On the move

Far too much seriousness about the blog lately. Let’s have a revisit of what I like a lot and do mostly with my day. I’m going to offer some insights, observations, tips and tricks about something I know quite a bit about rather than me ranting my ill-informed opinion on things I have scant knowledge of.

I move about a lot during my working week. I look after a geographical area from Kent to Cornwall in England. I spend big chunks of my day behind the wheel of my wonderful company car. What I am going to do here is talk about some of the things I see. I have driven an awful lot of miles. I have driven 4×4’s up mountains and single seat racing cars round a track. I have driven big trucks, or lorries as the British like to call them, and motorbikes. I have driven in every imaginable condition and on every possible surface. I know how a motor vehicle works.

I know for example that if you encounter another car on the road that is not part of a funeral procession and the driver is wearing a hat, to steer well clear. The only people who wear hats behind the wheel of a car in Britain are old men or chavs. You may encounter the odd farmer in a Land rover with a tweed cap. That’s not who I mean, you know who I mean. The little old man who drives with his hat on. He can’t see you. He does not know you are there. By Contrast the Chav doesn’t know you are there because he doesn’t care. Assume this to be so and drive accordingly. They are going to crash soon and it’s best to be somewhere else when they do.

I drive a large new car which is very safe and reliable. I have gadgets under its mechanics which help me avoid ending upside down in someone’s garden if I look at a pretty girl on the footpath at the wrong moment. I drive briskly. I am always depressed when I watch a bright young thing in a lightweight little car fly past me on a motorway. I know that the slightest lapse in concentration in that car at the speed they are doing will end in them upside down in a field on fire. They on the other hand like to text their friends and check their face in the mirror every few seconds assuming they are in total control. They have no idea whatsoever that they are living seconds from obliteration.

I am always amazed how many young men have evolved telepathy and wonder why more is not made of it on the news. They can only be telepathic if they follow me so closely they clearly know exactly what I am going to do next, otherwise it would be very dangerous indeed. On that note for the folk unfamiliar with the workings of a car. There is a very simple thing you should understand. It is called ABS.  New cars can stop much more quickly than old ones. Light ones can usually stop more quickly than heavy ones. Despite this you will find me driving a respectable stopping distance behind someone whose mind I cannot read. So young man in your elderly modified cheap French car. When we are both doing 70 and you are inches from my rear bumper. If I choose to stop suddenly, your car will disintegrate into confetti on the back of my car and I will be inconvenienced. Your friends will write about you on their Facebook pages, be unhappy all day and put flowers in a tree by the road.

On our nation’s highways are some roundabouts. These are much better than traffic lights as they allow the traffic to flow freely at junctions. I have a tip for you though. If you approach one and there is not a car on it or about to approach it. You do not have to wait and see if any other cars are likely to happen along while you are using the roundabout. Just press on or the 3 cars behind you that could also have used the gap you failed to identify will hate you and drive very closely to you in anger for the next few miles. That’s what people do on British roads when you have upset them by some real or imagined infringement. They will tailgate you, weave about, wave, shout, swear, pull faces, and toot their horns. Give you the fingers. This is because your action has cost them some seconds of time or worse made them have to actually give way to another driver who was slightly bolder than they. This makes them incandescent with rage. If they had time they would follow you to your house and murder you and your family.

If people walked the streets the way they drive there would be constant bloody violence every day. For example. If you are walking down the footpath and you see someone in front of you about to cross your path at an angle, do you run at them to force them to abandon their plans even though it had zero effect on your own progress? If you are being forced to assume a single file through a narrow passage, do you elbow aside those slightly ahead of you so you can be one person ahead in a slow moving queue? If you are waiting for the green man at a Zebra crossing do you adopt starter’s orders waiting for the light to change to be the first to cross the road? If you are walking down a busy street and you see someone trying to cross the flow of foot traffic to enter a shop, do you wave them across? Or do you walk more quickly nearly touching the person in front of you to deny them the opportunity to cross in front of you? Exactly, but we get into cars and we become completely irrational, well not me, them. I am confident there are thousands of road users who would rather crash into a car than give way to it out of principle. I would love to see statistics on how many accidents are caused by furious drivers ramming someone they feel has got in their way or encroached upon their road space.

Here is another tip. When you are driving, drive as though every other road user is blind to you and is also a moron. That’s how I drive. I assume they will do something stupid and I am therefore rarely surprised when they do. When you are on a country road, assume that the road ahead is going to have obstructions and other road users driving as though they are the only person using the road. If you cannot see round a blind corner, assume something will parked in your way just out of sight and drive accordingly. That way when the School Bus is in the middle of the road with children clambering out of it, you will not be on the news the next day as the most hated person in Britain.

