Bit melodramatic for you this morning perhaps?
Think about the different circumstances that life throws at us though and it is easy to see the possibilities and many of them are normal life stuff.
A change of shift at work can take a while for the body and mind to adjust to. A bout of illness can have exactly the same effect. Something as expected as a night out can leave you driving tired just a few hours later than you normally would be.
It is so easy to roll off the old, ‘avoid driving tired’ routine when in real life all of the above are unavoidable.
So some practical advice:
- Allow larger gaps between your vehicle and everything else because tiredness impairs judgement.
- If you have to drive for more than half an hour take breaks.
- Swap drivers at the half hour point if possible.
- Open the drivers window – others may complain but having a driver refreshed by cooler air is better than experiencing a car crash.
- When you take a break at least get out and walk about.
- If possible when you take a break run cold water across your wrists and keep them there for a while.
If you find that your driving is impaired within your half hour driving time then you only have one further option:
Park safely and SLEEP!
Our return journey home was uneventful apart from the timings. In common with many UK drivers before me I forgot that the French motorway network has a paeage system which is a toll system of motorway financing. This fact in itself is not what I forgot. I forgot about the absolutely enormous queues which go with it especially at popular choke points in the network such as the Pont Do Normandie. A bloody great bridge upon which several motorways converge. The weekly ‘run to the channel’ for UK tourists has to be the busiest time of the week.
We did make it in time for our train but rather than the leisurely drive up the coast with two or three convenient stops for breaks and pictures in pretty places we ended up just driving and queuing. Aah well, life happens.
Once back on UK British shores I was faced with an entirely different driving environment. The UK motorway network. Apart from the fact that there are signs and road markings there are not many similarities between the two motorway systems. Ours is wider, used by a far greater number of vehicles, more complex in its nature and once you add smart motorways and traffic officers (oh yes, they exist) to a much more diverse traffic flow then we have, in my opinion, a much better motorway system.
With over two thousand miles of motorway network to go at there is much for the beginner to find daunting. I do motorway driving lessons for those in the Nuneaton area at a reasonable price and I can certainly see why they are popular with those who have recently passed.
With an extra two and a half million cars on the road in recent years and no end in sight to the rise in traffic numbers the situation is not going to become any easier for the new driver to adjust to. Whereas I can certainly see why our motorways are safer than the French ones, I can also see a point in the not too distant future where motorway tuition will be insisted upon after passing the driving test.
Whether the planned expansions to the UK motorway network will make this possible for every area of the country I am not sure. That would be the requirement for adding motorway driving to the standard driving test. I think the time may be approaching whereby new drivers have to jump some sort of official hurdle before they can officially drive on the motorways.
As to what that may be; if you have any ideas or suggestions then I would value your opinion in the comments section.
That’s next week!
I will say, as I have been saying for years, that the motorways would be far safer than they already are if learner drivers could access motorway training from qualified driving instructors.
As you can see in this piece from the government website: Gov.uk the announcement has been made and we can begin the process of making what are already regarded as being statistically the safest roads; even safer.
Anyone who has driven regularly on the UK’s motorway network will be only too well aware that the standard of driving exhibited around you can change from minute to minute. We are all painfully made aware that the vast majority of drivers have had no extra training what-so-ever in preparation for motorway journeys and this manifests itself in some of the displays of driving that make us cringe.
This change is welcome and in my opinion will improve the safety standards on our motorway network on a drip feed basis. Practically speaking this is the only way. It is hardly practical to close the motorways to those without suitable training, nor desirable for that matter.
I extend my sympathies to anyone who is learning to drive far enough away from the motorway network that it is not reasonably practical for them to take advantage of this legislative change. For the majority of the population though this is an opportunity that I believe the majority of pupils will welcome to gain their first experience on a motorway with their professional driving instructor.