Welcome to 2019! I hope you’ve made it to the other side of the festivities in one piece and are looking forward to putting dark nights, grey days and winter chills behind you. After an eventful 2018, I for one am pleased to have turned over this new leaf.
Thinking about the promise 2019 holds and reflecting on the lessons learned in 2018, got me pondering whether this was the year to break my stand on new year resolutions.
I’m not usually a big fan, but maybe this is the year… so, what to promise myself I’ll do differently, better, more of in the coming 12 months?
Maybe I should join a gym. With yet another birthday milestone passed in 2018, maybe I should be doing more to keep myself fit and healthy. But with the average cost of gym membership between £700 and £1,000 a year, a busy full-time job and family life, how often will I really get there?
So, maybe not. After all, I’ve got running shoes and a dog. I just need to hit the open road more often. And as the dog needs walking every day, there’s no excuse.
Hurrah, that’s at least £700 safe in my severely bent and battered bank balance post-Christmas. Running it is. The pooch had best be warned!
But if not getting fit, losing weight or some such other over ambitious commitment that, along with around 60% of us, I will probably ditch before January is out, then what will I do differently in 2019?
Here at IAM RoadSmart HQ, the phones were buzzing on New Year’s Eve with people activating their Christmas gift vouchers and renewing their membership so clearly there are some new year driving skills commitments being made. What a great way to start 2019.
And that got me thinking. Travelling around the country on the annual festive relative visits, I saw plenty of drivers who could perhaps benefit from making a similar commitment.
It felt like there were many more drivers out and about who lacked confidence, experience or maybe both. And probably a fair few who were still getting over the night (or day) before, if some of the traffic alerts from the Highways Agency on Twitter (@HighwaysEMIDS) and tweets from roads policing teams up and down the country were anything to go by.
I joined IAM RoadSmart as a new associate myself a mere 30 years ago. So I’ve decided that my new year’s resolution will be to brush up on my advanced skills, refresh the techniques I learned three decades ago.
Even if I was to start as a new associate in 2019, I’d be over £500 better off than if I joined a gym. At £149, advanced driver or rider training is around £2.86 a week – I spend more than that on a cup of coffee! And I’m definitely not alone in that if the queues in the coffee shops are anything to go by.
As a full member, my annual subscription is less than a penny a day or just short of 65p a week.
To be sure my resolution is value for money I looked to see what 65p a week would buy me. A 1kg box of washing soda or a bottle of shower gel, apparently. I’d have some change if I bought a cucumber or a tin of chopped tomatoes. Healthy eating maybe.
Personally I’m convinced investing 65p a week into brushing up my driving skills and doing my bit – at work and at home – to make UK roads safer by being a better driver is a better return on investment.
And advanced driving, because it’s smoother and more consistent, will probably save me some pennies on petrol. If I can save 65p a week through fuel economy I’m definitely onto a resolution that’s worth keeping.
What are you doing and what difference do you want to make in 2019? If you’re making a commitment, whatever it is, best of luck! And to all our members and new associates, here’s to a year of safer, more enjoyable driving. It’s the best resolution you’ll ever make.
By Kate Tonge, IAM RoadSmart director of marketing and communications