hope the driver in question wasn't Chicken Licken, otherwise he would have crapped himself when Adele's "Skyfall" was shown on the display.

    5. Anonymous Blowhard

      "But wouldn't it be easier to simply switch it off or to a different radio station?"

      In the hope they were playing "Fire Brigade" by The Move?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Skyfawwwww

      Or set fire to it. Just to be safe.

  3. Craig 2
    Coat

    The sad thing is that before he set off, he was sat in there for 3 hours with the keys in the ignition waiting for a certain Rolling Stones track to come on...

    1. Roger Varley

      Yeah, I haven't heard 'You better move on' for ages either.

      1. Steven Raith

        I can't keep up with traffic unless Queens Of The Stone Age - Go With The Flow is playing.

        Truth be told, it actually makes me overtake everything in sight, but it's better than holding people up, eh?

        Steven 'Steering Wheel Drum Solo' R

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Genuine reason.

    Well, a flat tire, running out of gas, and a car on FIRE should be enough reason to park a car anywhere. Except you shouldn't expect a warning of FIRE coming from the radio.

    I wonder what happens if someone launches a music named "DOOR AJAR".

    PS. Don't try to open your car doors at speed. The wind blast could slam it back on you. Another stupid driver proved it. Stunt cars are a whole other matter.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Genuine reason.

      PS. Don't try to open your car doors at speed. The wind blast could slam it back on you. Another stupid driver proved it.

      There's a reason why rear-hinged doors used to be called "suicide doors"

    2. Tom 260

      Re: Genuine reason.

      Actually, running out of fuel isn't a valid reason, in the UK it's an offence to run out of fuel on a motorway. As a result there are always signs informing you how far it is to the next petrol station.

      1. smartermind
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Genuine reason.

        Yes, that's right, if you run out of fuel you should just keep driving on. The car engine will run on...? DOH!

    3. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: Genuine reason.

      Honestly, speaking about legit reasons, "felt like taking a nap" strikes me as the typical illegal-but-somewhat-legit one. I hope the guy got off with a slap on the wrist. I agree that you SHOULD not hit the road when you're too drowsy to drive, but given the choice I'd rather drive on a highway where people stop on the hard shoulder to take a nap than on one where they do not stop to take a nap.

      It happens all too often that the car you're about to pass drifts in your lane only to promptly go back as the driver wakes up. If you think it's stressful in a car, try it on a motorcycle (before the bikers among you ask, yes I do know where the gas throttle is. But I'm a law-abiding citizen, I wouldn't want to break the speed limit).

      1. Graham Marsden

        @ElReg!comments!Pierre - Re: Genuine reason.

        If someone is feeling sleepy, they should pull off at the next junction or service area and stop and get some sleep.

        Doing it on the Hard Shoulder is not only illegal, but stupid because if another vehicle, let alone an artic happens to drift across...

        1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

          Re: @ElReg!comments!Pierre - Genuine reason.

          "If someone is feeling sleepy, they should pull off at the next junction or service area and stop and get some sleep."

          I totally agree. On the other hand, the real world called. They said "people who feel sleepy just drink a coffee and think it'll pass". Unfortunate undoubtedly, but hey, who am I to argue against facts?

          "Doing it on the Hard Shoulder is not only illegal, but stupid because[...]"

          Sleeping on the wheel at 130 km/h is also illegal and stupid but it still happens all the time. I'd prefer if it happened at 0km/h on the hard shoulder instead. It's still illegal but a tiny tiny bit less stupid. I sincerely hope no-one needs me to explain why.

          1. Graham Marsden

            Re: @ElReg!comments!Pierre - Genuine reason.

            I suggest you look up the fallacy of the False Dichotomy.

            Sleeping when driving is stupid and illegal.

            Sleeping on the hard shoulder is also stupid and illegal.

            Sleeping at a service area is sensible and not illegal (even though officious private parking companies may try to fine you for doing it!)

            1. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

              @ Graham Marsden

              I agree with you completely. On the other hand, most people don't stop to have a nap at a service area. They never did, and never will. They grab a coffee and think it'll keep them awake 'till the end of their journey (it rarely does). We're talking about the same kind of people who ignore the red Xs completely because they lost 5 minutes once. These people only realise that they can't keep awake after they've begun snoring. In that case it is better to stop at once rather than sleep-driving another 50 miles for a service area.

              Or are you advocating that people who actually fall asleep on the wheel should carry on driving at all cost untill they find a service area (or die trying?).

