Scene: Arabella, a lady of a gentle and placid disposition, is driving down a one-lane main road and sees a set of traffic lights ahead turning to amber. She thinks she has enough time to slip through, then at the last minute knows she is mistaken, and applies the break a little sharply, causing the car behind to do likewise and giving the driver a bit of a fright. He sits on the horn in annoyance, which Arabella ignores.
They then approach a roundabout, where with a roar of his engine he tries to overtake her but Arabella just manages to hog the middle of the road which stops him from doing so. At the next set of traffic lights – red - she brakes gradually on approach, but hasn’t noticed that the road is now slightly uphill. She takes her foot off the break, and before the lights have a chance to turn to green, her car rolls back into the car behind with a gentle crunch. Arabella brakes, and – belatedly – applies the handbrake. The driver of the car behind is apoplectic.
He leaps out of his car as Arabella prudently closes the window and locks herself in, and for some seconds screams at her, shakes his fist, and in his frustration kicks her front tyre. At this precise moment, an off-duty policeman is passing on the opposite side of the road and sees a man screaming at a woman driver, who looks very alarmed and helpless. He switches on his siren and does a U-turn in the road, landing up in front of her car. He gets out of his car and goes over to Arabella.
Policeman: Madam, is this man bothering you?
Arabella: Oh sergeant I’m so glad you happened to come by. This man is mad....
Driver: (Trying to control his temper). Bloody woman, look what she’s done to my car...
Arabella: Oh that’s so unfair. He’s been chasing me down the road, and I stopped for the red light and he just went into the back of me, and I didn’t know WHAT to do.....
Policeman: Just leave this to me madam.
No damage has been done to her car, fortunately, and after taking her particulars, he sends her on her way. The last thing she sees in her rear view mirror as she drives away is the driver this time furiously kicking the tyres on his own car.
(With thanks to John, who remembered this incident from the seventies.)