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not so big john

M20 northbound, a scary story

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I am posting this in the abroad section as it is a route used by most people returning via the channel tunnel.

Although I am comparatively new to caravaning (11 years) I have over 60,000 towing miles and most of Europe under my belt so do not regard myself as a novice.  I have never been so frightened towing as I was yesterday on our way home from France.  Most of the M20 from Folkestone to Maidstone is restricted to two narrow lanes, ostensibly for roadworks, but due to complete inactivity it could well be to create the Brexit Contingency lorry stack, but that is another issue for debate elsewhere.  My issue is that there is a 50 mph speed limit, the lanes are narrow (the usual sign states wide loads can use two lanes), there is a solid barrier on the right with no gap whatsoever between it and the lane, there are posts on the left with minimal gap then a foot or so of gravel then bushes and embankment so no escape route in case of a problem.  Trucks, particularly foreign ones, seem to be exempt from the speed limit and steam past in the right hand lane at 60mph, literally inches from me, with their slip stream following behind.  One actually touched my extended wing mirror.  You can't slow down as the truck behind blares its horn and flashes its lights.  And this goes on for mile after mile.  At the end of the section I was shaking like a leaf. If you are at all fainthearted avoid this road. I am posting this elsewhere as a warning.

 

Ask yourself, if you had to drive through a gap a foot wider than your caravan, with the right hand wall coming and going and swaying in and out, would you attack this at 50 mph?  Could you do this every few seconds for half an hour or so?  

 

In other European countries and restricted road width or any hill involving slow trucks, there is a no overtaking rule for HGVs.

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Sounds nasty that John, I have experienced something very similar, also in the UK. Southbound on the M1 near Northampton in 2018, I tow a 2.5m wide caravan and I remember thinking at the time that the lanes had been made  ridiculously narrow, not something I'd ever experienced on the continent.

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Personally, I straddle the two lanes, engage cruise control, and drive at the speed limit as indicated by my satnag.

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Bah, that's not scary.  Try riding a motorcycle through the Rotherhithe Tunnel.  Now that's what I call scary!

 

When I was doing 'The Knowledge'  it was one of the 'Runs', with two way working and in the centre of the lanes there was a liberal coating of oil droppings. Keeping to the speed limit,  if I rode to the left of the oil, then cars and lorries would squeeze by to overtake.  If I rode to the right of the oil, oncoming traffic would pass too close.  Riding on the oil was dangerous, well it was all dangerous.  I've never ridden through there since!

 

But that wasn't as scary as overtaking a low loader which was in lane 2 of the M4, I was on my motorcycle and when halfway along side the low loader, a seat cushion from a dump truck it was carrying, became airborne and was about to hit the road in front of me, or worse hit me!

 

To the left was the low loader. to the right there was the Armco and behind was a car, so nowhere to go - I braced for impact.

 

The cushion hit the road just in front of me and bounced over the Armco into the the outside lane of the other carriageway.  I've no idea if it hit anything, as as soon as it was gone, so was I !

 

 

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2 hours ago, Wunny said:

Bah, that's not scary.  Try riding a motorcycle through the Rotherhithe Tunnel.  Now that's what I call scary!

 

When I was doing 'The Knowledge'  it was one of the 'Runs', with two way working and in the centre of the lanes there was a liberal coating of oil droppings. Keeping to the speed limit,  if I rode to the left of the oil, then cars and lorries would squeeze by to overtake.  If I rode to the right of the oil, oncoming traffic would pass too close.  Riding on the oil was dangerous, well it was all dangerous.  I've never ridden through there since!

 

But that wasn't as scary as overtaking a low loader which was in lane 2 of the M4, I was on my motorcycle and when halfway along side the low loader, a seat cushion from a dump truck it was carrying, became airborne and was about to hit the road in front of me, or worse hit me!

 

To the left was the low loader. to the right there was the Armco and behind was a car, so nowhere to go - I braced for impact.

 

The cushion hit the road just in front of me and bounced over the Armco into the the outside lane of the other carriageway.  I've no idea if it hit anything, as as soon as it was gone, so was I !

 

 

Gotthard Road Tunnel on a motorbike... 11 degrees at the Northern entrance, 37 degrees at the highest point, and lanes each way in a single bore...

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Thanksfor the warning. We came south on it on Saturday, one bit of roadworks but ok.