I would also like to say the pretty lady with the large 4X4 who lives a day’s drive from the nearest muddy field. The lady who ferries her two children everywhere and then goes to lunch with her yummy friends who all park badly in their large 4X4’s. The lady I see every day in various guises on the nation’s motorways passing me at about 90 miles an hour either talking on the phone or putting her lippy on. You might look nice and dress well. I’m sure you have a lovely home life and a nice dog, but you are a terrible mother. You risk your children’s lives every day by driving too fast in an unnecessarily large car which you have yet to discover the emergency stopping capabilities of. When you find out they are an awful lot less impressive than you had guessed. You will have to spend the rest of your life writing a blog about your loss and that how that awful person who drove out in front of you when you least expected it ruined your life. This will also make your lunches less enjoyable for many years.

New Zealanders and Americans do not like their cars to be powered by diesel engines. I used to think diesel was strictly for farm machinery and trucks.  Once upon a time this was very much the case, now it is not. I am not going to labour the point. Just do this. Get a standard 2.0 litre petrol car and a standard 2.0 litre diesel car. Drive up to about 50 miles an hour in 4th gear and put your foot down without changing gear. It’s amazing isn’t it? Also my 2.0 diesel car averages about 45 miles to the gallon and I do not make any concessions whatsoever to carbon footprints or fuel conservation in my driving style.

Finally a point for you to remember and hopefully pay some attention to. What is the single most important part of your car? There are four actually. Your tyres. Do what you like to economise when motoring. Do not do it with your tyres. Get the best tyres you can afford. They will most likely be the difference between you, or someone in your way, living and dying on the roads. Well that or you upsetting another road user who breathes with their mouth open.

Happy motoring.

12 replies »

  1. This is a great post.

    I have driven a tank in a muddy field not far from you.

    I currently drive a 4×4 and a sports car – not at the same time obviously. 4×4 is for dog transport and going to the farm shop. Sports car is for shopping in town – easy parking etc! Cliched?

    Husband drives something very boring, for high mileage and better fuel consumption. I try not to drive his car.

    My worst is traffic shock wave – leave a bigger gap, less braking, better traffic flow.

    In a past life, my patch was Cardiff to London….

  2. Thank you!

    Its a great day out driving a tank. Even better if it’s loaded. A sports car ay? Come on then, which one.

    My real world dream car combo, hopefully realistic one day is a Freelander2 and an XK8. I’m quite modest in my wishes.

    You’ll know where the policmen always perch on the M4 then. 🙂

  3. This post really made me laugh. As a sales rep in a previous life, well I still am a rep, but it is more gentle tootles than haring up and down the country, I concur with your observations Sandy.
    My observation of police on motorways, they remind me of sly crocodiles lying on the bank waiting for their prey.

    • Thanks Sharon, I know what you mean, leaning on the side of the car pointing his hairdryer at me! Grrr. Lovely run down to Plymouth today with my magic Satnav clearing the road in front of me

  4. Good stuff, but I do take issue with the flat cap thing…I sport one almost everywhere I go :-).

    I drive a Discovery 3 and I like to think of the crumple zone of my car actually being whatever car decides it will follow too closely or bear down on me for turning across his way.

    One guy once started following me and waving and weaving behind me for cutting him off in a roundabout where I had the right of way, so I decided to try to get him to follow me down a side street so we could…erm…discuss the matter. He drove past on the road I had just left flipping the bird at me. So thanks to the wonderful turning circle that the designers at Land Rover came up with, I was able to do a u-turn and catch up with him at the next light, pulling right up beside him…Didn’t say or do anything, myself, just looked at him, but he went a couple shades of white and floored it when the light changed.

    And another thing: Nothing torques me more than some jerk who goes out of his way to fill the space between me and the car in front. That and tailgating are endemic here in Worthing, to an extent I have not seen anywhere else. We have got really aggressive drivers here. And I don’t want to stereotype, but late model Passat and Audi A4 drivers are the worst, followed by Mondeo Zetec drivers. If there is a gap to be filled, you can guarantee it will be one of those sorts of cars filling it.

    And the fact that BMWs do not come with indicators, particularly ones that work at mini-roundabouts.

    I could go on and on…

  5. I have a Mondeo Zetec and I agree BMW’s do not seem to come fitted with working indicator lights. Another excellent long drive today and yesterday with a good selection of idiots in my way.

  6. Hilarious Sandy, you should quit your day job and write short series “Sandy’s tips on …”
    So funny and true, made my sunday morning 😉

    BTW, there is no such thing as a cheap french car!

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