Tuesday, August 17, 1999 Published at 18:51 GMT 19:51 UK
Motorway snooker: Pot luck for drivers?
With the stories of the headless hitch-hiker and the hairy-handed woman hiding in the back seat, driving is fertile ground for urban myths.
The thing about urban myths is that they can never be proved or disproved.
But in what is a rare case of alleged evidence surfacing, Devon and Cornwall Police are reported to be investigating the existence of Motorway Snooker.
The rules are simple. Motorway traffic police stop speeding cars, scoring as if the cars were snooker balls. So stopping a red Fiesta would score one point, a black BMW would score seven, followed by another red, and so on until all the colours have been done. Highest break wins.
Although the Devon and Cornwall force has denied any wrongdoing by its officers, it is investigating a complaint from publisher John Emslie, who was stopped speeding in a yellow Alfa Romeo Spider on the M5.
Mr Emslie told The Times that when he asked why his partner, who was driving a black Jeep Cherokee behind him at the same speed, had not been stopped, he said he was told a game of Motorway Snooker was in progress.
For the police's part, Superintendent Stephen Swani said anyone speeding should expect to be caught and prosecuted. "If people are stopped for speeding, it's because they speeding, not because of the colour of their car," he said.
And thieves have got in on the game as well. Police in Humberside, as well as other places in the UK, have in the past issued warnings to owners of cars of a particular colour, knowing where the thieves have got to in their "break".
Whether or not the game exists, there are certain tips you can apply to avoid getting caught.
The Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions has been running a hard-hitting campaign to tell drivers that cutting their speed to 30mph from 35mph halves the risk of killing pedestrians.
For more advice on safe driving, see Internet Links.