              There's illegal-grade stupid, and then there's 10-dead-in-a-gruesome-accident stupid. Putting them on the same level as you do is bordering on dangerous. Of course I don't dispute that if you feel drowsy you should have a nap somewhere "legal", preferably before you even began your journey.

              1. Graham Marsden

                Re: @ Graham Marsden

                > Or are you advocating that people who actually fall asleep on the wheel should carry on driving at all cost untill they find a service area (or die trying?).

                Now you've gone from a False Dilemma to a Straw Man argument...

                No, of course I am not advocating that. I'm advocating *GET OFF THE BLOODY MOTORWAY IF YOU'RE TIRED AND FIND SOMEWHERE SAFE AND LEGAL TO STOP AND NAP!"

                Servicer area, next junction whatever, just don't drive tired.

        2. MrAli

          Re: @ElReg!comments!Pierre - Genuine reason.

          Hmm, pulling off at a junction is likely to get you in hot water with the Vice Squad. Although a Service Area sounds altogether more accommodating!

      2. JP19

        Re: Genuine reason.

        "felt like taking a nap" strikes me as the typical illegal-but-somewhat-legit one"

        It is drivers taking a nap in the other lanes which makes the hard shoulder a dangerous place. I would not sit in a car on the hard shoulder for any reason I could avoid.

    4. djack

      Re: Genuine reason.

      "Except you shouldn't expect a warning of FIRE coming from the radio."

      He clearly didn't realise that the message was from the radio. Many modern cars have a multifunctional display in the middle of the dashboard. Trip computer, door ajar warnings, parking sensor warnings and audio information etc. etc. all share the same space, with whatever is selected (or deemed more approriate by the car) shown at any one time.

      1. BongoJoe

        Re: Genuine reason.

        I have a Landrover Freelander - yes, the Ken and Barbie design.

        And I can assure you that nothing comes on the display when that catches fire. In fact the only warning system I had was when I pulled into the petrol station and saw the cashier and staff running in blind panic when I realised that something was amiss.

        Of course, stopping meant that I then knew that something was wrong...

        Anyway, a FIRE warning sign would have been nice.

  5. Eradicate all BB entrants

    This is what happens ....

    ..... when technology becomes too advanced. No chance of me pulling over because of 'CD3 Track 4' showing up.

    As for the radio, if I wanted to listen to adverts and people talking about banal crap I would quit work and watch daytime tv.

    1. 142

      Re: This is what happens ....

      More like this is what happens when imbeciles design user interfaces.

      I was driving a rental car recently, and the song title display used the same text field as the other announcements, like directions, seatbelt warnings, etc.

      And it was just displayed one or two words at a time - nothing to indicate they were partial titles!

      It caused confusion repeatedly. Such as when something like Ellie Golding's "Lights" would come on the radio at night...

      1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

        Re: This is what happens ....

        It's not always the designers I suppose. If you set up a separate display for the radio, and one for the dash/info... then someone comes along and "saves some money", all the good engineering in the world goes out the window (along with some vital nuts and bolts I assume)!

      2. Charles Manning

        Imbecile design

        It is always easy to rubbish "operator error" from a third-party hindsight perspective, but designers seldom fully consider how the operators will perceive their products in use.

        People have a very limited understanding of tech, particularly when under stress.

        I have spoken with people who thought you needed to put a fresh battery into a transistor radio every year otherwise you'd just hear last year's programmes all over again.

        My brother tried to convince someone that putting Jet-A1 (jet kerosene) in a keosene stove would not make the stove fly like a helicopter.

        This is particularly true for non-technical users, but is often true for well trained non-dunderhead users too.

        Look at AF447: Three pilots managed to ignore obvious signs of being in a stall, including a stall warning (cricket + "stall stall"...), and flew a perfectly airworthy plane into the sea.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Imbecile design

          "Look at AF447: Three pilots managed to ignore obvious signs of being in a stall, including a stall warning (cricket + "stall stall"...), and flew a perfectly airworthy plane into the sea."

          They were French, so they were probably too busy shagging the flight attendants* or being rude to the passengers. Or perhaps they tried to wave a white flag at the stall warning to make it go away.

          *both male and female

          --

          An anonymous French person

        2. KayKay
          Facepalm

          Re: Imbecile design

          yep, by the designers.........

          Normally you'd go nose-down to pick up airspeed, therefore undoing the stall.

