During a trip to rural Cumbria, I’m waiting at a T-junction to turn right from a minor road onto a B-road with a national speed limit. It’s a heavily wooded area.

The road is clear to the right, and it’s clear to the left as far as I can see, but that isn’t terribly far, because a short distance away there’s a bend.

If I pull out just as something comes too quickly around that corner, it’s possible they could find a Volkswagen Arteon-shaped obstruction picking up speed in their lane. I’ll put my foot down, sure, but I’ve got a big car full of stuff, it’s only a 1.5 petrol and the road goes uphill. I’ll be out of the way quicker than if I was a pedestrian, a cat, a deer, a group of cyclists or a tractor towing a trailer of hay bales, but still.

It’s not an inherently dangerous situation, but it could be an uncomfortable one or, in freak circumstances where somebody whips around the corner way too quickly, is paying poor attention and has poor bike or car handling skills, a perilous one.

Should I be worried? You could argue not. You should only drive or ride at a speed that means you can comfortably stop in the distance you can see, right? So if somebody rounds the bend too fast then, well, they’re going too fast. But the world doesn’t work like that, does it? You don’t wilfully put yourself in harm’s way just because it’d be somebody else’s fault if it goes wrong. At least I don’t. But anyway, because it’s a hot Sunday morning and I’m going to be in and out of the car a lot, I’ve got the windows down and the air-con off, so while I look, I also listen: the gentle rustle of wind in the trees, and nothing else. No screaming approaching engine. And I pull out, and cruise away. No bother.

Electric cars must make noise, rules European Commission

‘Loud pipes save lives’, the old adage goes. It even says as much on a sticker on the back of myVolkswagen VW Beetle, a car whose glacial speed doesn’t require early warning of its impending approach. But right now, I’m thinking, I’m grateful I could listen for piped noise.

I’ve read claims disproving the ‘loud pipes save lives’ theory, which argue that it’s only put forward by people who like loud exhausts. They’re probably right on the latter.

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