Men And Their Motors

It may be that, at some point of your life, you will have witnessed a dog, possibly your own pet, suddenly curl itself awkwardly into a ball and lick its own testicles. This is of course disgusting yet the animal seems to find it intensely, gruntingly satisfying.

Now gentlemen, before you take any precipitately inappropriate action and find yourself in sudden need of a chiropractor, I should point out that my introduction is meant as a metaphor that speaks to the male ego by saying you can’t always be what you want to be and you can’t always do what you want to do.

The Fosse Way ( originally a Roman Road), for our purposes runs in part through Gloucestershire taking in such small towns like Moreton-in-Marsh and these days is better known by the rather less prosaic name, the A429. It is one of the UK’s better driving roads. On a nice day you can’t beat it for a lovely bit of motoring out into the countryside, perhaps stopping at Stow-on-the-Wold for tea and scones or visiting the remarkably preserved Chedworth Roman Villa: but there’s a problem and that problem is other drivers.

You see, I don’t think I have ever driven along this road without seeing the aftermath of an accident or indeed an actual accident thanks to drivers, mostly male, who see the A429 as something of a race track; a place to demonstrate their peerless driving skills. I am currently road-testing an in-car camera but sadly didn’t have it fitted to the Skoda Octavia Scout I was using on a recent foray along the Fosse Way. This is a shame because you will have been able to view a clip which I would have tentatively titled, ‘An Idiot Overtakes’.

Never in my life have I witnessed such a cretinously stupid piece of driving. The A429 curves and swoops and dips. Approaching a rising horizon line at 60mph I was passed by a Golf driven by some young oaf. He then proceeded to stay in the other lane and pass two more vehicles even as an oncoming truck appeared over the rise. He barely made it. I like to think he would have realised what a fool he’d been but that is probably unlikely.

What is it with men and their motors? Certainly, driving fast is fun but first you need to be good at it. The truth is that for most drivers their perceived ability is not matched by their actual ability. Lewis Hamilton may have started dressing like a character out of Thunderbirds but there is no question that the bloke can steer.

Watching motor racing does not make you a better driver, it makes you a fan. Roads like the Fosse Way are dangerous places and whilst it is right and proper to rail against the more stupid automotive decisions of politicians, over-confidence in one’s own driving skills will ultimately result in the death of some poor sod who happened to be in the vicinity.

Be honest, how many times on your outings have you seen the back end of a car sticking out of a hedge? How many times have you moved over to allow an ambulance through to the accident you will shortly have to drive slowly past? Good driving is a skill you learn and one that you have to keep on developing. Accidents are caused for a variety of reasons – it’s not just speeding – and one of those is stupidity. Men need to know that we can’t all be superstar racers and we can’t always drive how we want to drive. It’s just not on.

And the ladies need not sit there look looking all smug and superior either. You don’t get off scot-free by any means. But wait: Mrs DriveWrite is expressing an interest in today’s article so I’ll have to end here. There are some things you just can’t get away with.

Geoff Maxted