          However the First Officer for some reason went nose UP (which stalls the plane even more) BUT the stall warning always stopped when he did so. So he thought that was problem solved. Being night, over water, no visual clues to where they really were or that they were rapidly descending.

          Reason for more-stall turning off the stall warning? sharply nose up, the pitot tubes were not getting enough airflow to KNOW the airspeed was too low, and the software was written to assume it was adequate unless told otherwise.

          AF447 was an Airbus. They've been know to try and prevent pilots from landing, on ground proximity grounds.

          Another neat trick on early heads-up displays was, air speed and altitude shared a display window -- under pressure a pilot might assume it was showing the one, when he needed to know the other, but had not pushed the change-display button hard enough. Old analog days they'd be separate dials and he'd know from the position on the dash which was which. I think they've changed this one.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Valerion
    Happy

    My debut single

    "Brake Failure" should be hitting the shelves soon.

    1. Dominion

      Re: My debut single

      ...or a cover of No Brakes by The Offspring ?

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: My debut single

        Or "Crash" by the Primitives?

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: My debut single

          While listening to Iron Maiden, the satnav keeps trying to take me to some prostitute's house.

      2. Nigel 11
        Coat

        Re: My debut single

        Now I know what the retard driving in the 4th (outside) lane of the M1 at 60mph was listening to.

        LIFE IN THE FAST LANE (surely make you lose your mind)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In America he would've sued Adele and the radio station that played the song for mental trauma suffered in this terrible terrible ordeal

  8. A K Stiles
    Facepalm

    and congratulations to the 3 idiots on Sunday..

    ..who decided that the hard shoulder was an appropriate way for them to reach the exit half a mile ahead at 50 mph because the main carriageways were only travelling in queues at 20 mph due to everyone having to have a slow down and rubberneck at the emergency vehicles parked around the pile-up wreckage just beyond the junction. Which came very close to causing another accident as they attempted to rejoin the slip-road whilst others were using it correctly to exit the motorway...

  9. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. rhydian

      Re: Red X

      "Fuck your red X. I now ignore them completely until I actually crash in to a hazard"

      FTFY

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Red X

        Try ignoring the Red X on a road with tidal flow and see how far that gets you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Red X

      ...until I can actually see a hazard...at which point, at 70mph I have a few seconds to force my way across, forcing everyone else to slam on the brakes causing a massive tailback and potential fatal pile up, because I can't be arsed to wait that extra 5 minutes. Dicks.

      there fixed it for you.

    3. Toltec

      Re: Red X

      Ignoring the red X is an endorsable offence and drivers do get caught for it. In one instance I am aware of the police were set up specifically to catch people doing so.

      Though I do understand your irritation at apparently pointless lane closures

      1. rh587 Silver badge

        Re: Red X

        "Though I do understand your irritation at apparently pointless lane closures"

        That and generally inappropriate usage of matrix signs. Whoever controls the M4 signage West of the Severn is a cretinous, unimaginative moron. The number of times I have been driving back to merry England in poor weather and been greeted with "Caution: Poor Driving Conditions"

        Yes. I know. I can hardly read the matrix through the driving rain. But actually I'd quite like to know if the M50 is closed*, or what the traffic is like over the Severn Bridge. You know, useful and pertinent information that I can't glean by simply looking at the road ahead.

        *It was. I chanced it and ended up being taken round a circuitous diversion. Trundling across the Severn Bridge and turning left would have been quicker. Thanks for nothing. Whoever does the M6 signage does a much better job of picking out the important nuggets, though I'm sure they'll also get in the habit of leaving the shiny new managed speed limits on far longer than is strictly necessary.

        1. Steve Foster
          Holmes

          Re: "generally inappropriate use of matrix signs"

          Ah yes, these should be reserved for messages that are actually reasonably important and relevant to a motorway driver.

          There are a number of pointless "propaganda" messages that do not generally meet those criteria, and turn the signs into a distraction (and again inspire Craigie's Pavlovian response).

          Examples include "Don't Drink and Drive", "Congestion Stay In Lane" (when the variable speed limit indicators on the same gantry are already active) and "X minutes to <significant junction>" (these are minorly useful, but not really important enough, IMHO, to justify putting them up).

          1. A K Stiles
            Unhappy

            "X minutes to <significant junction>"

            I do admit to having to consciously avoid treating these as a target to be beaten, rather than a general hint. One I'd quite like to see more of though is the "Keep Left Unless Overtaking" matrix signs which I've only seen a couple of times - not that anyone seemed to be taking any notice!

