I drive a car. A car from a European manufacturer that builds lots of cars.
Lately, my car has taken on certain stereotypical characteristics akin to its place of birth. It’s defiant (absolutely no need for all of the electrics to work properly), it’s passionate (about guzzling tyre tread at an alarming rate) and it’s suave; given a clean it looks pretty good and gives the impression, albeit falsely in this case, of a real mover.
But add to this a gearbox designed at 4.59pm Friday, a stereo that simply refuses to recognise my iPod and parking sensors that can detect dust and therefore beep a lot and you have one complex individual.
However, it does have some nice features. A panoramic glass sunroof that’s great for seeing various things; the inclement British weather for instance, planes flying away from the inclement British weather and, erm, tall stuff. It also has a head-up display screen for the speedo that, and I kid you not, simply refuses to come out of its hiding place when it’s too cold.
Automotive technology infused with a shoulder shrug.
Recently its most prominent characteristic has been that of protest. Specifically, that it doesn’t like acting like a car should and this it decides on a whim and when most inopportune. For inopportune read alarming or scary even.
Perhaps it’s got wind of Brexit and can’t stand the fact that its owner is ripe for divorce? An islander who doesn’t appreciate the pedigree of its maker and the struggle that went into achieving mass-market popularity. Making my car certainly seemed a struggle for them, that’s for sure.
Metaphorically, it’s triggered its own Article 51, which appears to be embedded somewhere in the on-board engine management system. Therefore, we’ve fallen out, it’s leaving me, or more accurately I’m thinking of leaving it.
But what has all of this got to do with driving ability?
Well, last week it enabled me to tick the box that is labelled: “Truly terrifying driving experience.” Picture this if you will. M25, 8am rush-hour, misty, I’m in lane three of four. It decides to cut out. Revs drop, power goes, speed plummets. My mouth’s agape, my palms drenched.
If it wasn’t for the two artics in lanes one and two that must have seen this, my hazards blinking and my desire to move to my left without any further ado, then I would have been a significant mention in every travel bulletin that morning. And that’s if I had been lucky.
So thank you to the two truckers for your experience, skill and awareness in allowing me to get out of my nightmare without any fuss or damage; by slowing further you allowed me to embrace the hard shoulder like I’ve never done before.
And to my Euro car with whom I have lost faith and patience, I think the time is nigh for a final “au revoir”, “auf wiedersien” or “ciao” and for me to explore new, enticing (automotive) markets.
Duncan Pickering, IAM RoadSmart market development manager
This blog was prepared or accomplished by Duncan Pickering in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own.