I PASSED my driving test first time when I was 17…disturbingly (and depressingly) that was 25 years ago which makes me very old and prone to memory loss. However, the one thing that I remember very clearly is what my driving instructor said to me as he proudly picked me up from the test centre in Aylesbury and dropped me back at college afterwards.
“Just remember young lady, you now have a licence to kill” he said quite calmly in his soft Scottish accent. I kind of brushed this off at the time as a typical ‘adulty’ thing to say to someone who has just found freedom behind the wheel of her Grandfather’s Talbot Sunbeam (and if I am honest, I didn’t really know what he meant…I had passed my driving test not some kind of army test!) all I wanted to do was run into the common room and announce to the world that I had passed (especially to my boyfriend of the time who had sadly failed first time….)
However, it turned out that what he said did make sense when a few months later (by this time in a rather fabulous pale blue Astra) I was involved in a serious accident…and all because I took my eye off the road for literally a split second. I got points and a fine and a conviction for driving without due care and attention. I could easily have been killed….or killed the other driver. I also ended up driving around in a Mini Metro that had a top speed of about 23 mph as I couldn’t get insured for anything else!
I am no angel-no driver is perfect and we all do daft things from time to time, but even though there is currently no 8.25am dash to the school gate, and technically less of us applying mascara while negotiating the bends of Rousham, there seems to be a whole lot of holiday mentality going on when it comes to Oxfordshire’s roads.
Just because the speed cameras are not working anymore, does not give everyone carte blanche to break every speed limit! I have never witnessed so much hasty driving in the last couple of weeks. And WHAT is going on with mobile phones? I was under the impression that using them while driving was actually an offence, but it would appear that doesn’t apply if you drive a very expensive, big brand new shiny car and you have bleach blonde hair and a perma tan. Of course you can only answer your iphone if you have already applied full make up while driving at 58 mph through the new 30mph speed limit on the outskirts of Bicester (you KNOW who you are so don’t try and deny it).
Is it holiday madness? Do we think that all the rozzers have gone on their annual vacation? In the last week I have witnessed copious amounts of smoking (and lighting of cigarettes while driving AND with children and dogs in the car), mobile phone useage and make up application, and that is just between Lower Heyford and Kidlington or Bicester so goodness only knows what level of distraction is going on elsewhere in the county. And before you all throw your hands up in horror…men are at it too (although I have yet to see a man applying mascara behind the wheel of a Fiat Punto this side of Camden).
The thing is, looking down to change your CD and rummaging in your handbag for your MAC lipgloss while trying to re book your Pilates class on your iphone doesn’t actually mean you are multi tasking. It doesn’t mean that we are all going to exclaim how amazing you are and be impressed because you do ‘SOOOO much’, it just means that you are a bit of an air head to be honest.
And when the inevitable head on collision happens and the emergency services come and cut you out of your twisted, dented, wrecked brand new shiny car and patch up your smashed in, blood covered body before taking you off to hospital do you think they will care that you haven’t reapplied your mascara for a couple of hours? Nah..I don’t think so either.