You would think, wouldn’t you, that when approaching a major junction whose traffic lights are out, drivers would want to exercise a degree of caution. You would be wrong. The lights have been out for the last couple of days at Kew Bridge and if today was anything to go by, the reaction of most drivers is to accelerate towards any gap in the traffic, giving no quarter to anything coming the other way. Traffic, amazingly, seemed to be flowing, more or less – basically each stream of traffic would bully its way onto the box junction until it had gridlocked itself to a standstill, giving the other streams a chance to have a turn. Pedestrians just had to squeeze through the gaps between the bumpers, shut their eyes and hope they got across before the traffic moved again. Normally I rely on the fact that most car drivers won’t knock down a pedestrian from a standing start. Tonight, I wasn’t so sure.
You would also think, or at least I would, that given a major traffic light failure on a busy London Red Route, they would have somebody out there, directing the traffic. You would be wrong there too. There wasn’t a sign of anyone making any attempt to control the chaos. It just doesn’t seem to happen any more. Perhaps they’ve forgotten how to do the hand signals. Or perhaps somebody somewhere has discovered that letting the car drivers fight it out amongst themselves is the most efficient way.