We are back in July couple ofnights at Black Horse Farm then home. Think we will use the A2.

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We've tended to use the A2 for our last few trips because of extensive roadworks on the M20.  Has anyone used the M2 recently who can confirm that it's currently free of restrictions or otherwise?

 

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1 hour ago, ValA said:

We've tended to use the A2 for our last few trips because of extensive roadworks on the M20.  Has anyone used the M2 recently who can confirm that it's currently free of restrictions or otherwise?

 

YOur best way of checking is to use https://roadworks.org/

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I was on the M20 yesterday and agree with everything that has been said by Not so Big John, really scary, mile after mile after mile, when we cleared it we breathed a sigh of relief only to hit the same road layout on the M4 heading West, it must have been for 30 miles or so, should have stuck to our usual route home via M3, A34 to Chieveley  and then M4 to God's Own Country, and paying no tolls on the Severn Bridge, but typical, as soon as we were passing the Welcome to Wales sign the Heavens opened and remained open for the remaining 100 miles to home 

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8 minutes ago, Les Medes said:

and then M4 to God's Own Country

 

Has the M4 been re-routed to Yorkshire?

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You don’t say what time of day you were travelling.  I towed down that stretch last Wednesday at 11am and although mind numbingly laborious I had no such problems with close overtaking lorries.  

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Being a local Kentish lad I avoid the M20 Northbound as much as I can, Its known as one of the most dangerous stretches of road ever!! You get Jonny foreigner truck driver who comes over and either forgets the speed limits, doesn't understand the speed limits, or forgets to drive on the left!!

Have seen some horrendous crashes always involving foreign trucks.

 

People use the M2 / A2 its road works free at the moment and it may even add a few miles on your journey, but trust me its a lot safer and whole load less traumatic. 

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these  days when I come to the UK (not very often thank goodness) I have to go to Ashford so off at jcn 11 breakfast in the blue & white café at Mersham back on at 10

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4 hours ago, svimes said:

 

Has the M4 been re-routed to Yorkshire?

Yorkshire is a COUNTY, Wales is a COUNTRY

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9 hours ago, Les Medes said:

Yorkshire is a COUNTY, Wales is a COUNTRY

 

Perhaps we should have a referendum on which place the phrase refers to. Might is right, after all!

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not nice towing in a confined space.

I would worry less about those behind and slow down, don't let anyone push you to drive faster then you feel comfortable with.

 

Op made it safely and that's the man thing

 

macafee2

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49 minutes ago, svimes said:

 

Perhaps we should have a referendum on which place the phrase refers to. Might is right, after all!

Another Referendum !!! are you Corbyn in disguise  ;)

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Can I ask those in the know, if I do A2 - M2 then the A249 to join the M20, will this miss the worst of it?

 

John

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Except for the road between the  A249 and the turn for the M26, you'll miss it all except for the last eight miles - so it's a popular detour. ;)

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20 hours ago, MGBGTV8 said:

these  days when I come to the UK (not very often thank goodness) I have to go to Ashford so off at jcn 11 breakfast in the blue & white café at Mersham back on at 10

 go on the A20.

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7 hours ago, Jaydug said:

Except for the road between the  A249 and the turn for the M26, you'll miss it all except for the last eight miles - so it's a popular detour. ;)

 

 

Is this the ‘popular’ detour of which you speak?

 

 

BE547D40-0E1C-493F-BE5A-4A5C0E07A46E.jpeg

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2 hours ago, ericfield said:

Is this the ‘popular’ detour of which you speak?

 

 

The 'popular detour' is from Dover up to Canterbury, then the M2 to junc. 5 then the A249 back to the M20.    A few miles longer but at present a bit quicker than the M20.

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Personally would not touch A249 with a barge pole especially at rush hour,  but of course a lot depends on where you are heading for & how much time you have got to which way is best.

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1 hour ago, MGBGTV8 said:

Personally would not touch A249 with a barge pole especially at rush hour,  but of course a lot depends on where you are heading for & how much time you have got to which way is best.

 

Do you have an alternative, I will be traveling from Canterbury to Gloucester.  Will be in that area around midday.

 

John

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6 hours ago, JCloughie said:

 

Do you have an alternative, I will be traveling from Canterbury to Gloucester.  Will be in that area around midday.

 

John

Personally I would take the A28  / A252 to Charing then pick up the A20 & join M20 at jcn 8

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