..and amazing how many truck drivers drive about 10 foot away from the truck in front… whatever the weather… and middle lane hogs…what are they doing?….. anyone noticed how many more aggressive female drivers there are these days?… people driving along reading reports/instructions whilst wandering all over the carriageway anyone?… what about the Sunday morning bikers?… overtaking on blind bends? …and it’s spreading…. You used to be able to go to the continent and expect a huge leap in the standard of driving… especially amongst the truck drivers… but now that ain’t so… especially if the truck is wearing eastern European plates… young drivers…..old drivers…male drivers…female drivers… It’s pretty hard to work out who is worse… there is only one exception… I’m a great driver! Laugh all you like.. but isn’t that what most people think? Especially the young who haven’t had yet realised that they are not going to live forever… but I have an answer to the problem.
It came to me in a flash last night… well, when I say flash… more of a rattle and a wheeze… Last night I drove with more concentration and consideration than at any time in the last 25 years…..
Why?… well.. I use a local garage for all my vehicle servicing..both the commercials at work and my own fleet of assorted vehicles. The garage I use is a Grandfather, Father, Son type of business that specialise in commercials but will turn their hand to anything you throw at them from Artics to Lawn mowers with equal skill and professionalism.. they’re not cheap.. but by Christ they are thorough….. and honest… the Son builds competition Land Rover based vehicles…for fun .. the Father restores and works on classic rally cars… for fun… This is the sort of garage that it is. Anyway, they also operate a pretty unique service in this day and age… they have a team of drivers who collect and deliver for anything from a full service on your lorry to an MOT for your car…and.. this is the best bit.. they always leave you with a courtesy car… The Loaner!… They acquire these “loan” vehicle from a variety of sources… mostly from older customer who are giving up driving… or from the families of older customers… whose old relatives have… shall we say just “given up”.. if you know what I mean. The point that I am coming to is that all these loan vehicle are older models with low miles that have been lovingly cared for. ….. So I handed over my Ford Explorer to them yesterday and received… in return…. A splendid 25 year old Metro City…. Well what a shock to the system.. no power steering… no air bags…. no radio… no electric window.. in fact not much at all… I mean… it had four gears! When was the last time people drove a car with four gears?
So how did I enjoy this experience, driving the 30 odd miles home last night? I was bloody terrified….to start with… that’s how much I enjoyed it. I actually had to concentrate on driving and felt pretty vulnerable. I gave way to people…which.....if you now me is pretty remarkable in itself… I didn’t even miss the radio as driving was taking all my attention .. I left plenty of room between me and the car in front…then it struck me….. I was actually enjoying the drive… for the first time in years.. I actually enjoyed the drive! Why? Well… firstly the frustration at slower cars disappeared.. the route home takes in motorways, major trunks and country lanes… and country lanes can be pretty frustrating behind slower cars…but suddenly.. I don’t feel the need to overtake… 50 mph in a Metro feels like you’re flying along. Secondly, with concentrating on driving the agricultural little beast.. I had no time to let my mind mull over the problems of the day… a revelation, I can tell you.
So… my current theory is…* fanfare of trumpets *
…. Modern vehicles are too easy to drive.. they cosset the driver so much that insufficient attention is paid to the actual driving of the vehicle.. air bags, ABS SIPS… they all make the driver feel invincible and cocooned... and allow them to take risks,… as does the effortless power that we have at our command, relatively speaking… so..
Ladies and Gentlemen.. I give you the "Retro Metro Revolution”
….. get caught speeding, tailgating, driving like a numpty and you will be sentenced to driving a small, low powered and very “unsafe” vehicle until you realise that the modern vehicle only gives an illusion of safety and invincibility…..
Ps… I can’t wait to borrow their latest “loaner”… a genuine, low mileage, one careful owner..beige .. Allegro ! Fantastic…