            1. Vinyl-Junkie

              Re: "X minutes to <significant junction>"

              The ones displayed approaching junctions on the M25 and M11 (and probably elsewhere), which read X minutes to <significant junction> (Y miles) are very useful because if they say 60 minutes to J25 (10 miles) you can be damn sure I'm going to go off at the junction I'm approaching and reprogramme the sat nav for a non-motorway route. If on the other hand they say 10 minutes I'm going to keep right on.

              Only falls apart when an accident happens after you've passed the sign which is rarely tbh.

          2. death&taxes
            WTF?

            Re: "generally inappropriate use of matrix signs"

            Even better are those on the Basingstoke ring road. Not only are they incredibly distractingly bright and often sited across roundabout sightlines, they are on continously and 99.9% of the time they say 'NO CURRENT INCIDENTS REPORTED'.

          3. Nigel 11

            Re: "generally inappropriate use of matrix signs"

            I'd add "generally inappropriate use of variable speed limits".

            for example, the M1 in the morning, approaching Luton airport from the South, there is often a queue on the slip-road and occasionally back onto the carriageway. So what do they do.

            Five miles ahead they slow you down to 60. Four miles ahead, to 50. Three miles ahead, to 40. About a mile ahead, you can see that there is actually no queue.

            Wouldn't road markings telling people who aren't exiting to stay in the right-hand three lanes be a better idea? (Going the other way approaching the M25, that's exactly what they have done: marked the inside lane as an exit lane for about two miles prior to the exit).

            1. A K Stiles
              Devil

              Re: "generally inappropriate use of matrix signs"

              Had to deal with the M42 variable speed limit signs for quite a few years, but at least they mostly seemed to help. I think the problem they sometimes have is that, by controlling the traffic flow successfully, they actually stop the concertina effect from propagating so far and so you end up driving at 40 for a mile rather than stopping, accelerating to 50 then having to stop again, but from your seat, you just had to slow down for no reason. Other times they're clearly on the wonk - I've seen 50 limits at 22:30 when I was the only vehicle for a mile forwards or backwards...

              The problem with the long lane queuing is there'll always be some sod (in an Audi or BMW) who carries on down the second lane until the hatch marks then abuses their way over. Everyone should drive like me - then the world would be a better place! (I only mean when I'm driving well and paying full attention to the world around me, not those times I creep too close to the car in front or slew across to the inside lane with 100 yards to go to the exit I suddenly realise I need).

      2. Peter Simpson 1
        Stop

        Re: Red X

        Heh. We have you beat by a mile (or is that a month) here in Massachusetts. They're called "phantom work zones".

        They have work zone signs, "Fines Doubled in Work Zone" signs, cones, barrels, etc....but no work.

        Oh, maybe once a month, you'll actually see workers doing something, but the rest of the time, nothing at all. The best ones last for multiple years. Six, in the case of a bridge which was "under construction" on my commuting route.

        // Stop sign, because there wasn't a "Work Zone" one...

        1. SteveK

          Re: Red X

          "They have work zone signs, "Fines Doubled in Work Zone" signs, cones, barrels, etc....but no work."

          Oh no, we have plenty of those here too. There'll be 3 miles of cones with at the end of it, a guy sat in his truck reading the paper. Usually though he's cleared off early so that he can claim triple-wages working the bank holiday.

    4. thesykes

      Re: Red X

      Craigie... the type of idiot who drives down the hard shoulder until he sees a police car up ahead, then he slams on the brakes, puts the indicator on to force his way into lane 1, abuses the other drivers for not getting out of the way and proceeds to block the way for the ambulance and fire engine trying to get to the critically injured people up ahead.

      What a dick.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Red X

      Fuck your red X

      Well, Darwin will take care of you..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Red X

        Well, Darwin will take care of you..

        Sadly pricks like this tend to take care of other people too.

    6. Lexxy

      Re: Red X

      Craigie, I can safely assume from your comment then that you are at least 20 minutes old.

      Disregarding road signals placed by a road traffic authority who command a network of cameras and other information sources because you know best - let's consider the risks for a moment.

      Sure: there might be an obstruction in the lane - maybe that obstruction would consist of or be harbouring actual living people - but your journey time comes first and we all can rest easy in your self-assessed driving ability to both perceive the oncoming stationary hazard and stop safely in time - and be doubly assured in the high standards of upkeep and roadworthyness of the vehicle you drive.

