IT'S a very unsettling feeling when you believe, even just for a moment, that your taxi driver may have suffered a stroke.
There we were, motoring into the city at 5.30am this morning and making great headway. The roads were good, there was little or no traffic and there was no sign at all of frost or ice as the motorway gave way to the sodium-lit streets of the city before dawn.
And then suddenly we seemed to be coasting to a standstill.
It took a moment for me to realise what was happening as we drifted weightlessly along as if the cab was suddenly encased in a sea of translucent jelly.
My driver said nothing, arms rigid to the wheel. And that was the moment I got the fear.
"Everything alright?" I asked, fleeting visions of rolling from the door of the car onto the street - though at this point I probably would have overtaken it.
"Fine," came the response. "It's just this new bloody speed limit," gesturing to a roadside advisory that we were, from today, subject to a 30kph or 18mph limit.
I was dumbstruck, even though I'd heard about it already. This is what 30kph felt like? I could pedal a child's tricycle faster than this.
Onward we trundled, at various points narrowly overtaken by a stray dog, an electric bread van and an early-morning jogger.
By the time we crawled to the kerb outside Herald Towers, I was prying my fingernails from my forearm, such was my frustration - that, if nothing else, a good 10 minutes had been added to my journey.
It doesn't sound like much, but add up those 10 minutes, minutes that will be exponentially more for you and 10,000 other motorists today when the traffic actually picks up.
Add up all that time and multiply it by every day you'll have to suffer this absurd limit that will have us trundling through town at the speed of a kerb-crawling pervert -- and multiply that by the rest of your commuting life -- and we've been sentenced to years of wheel-clutching agony by these drooling bureaucrats.
Worse than that, they've made us look like fools in some slow-motion sequence from a bad B movie -- one completely devoid of anything resembling an action-packed ending.
It will be faster to send a pigeon across town than to make a delivery.
The hapless treehuggers who made this new law have today brought this city to a near standstill.