Last night at around 10pm, I was driving on the M25 heading for the Sky News studios to do their paper review. There was very little traffic and I was in the fast lane (natch) on a section with no lighting just past Clacket Lane Services. Listening to Stephen Nolan on 5 Live my mind was turning to what I would say on Sky about the financial crisis when suddenly, I was jolted from my comfort zone.

There in front of me, right in the middle of the fast lane was a large red gas canister. What the F***! were the first three words to go through my mind as I hurtled closer to it. It was too late to 'undertake' it in the middle lane in case I hit another car (although it turned out there wasn't one there) so I had to head right, and risk hitting the crash barrier. Luckily I managed to avoid the cannister and continued with my journey, slightly shaken but with my car intact. But there's no doubt that if it had been twelve inches to the right, I and or my car would have been done for, one way or another. Or at least my car would have been. And if I had not been fully concentrating on the road and hadn't seen it I would have certainly hit it.

I then rang 999 and told the Police, who said they were already aware and on their way. Of course, then I thought to myself, should I have stopped and braved the traffic and removed it myself? But by that time I was a mile down the road.

It makes you think though. By what quirk of fate did that canister fall off a lorry into a position which just allowed me to avoid hitting it? I think I used up a life last night.