Having trouble driving in Devizes? We’re not surprised, it’s got the infrastructure designed by a six-year-old given some Lego road plates. There are rules, on a need-to-know basis, if you’re not local you will get no sympathy for your negligence of them. So, here’s some advice to follow if passing through our lovely town…you don’t have to thank me, I just overtook you because you were foolish enough to believe the red light at London Road’s traffic lights actually means you have to stop!
1- Even if you escape and head down Caen Hill like a Tie-fighter launching off the Death Star, congestion in town is always a problem. If you need to get across town in a hurry, simply type a post on a local Facebook group with the word “issue” in its title, pretending that the road you require is closed, and hey presto, within minutes you’ll be like Will Smith in “I Am Legend.”
2- Lethal potholes are rife throughout the town, it wouldn’t be a Wiltshire town without them. You need to be financially able to purchase either a 4×4, tractor or monster truck, the latter can be helpful too for on-street parking. If you wish your street to be resurfaced regularly consider moving to a street where a Wiltshire Councillor lives.
3- Safety at roundabouts. Devizes has it’s own rules for roundabouts you need to be aware of. You must give way to the driver with the most expensive vehicle, at all times. Aside this, every roundabout has its own unique rules, points 4, 5 and 6, are just three of the most bizarre.
4- Indicating right at the Castle Hotel roundabout. You should be aware, anyone indicating right whilst coming out of the one-way system on Maryport Street and onto the mini roundabout, codger or not, are bluffing, and are actually intending to go straight over. Check their poker face before bothering to stop.
5- Pick a lane at the Cannings Hill roundabout, but don’t let anyone see it. Even the first roundabout you hit if heading into town from the east, Swindon/Marlborough direction, is a David Blaine fashioned illusion. The turning on the far right is bogus, there’s two left turnings proir to the main route into town, so in theory you should be in the right lane if heading to the town centre. But anyone who does is snarled at and given the mid-digit, so most don’t bother. Best option is to straddle both lanes and wind the windows up if easily offended.
6- Roses Roundabout. Unlike Swindon, names of roundabouts are unofficial, we just name them after a nearby landmark so grumpy old gits can whinge in pubs about them, and other grunpy old gigs listening know to which they refer. The roundabout meeting Estcourt, New Park Streets and Southbroom Road, usually dubbed after the longstanding hardware shop, but also reffered to as Dominoes Pizza or Kwik-Fit roundabout, is our Arc de Triomphe, and is a complete free-for-all. Best method to win right of way on this one is to adopt the expression of a lunatic on a day out of the funny farm, and shove your way out, otherwise a stalemate will occur while everyone looks at everyone else, contemplating who the maddest bastard is. Note; butcher’s vans generally 3-60, and vistors to the vets should also consider booking a doctor’s appointment too.
7- The Shane’s Castle hairpin manoeuvre. It’s as dodgy as a plumper advertising on The Devizes Issues (but better,) but the infamous Shane’s Castle hairpin manoeuvre can be pulled off with practice. Anyone there struggling and red-in-face is an outsider, blindingly following a sat-nav, and needs to be laughed at hysterically. The mind-boggling concept of putting a no right turn sign on Dunkirk Hill is the stuff of Tolkien style fiction to a town planner, so for now, it’s free game. The best technique is simply to close both eyes and swing it wildly around, there is no room neither time for caution.
8- The St Johns Street-Market Place zebra crossing. Unofficially the singlemost stupidest place to place a zebra crossing in the universal history of stupid places to place a zebra crossing. It’s the kinda zebra crossing even zebras say “I ain’t crossing there, buddy.” Be wary of this one unless you are Immortan Joe, especially when Spoons kicks out. You might view it as natural selection but the police won’t see it the same way.
9- Do Hopton Industrial Estate like a Boss. Queuing from Newbury because it’s shift change at the factories on Hopton Industrial Estate, and they’ve got the right of way at the roundabout? Stop. Think. If you can’t beat the them, join them, and turn right on the dual carriageway no matter what restrictions or pavements are there. Be like a boss, and beat the traffic, you can even bag yoursef an all day breakfast baguette on the way through, and still get in front of the 49 bus.
10- There is No Law, at least none worth the weight of the paper their payslips are printed on. Yes, Devizes maybe the headquarters of Wiltshire Police, and it may boast its pivotal role in operation Julie, the biggest worldwide illegal drug bust in history, but face it, that was near on fifty years ago and likely their last success story.
Honestly, being so close to the Salisbury Plains, you could roll down New Park Street in a fleet of Russian T-4 combat tanks lobbing molotov cocktails at the Shambles carpark, and if they can be arsed they might yet send a rookie officer to give you a stern telling off.
Otherwise, you’re pretty much free to do whatever traffic violation you deem suitable to get you through the congestion, safe in the knowledge traffic police seldom come out of their doughnut filled hobby holes to investigate. Just don’t confuse a camera-yeilding bloke who, though might look like Noel Edmonds, is no friend of Mr Blobby, rather the Ingsoc of Devizes, and you answer to him as if you were Winston Smith in room 101. So, ensure you are always in the right hand lane at the Wadworth roundabout if wishing to go into the Market Place, anything else is your own perogative, just don’t look for a bypass; Roundway Hill is NOT the Hammersmith flyover!