Long-time blog commenter Zaphod sent me a mail describing a dilemma he faced recently. He was asking (rhetorically) what he should have done. It reminded me of a couple of situations I have been in (one almost identical, last year), and I thought I would post it to see what others thought.
Here's what he sent ...
I was driving home very late at night, on a country road. I'd passed cats in the road, a few rabbits of course, a deer, and even a fox. What's next? Just round a tight blind bend, I found two cows broadside on!
It took a fraction of a second to dismiss the tired-driving-hallucination hypothesis, but I did stop in time. (I wasn't that tired, but I've known it to happen.)
Now what? Is this a 999 situation? I don't know the number of local Plod. And cows are a serious hazard, they've got less road sense than rabbits and they mass a lot more.
I did the 999.
Rough location, (road between X and Y). No, I don't know the name of the road, but there's only one road between X and Y. No, I don't know whose cows they are. My name, address, DOB, (?)
She didn't seem very interested. I said, "Look, I'm gonna stay with them for a bit. I've got my lights and hazards on, they're wandering along the road. I'll stay til the cops show up, or if they go back in their field I can maybe close a gate?".
15 minutes later they wandered into a field, but it didn't have a gate. I rang again. "Update, they're in a field opposite a farm entrance with the name Z on the gatepost. But if I leave they'll come out again."
Another 15 minutes, I got bored and went home.
I don't know what a cop could have done, but they've got access to more resources than I have. I wasn't gonna knock on a farmhouse door at 3:30am, a hippie in a transit van. They probably weren't his cows anyway, and farmers are notoriously shy of visitors, (and have shotguns).
Should I have stayed? I'd still be there? The cops never got back to me. Maybe the city girl on the 999 phone thinks that cows are of a size to fit in a burger? And as fast as squirrels?
Well, what would you have done?