Thornton on Thursday: Black Christmas on the roads

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton -
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Driving the message home: Puttting together last week’s Peterborough Telegraph – the last one before Christmas – was a sobering experience.

A spate of terrible road accidents meant it was going to be a black Christmas for too many families.

I don’t know what the cause of the crashes were – whether it was bad driving, bad weather, bad luck or a combination of any or all three. All I know is the desperate end result.

Every time we get in a car, or on our bike, we know there is a risk attached and there is nothing we can do to eliminate that risk.

But we can reduce it, we can take care, we can drive at a sensible speed, we can avoid dangerous manoeuvres. I’m writing this to remind myself as much as anything – because I know there have been times when my driving has fallen short of the standard it should.

I was in my car on Christmas Day driving to Whittlesey to pick up an elderly relative.

The roads were quite busy and, I imagine, mostly full of people on their way to family celebrations.

Yet I was astounded by the ridiculous examples of bad driving I witnessed.

From the driver who left it til the last second to exit the parkway from the outside lane to the BMW that tailgated me.

I’m not sure why the Audi driver had to overtake me on Thorpe Road but, mate, was getting home to check the turkey worth the risk of ploughing into a family of four coming the other way?

You may or may not believe me, but one of the reasons editors put horrible pictures of road crashes on the front pages of their newspapers is in part a warning to the rest of us.

My driving on Christmas Day was definitely influenced by the terrible pictures I had seen on my last day at work before the festive break. As yet another driver revved to get past me at Cardea I couldn’t help but think they can’t have seen the front page of the Telegraph.

We all have busy lives and we’re all in a rush – and I’m no saint of the road – but as the man said it’s better to arrive late than never.


I’ll drink to that

Having the grandparents staying with us over Christmas gave me chance to “catch up on the soaps’’...sarcasm alert. As I sat through yet another episode of Eastdale Street it occured to me why does nobody ever have to wait to be served in the Rovers Return/Queen Vic/Woolpack?

Demand a supply

2014 will be remembered as the year of the brown bin. The city council’s decision to charge us twice was, it claims, a financial necessity. Ever prudent with our cash, the council also suspends the collection altogether over Christmas because after all who’s got garden waste at this time of year?

The council is to be congratulated (at least by itself) for this commendable matching of supply and demand. Such smart thinking means they also introduced weekly collections of our black and green bins because we all have more rubbish over the Christmas period. They did, didn’t they?

Morality hunt

I can’t stand shopping at the best of times so I stayed well clear of Black Friday, Manic Monday and Boxing Day. Some of the scenes on the telly were appalling, especially as they were driven by greed not need. But where is the morality of the big retailers who have created this unseemly spectacle? Oh, that’s right, it’s in their profit and loss account.

Shocking sacking

You’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel for the 63 Peterborough workers at City Link who found out they had lost their jobs on Christmas Day. Along with more than 2,000 other workers nationwide the sack they got most certainly didn’t come from Santa.

I hope the bosses at City Link enjoyed their Christmas dinner.