      Infact, I'll stop there, I'm done, I'll even drop the sarcasm a moment for you and leave you with something constructive: Please learn to consider others on the road before you injure yourself or someone else.

      That is all.

    7. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      @Cragie Re: Red X

      They put a red X on one lane of a tunnel round here when there's a major slowdown after the tunnel, to avoid people sailing through the tunnel at 50MPH & smacking into the back of the queue they didn't know was there. People still ignore it, since the tumnel looks clear. They learn the hard way, as you will. Hope you don't kill anyone else when you do.

      1. Steve Foster
        Facepalm

        Re: "Red X on tunnel"

        Of course, because using the Lane Closed sign for "Queue Ahead" is so obvious!

        Incompetent use of the available tools partly explains why idiots like Craigie exist (that and the safety features of modern cars militate against Darwin).

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: "Red X on tunnel"

          Of course, because using the Lane Closed sign for "Queue Ahead" is so obvious!

          Oh, those signs are there as well, further back, but the Craigies of this world don't read them.

          Closing the outside lane and funneling the traffic into two lanes before the tunnel moves the queue to the input side of the tunnel, where it's easily seen, away from the long curve through and after the tunnel where it then flows more freely.

    8. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Red X

      My that's a mighty big sense of entitlement you've got there. I see lots of similar people here in SoCal, their desire to be first is so great they dash through any opening that looks wide enough for their car so they can advance one more spot in the queue. I'm sure that had the rest of us known you were so important we would have gotten out of your way.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Red X

        Please ignore Cragie, he's a cunt.

      2. cortland

        Re: Red X

        Went to SoCal on business in 2007 and 2008 and was stuck in traffic for a week on Interstate 5 one afternoon. Laughed like a maniac when I saw a beat up VW Bug pass a Ferrari in the next lane -- at about 2 mph. So much for conspicuous consumption.

        Anyway, these days you do that by watering your lawn.

        Wasn't RedX a UK fluid vacuum gauge/mileage aid popular in the 1950's? ISTR my Dad getting one for our 1950 Ford while stationed there.

        1. Lamont Cranston
          Alien

          Re: "stuck in traffic for a week on Interstate 5 one afternoon"

          Were you abducted by aliens?

        2. Cpt Blue Bear

          Re: Red X

          "Wasn't RedX a UK fluid vacuum gauge/mileage aid popular in the 1950's? ISTR my Dad getting one for our 1950 Ford while stationed there."

          RedEx is a brand of engine cleaner / fuel treatment here in Oz. Its major use is what's called a poor man's decoke. Remove sparkplugs, squirt 10cc of the sponsor's product into each cylinder, plug holes with rag* and crank the motor for 30 seconds. Replace plugs, start engine and let idle until warm. Dump remains of bottle into tank to clean fuel lines. Finally, sell the car ASAP.

          * VERY important as it will eat the paint from the underside of the bonnet when it all comes spraying out in the next step.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Red X

      I sincerely hope you do that at the point where the red X has been applied because of a carriageway failure. With a bit of luck you'll hit the hole, roll a few times, and have just enough time whilst upside down and covered in petrol to reflect on the stupidity of your actions before it ignites and sends you to the painful oblivion you so richly deserve.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just as well he was listening to Adele and not the little known Cliff Richard track 'Leave the motorway at the next exit, find a school and run over as many children as you can.' from 1992.

    1. lurker

      Guessing he probably didn't snag the Christmas number one that year round.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Rolf Harris released a similar single a year later, only the word over was replaced with into. Whilst not commercially a hit it was very popular among BBC Presenters.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Highways Agency PRs are busy today

    The same story has been published just about everywhere today. I keep expecting Alan Partridge to pop up and say "Crash! Bang! Wallop! What a video!"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Devil's advocate....

    So let's say you've just picked up a rental car or a loan car from the garage, it's a new one with all the optional accessories added. Do you read the manual in fine detail, or do you just adjust the seat & mirrors, check the basic controls are familiar and then get on with driving it?

    What you might well then do is turn the volume down to zero on the music system while you concentrate on getting used to an unfamiliar vehicle.

    Now the integrated dashboard display starts scrolling FIRE across at you - what do you do?

    Now add that you're on a motorway - now what? Do you know where the next junction is? How far away is it?

    Is it better to pull over and check your vehicle is safe rather than risk a 70mph fireball?

