A question of roads
Remember Trivial Pursuit? It’s not as popular now as it once was, but it’s still played quite a bit. In fact, here at DesperateSeller.co.uk, we were involved in a game just a week or two back - and we (blush) got a car-related question wrong. And now, of course, you’re dying to know what the questions was. Well, it was this: which way do you go on UK roundabouts? (a) Clockwise, (b) Anticlockwise, or (c) It depends on where the roundabout is.
We gave the obvious answer - (a). Which, as you’re no doubt shouting at your screen, is wrong. The answer is (c). Why? Because if you happen to be negotiating one of the UK’s ‘Magic Roundabouts’, you can go either clockwise or anticlockwise. It’s true, you can. If you’ve never had the pleasure (?) of traversing a Magic Roundabout, you’ll find several scattered around the country, such as the one in Hemel Hempstead. Consisting of one large roundabout, surrounded by six mini-roundabouts, it caused so much confusion when it opened in 1973 that policemen had to be stationed at each of the mini-roundabouts to direct clueless motorists. It’s said (though apocryphally) that the civil engineer who designed the roundabout crashed his Ford Escort three times on it within the first two years of its operation. Today, though, it’s noted for its efficient handling of traffic.
But it made us think – what other car-questions would it be fun to include in TP? There are thousands of possibilities, but here are a few, all related to UK roads, which occurred to us without too much thought.
Q1. What’s been voted as the most offensive road name in the UK? (a) Slack Bottom, Hebden Bridge, West Yorks, (b) Dumb Woman’s Lane, Rye, Sussex, (c) Dicks Mount, Burgh St. Peter, Suffolk.
It has to be (c), right? After all, (a) isn’t particularly offensive, and, in today’s politically correct times, (b) is far too offensive to exist. Thus, you’d think the answer’s (c). But you’d be wrong. It is actually (b), although the reason it’s offensive today is due to an incorrect interpretation – the original intention was to honour an individual woman, rather than offend an entire sex. According to local myth, you see, the road was named Dumb Woman’s Lane because a dumb (mute) woman lived there – the story goes that her tongue was cut out by smugglers, to stop her telling people what she’d seen.
Q2. What’s the UK’s most haunted road? (a) the M6, (b) the B3212, Dartmoor, (c) Oldnall Road, W.Midlands.
Surprisingly, the answer’s (a). Although lots of roads that are said to be haunted in the UK, including the other two mentioned here, the M6 has most reports of ghostly apparitions connected to it. Admittedly, these usually appear in the dead of night when drivers are all alone on the road (no witnesses), but sometimes they pop up during the day as well, when others have shared the experience.
Q3. What’s the nation’s most dangerous road? (a) Cat and Fiddle Road, Derby, (b) the North Circular, London, (c) the A6.
Again, the correct answer’s the innocent-looking one – Cat and Fiddle Road. It sounds unlikely, but, in terms of accidents per mile per year, it’s the UK’s riskiest stretch of road, probably because of its many hairpin bends and sharp corners. Most incidents reported are caused by careless drivers and motorcyclists driving too fast.
Q4. What’s the UK’s steepest street? (a) Porlock Hill, Somerset, (b) Hardknott Pass, Cumbria, or (c) Vale Street, Bristol.
A bit of a trick question this. If you go to Wikipedia, you’ll find that (b) is listed as the UK’s steepest road. Which, with a slope of 33o, it is. That’s a helluva slope. But the question asks, specifically, about streets. And the steepest urban street in the UK is actually (c). This (Vale St) is so steep (22o) that some residents tie their cars to lampposts in icy weather, and people have been seen skiing down it (reportedly).
Q5. What’s the oldest Road in the UK? (a) The Ridgeway, Wiltshire to Buckinghamshire, (b) Radcliffe Road, Nottingham, (c) Park Road, Milton Keynes.
Many people would say (c) – after all, it sounds so unlikely (MK being a new town), it must be the right answer. But no, that’s a deliberate ploy to catch you out. Nor is it (b) which, it’s true, has the distinction of being the oldest tarmac road, but not the oldest road. This honour goes to the Ridgeway, which dates back over 5000 years. Really, it’s not so much a road as a track, but it’s actually classified as a road.
So, that’s our 5 questions. How did you do? If you’re looking for used cars that suit our wonderful British roads then head to DesperateSeller.co.uk.