Some real April fools

Explosions, chases, broken hearts—must be that time of year again

Roads Report Article April 03, 2017
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David Matthews

Going out with a bang

Police in Cumbria, England, are trying to figure out what led to an embarrassing discharge at their station this winter.

 

In February, a Vauxhall Corsa had been parked outside of the Workington police station for nearly a week before officers on the overnight shift noticed some suspicious objects in the front seat.

 

They immediately called in bomb-disposal experts who sealed off nearby roads, evacuated the station and set up a 100-yd safe zone. Then at 8 a.m., the abandoned mini hatchback was blown to smithereens.

 

Once the dust settled and officers could search through the debris, they found that the suspicious objects were just a metal water bottle and some cords connected to the car’s dashboard.

 

No doubt the officers felt a little embarrassed, but true mortification must have kicked in when they discovered that the car had been parked there by a fellow officer.

 

It turns out that the Corsa belonged to a local resident who had become ill in the town center, and this good Samaritan had parked the man’s car at the police station for safekeeping until he was well enough to retrieve it.

 

Police blamed the mix-up on an “internal communications error” and apologized to the car’s owner, but still maintained that public safety must always be their top concern. A spokesperson said that the police would review the incident and “take on board any learning.”

 

In other words, “the bloke who dropped this clanger is going to get the sack.”

 

Laws of attraction

In case the threat of personal injury or financial loss wasn’t enough motivation to be careful behind the wheel, research from the U.K. finds that bad driving also makes you less attractive to the opposite sex.

 

IAM RoadSmart, a U.K. road-safety charity, teamed with a behavioral psychologist to show videos of good and bad driving to both men and women.

 

While they watched, the subjects had their blink rate, pulse rate, pupil dilation and body language monitored.

 

When watching bad drivers in action, 80% of women were physically turned off and experienced negative feelings toward the driver. Aggression and confrontation, such as illegal passing, tailgating and road rage, were the biggest buzzkills.

 

On the other hand, men were less bothered by bad driving. While nearly 50% showed lowered physical attraction to bad drivers, only 28% actually reported disliking the driver.

 

While women shook their heads or frowned at examples of bad driving, some of the men looked amused (a reaction described by the behavioral psychologist as a “less mature emotional response” to bad driving.)

 

If you still manage to score a date despite your unattractive driving tendencies, previous IAM research found that bad habits can still sabotage your night.

 

Of the 10 biggest first-date turnoffs, four take place in the car before your date has really even begun. Nearly half of those surveyed said road rage is their biggest peeve, followed closely by texting or talking on the phone while driving, and having a dirty car.

 

First impressions also are critical. Singles were found to assess their date’s driving skills within the first 65 seconds of a drive, with half making that judgment in only 20 seconds.

 

Couch potatoes

It was a long winter in Canada this year, and it seems that the cold may have froze the frontal lobes of a few New Brunswick residents.

 

Just after 3 a.m. one chilly night in February, a police officer spotted two men going through a McDonald’s drive-thru . . . on a sofa.

 

The men were seated comfortably while their buddy towed them on an ATV. They had just placed their order with a bewildered drive-thru attendant when the officer flipped on the lights on his cruiser.

 

Both passengers jumped off the sofadoo and were quickly apprehended, but the ATV driver took off, leading police on a bizarre chase through the parking lot and across a highway before escaping across the frozen Miramichi River, all while still towing the sofa.

 

The abandoned ATV was located by police later that day, but the resourceful man of mystery behind its wheel remains a fugitive.

 

Police suspect this same man may be responsible for the recent sightings of a tractor-pulled futon in the local Taco Bell drive-thru.

About the author: 
Matthews has been chronicling the unexpectedly humorous side of transportation news since 2000. The stories are all true.
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