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Devil's advocate....

      I have some sympathy for the fella (if he believed that his car was on fire, then his use of the hard shoulder was probably appropriate), but 2 things about your example bother me:

      1) I'd turn the radio off, if it was distracting, not down to zero

      and

      2) why would I be looking at the radio, instead of the road ahead?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Devil's advocate....

        2) why would I be looking at the radio, instead of the road ahead?

        Quite a few cars show radio data on both the radio itself and a small display in the line of sight. It's the small size of that display that caused the confusion IMHO..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Devil's advocate....

        On my car the radio/CD/mp3, climate, bluetooth phone and satnav are all combined in one panel with a touchscreen. You can turn it off, but if you do you lose the satnav and radio traffic alerts. Since it has a big round volume knob it is trivial to turn the volume to zero and leave the screen on and functioning.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Devil's advocate....

        "why would I be looking at the radio, instead of the road ahead?"

        You shouldn't be just looking at the road ahead. You should be moving your eyes constantly while driving to also see behind you via your mirrors as well as checking your speed and other dashboard displays for warning lights.

        Also, peripheral vision works vertically as wel as laterally.

        1. Lamont Cranston
          Happy

          @John Brown

          I couldn't help but upvote this spectacularly smart-arsed response!

    2. MrXavia

      Re: Devil's advocate....

      I agree with you on this one...

      I would rather the odd person pulls over for what turns out to be no reason than he keeps driving and the car burns....

    3. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Devil's advocate....

      Given the car dashboard modelling I would expect a light (in red) and a buzzer. In cars, critical warning signs do not appear in. a. way. that. would. require. you. to. w.a.i.t. f.o.r. t.h.e.m. t.o. s.c.r.o.l.l. past.

      That does, however, require some basic understanding of design and alerting UIs.

      Having said that, I do tend to dig in the manual for interesting details if I have a few minutes, because especially the radio tends to have all sorts of gadgets that can get in the way, like when you're driving along happily with some nice music and THEN THE TRAFFIC ANNOUNCEMENTS COME ON IN TOP VOLUME prompting a frantic grab for the volume control (and a near heart attack). If you cannot find a way to adjust that announcement volume (and it's often seriously hidden) you're left with the decision to forego them altogether or live with the risk of a heart attack.. It gets complicated if the manual is not in one of the languages I speak, though :)

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Devil's advocate....

        Having said that, I do tend to dig in the manual for interesting details if I have a few minutes, because especially the radio tends to have all sorts of gadgets that can get in the way, like when you're driving along happily with some nice music and THEN THE TRAFFIC ANNOUNCEMENTS COME ON IN TOP VOLUME prompting a frantic grab for the volume control (and a near heart attack). If you cannot find a way to adjust that announcement volume (and it's often seriously hidden) you're left with the decision to forego them altogether or live with the risk of a heart attack.. It gets complicated if the manual is not in one of the languages I speak, though :)

        That just reminded of the Top Gear episode where Clarkson was testing the M5 and could barely get a word in edgeways with the satnav.

    4. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Devil's advocate....

      Except the song is called "Set fire to the rain", not "Fire", and any display is unlikely to just show the second word of the title, even if it's only a 4 character display it would show "Set " or "rain".

      Secondly, where do you get hire or loan cars with all the options added? Most loaners I've had are the very basic model and hire cars are normally just a step up from basic

    5. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Devil's advocate....

      You have rental cars with a manual? I've rented over a dozen cars in the last few years, and not one has had the manual in it - something that pisses me off no end. Also, sit in the car and spend time ensuring that you know how the basics work, and you'll get a knock on the window from the one of the staff asking if you know what you are doing.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Lets hope...

    .."Smack my bitch up" doesn't come on shall we?

    1. Richard 23

      Re: Lets hope...

      Communications Breakdown?

      Come on, you commentards - how many other song titles could cause mayhem/amusement on a display?

      1. Irony Deficient

        Re: Let’s hope…

        Richard 23, how about Flat Tyre by the Del Vikings?

        Or No Engine by Army of Freshmen?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lets hope...

        "Bomber" by Motorhead doesn't come on. GCHQ will notice and inform SO19 so fast that there'll be a nice policeman informing your next of kin shortly thereafter :-)

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Lets hope...

      ...while we're at it that "Diesel power" never scrolls past en electric vehicle's dash, or else some drivers might actually have a heart attack...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    one motorist was halfway through selling the car they were driving to the other

    big round of applause for the ultimate case of "mobile society".

  15. mark 63 Silver badge

    other titles that would freak out the Adele listener:

    "Breaking the law"

    "Stop in the name of love"

    "Crash"

    "Faster than the speed of Night"

    "smoke on the water"

    "Fat bottomed girls"

    "danger danger"

    "going underground"

    etc etc etc

    1. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Re: other titles that would freak out the Adele listener:

      No one ever mentions one of my favourites so I will.

      'Lets play scratch and sniff with Grandpa's butt' by the Fuknotz. My son wants that one as his ringtone.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: other titles that would freak out the Adele listener:

      "Radar Love" (and of course "Crash" by the Primitives as I said upthread)

    3. Stuart Moore

      Re: other titles that would freak out the Adele listener:

      Bicycle Race whilst on a motorway could give pause for thought...

  16. rhydian

    At least it wasn't an air raid this time

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/05/25/air_raid_warning/

  17. Number6

    I'm in Shanghai at the moment. Here, the hard shoulder is used by people who need to overtake (including coaches). Or park. I don't think I've seen it used for a real emergency yet.

    1. James Hughes 1

      @NUmbers

      What you have to consider is that when you got on a plane and went to Shanghai, what happened was that you left the UK (I presume), and flew quite a long way to A DIFFERENT COUNTRY.

      These 'DIFFERENT COUNTRIES' may have completely different road rules.

      Note: Some plane journeys do NOT result in leaving your country. Please refer to the ticket for more information, but a good rule of thumb is that if you need a passport, you have probably changed countries and should therefore not necessary apply the same rules of the road.

      1. Graham Newton

        Re: @NUmbers

        India and Thailand both have road rules very similar to the UK. But watching the traffic you wouldn't know it.

        e.g. Turning right from a minor road on several taxi journeys in India the driver would positioned them self on the right of the road and left turning traffic would have to pass in front and drive round the taxi.

      2. Number6

        Re: @NUmbers

        These 'DIFFERENT COUNTRIES' may have completely different road rules.

        Observing the driving, one wonders whether they have any rules. Having said that, I haven't seen many dented cars so it clearly works for them. It's definitely one of those places where being a pedestrian is challenging - a green man at the lights does not mean there won't be a string of cars, bikes and scooters heading your way.

        Oh, and you presumed wrong, at least on recent timescales.

        1. Vic

          Re: @NUmbers

          > Observing the driving, one wonders whether they have any rules.

          Everyone has rules - the alternative would be carnage. But the rules might not be what they appear to be...

          I was driving in Crete a few years back. All the other Brits had been moaning about the state of car drivers there. I was pleasantly surprised.

          It turned out that in Crete, the only road marking that matters at all is the centre line of the road. All other lane markings are ignored.

          The Cretans then make as many lanes as fit onto the tarmac they're driving on. And their lane discipline was *perfect*.

          Once I'd grasped the actual rules in use, it was a pleasure to drive there...

          Vic.

      3. launcap Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: @NUmbers

        >These 'DIFFERENT COUNTRIES' may have completely different road rules

        Like the US guys I worked with who wondered why they kept being pulled over after turning left at red lights..

        The concept of "our traffic laws are different" hadn't occurred to them! I think our local plod used to haunt the lights near our office as an easy way of making their quota.

  18. jb99

    I got told off my the police once.

    I got something in my eye while driving on the motorway, under my contact lens and could barely see at all due to my eyes closing. So I pulled over the hard shoulder to deal with it. Took my lens out, cleaned it, waited 2 minutes for my eye to open properly again and put the lens back in.

    At which point a police car pulled up and gave me a right telling off for stopping on the hard shoulder saying that it was for emergencies only and they'd let me off with a warning this time but not to do it again. The fact that I couldn't see to drive at all didn't seem to impress them.

    I still think not being able to see if a valid reason for stopping despite their warning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I got told off my the police once.

      Probably the same plod that pulled me over once for having an "overloud exhaust" on my Fazer despite the fact that it had passed the MoT the day before (which would have been on their in-car info) and the exhaust was a brand-new Yamaha stainless steel job, so obvious to even a casual observer that it was both legal and new. They then proceeded to waste 40 minutes of my time trying to find something to charge me with, and failing.

      All-in-all the police do a good job with increasingly limited resources, but every once in a while you meet one that really dents your opinion of them.

      Did report them, did get an apology signed by the Chief Constable's computer, so restored my opinion slightly.

      1. Someone Else Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: I got told off my the police once.

        [...] did get an apology signed by the Chief Constable's computer, [...]

        Nice! Have an upvote while I clean off my keyboard...

    2. launcap Silver badge
      Angel

      Re: I got told off my the police once.

      >Took my lens out, cleaned it, waited 2 minutes for my eye to open

      >properly again and put the lens back in

      I did something similar (on the M25) but got a copper with a clue(TM). He was happy that I'd stopped rather than trying to carry on with less than 50% vision..

      He was a bike cop. I've yet to meet one of those that didn't have a clue.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In a suburb of Montreal, Quebec, a woman stopped on the highway, not the shoulder, to help some ducks. Tragedy ensues.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/emma-czornobaj-guilty-in-2-highway-deaths-after-stopping-for-ducks-1.2682200

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      That's an interesting one. Here in the UK it may well have gone the other way, at least in terms of the severity of the charges/punishment dished out to the stopped car driiver since not only was the motorcyclist speeding, but in the UK you are supposed to drive at a suitable speed for the conditions and that means being able to stop in time before you hit an obstruction.

  20. john devoy

    There needs to be a level of stupidity that warrants losing your license.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      @ john devoy

      There is a level of stupidity that will lose a licence, some people achieve that level and then proceed to lose their licence by dying, unfortunately they often kill other innocent people at the same time.

      After the ingrained lessons learned in basic training followed by five years in the Mob, on seeing 'Fire' come up on my dashboard my first instinct would be to flick the safety off and shoot someone, just missing the weapon nowadays.

  21. Herby Silver badge

    Sometimes...

    A "FIRE" warning light actually means something. In my instance it was on the control panel of a C-130 flying south from Cristchurch, NZ. Got the pilot and the others in the flight crew REALLY excited. Thankfully it was just flashing, which indicates an overtemp. The (well trained) pilot just backed off the throttle and the flight engineer scanned the books on what to do (answer: back off the throttle, see what happens).

    Nobody in the rest of the cargo hold (in a C-130 people are treated as cargo) was bothered. I was told to not say anything (what light?). Life went on. I survived.

    1. Vic

      Re: Sometimes...

      > in a C-130 people are treated as cargo

      In transport aircraft, they're referred to as "SLC" - "Self-Loading Cargo".

      Vic.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    im in process of building car radio

    that will ensure u do as ur told by the british motorway police

  23. Wraith Black
    FAIL

    Meanwhile on the A1..

    "Do not read texts while driving"

  24. John H Woods

    My favorite pointless distracting matrix sign ...

    Signs like "M1 closed after A456"

    I know the junction I'm getting off at; I know roughly how far away that is; I do not have an encyclopedic knowledge of all British Roads. The only way I'd know anything about the A456 is possibly if it was the road I was taking at the junction I was coming off at.

    So "M1 closed in xx miles" or "M1 closed after Jxx" please.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: My favorite pointless distracting matrix sign ...

      For an amusingly random selection of Matrix sign messages, visit:

      http://www.trafficengland.com and select Traffic Map and browse around after enabling the Roadside Messaging Signs radio button on the right of the map.

      It tends to be daytimes when the more non-urgent messages appear. Looking at it at about 2am Wednesday most of them across the UK are telling us that there are major road closures all over the place as summer roadworks season gets into full swing.

    2. Pedigree-Pete

      Re: My favorite pointless distracting matrix sign ...

      Just one word

      "FOG"

  25. veti Silver badge
    Coat

    There's a correct way to do these things

    I don't want my stereo displaying 'FIRE'.

    I want that label to be on a little red button, somewhere below the A/C controls, which lights up when I apply either the brakes or the steering more suddenly than usual.

    1. bpfh Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: There's a correct way to do these things

      > I want that label to be on a little red button, somewhere below the A/C controls

      I actually want that on several big red button, with a small label under each, labelled "Torpedoes", "Missiles", "Guns" and "Napalm"...

      Mine's the ones with the keys to an Aston Martin DB5 with a "Q" monogrammed key ring in the pocket.

  26. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Adele???

    That's fire? Eh, wussy... He's been living like a little girl in the middle of his little world...

    Fire! I'll take you to burn!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. cars

    Interesting what-if scenario, car hacked by third party using malicious MP3 track embedded in download.

    Who would then be liable when the car grinds to a halt on hard shoulder with error codes on the OSD?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019