Monday, 5 March 2012

Fear of driving reignited

I haven't written about my attempt to get back on the roads of Britain by car with me at the wheel as two major factors have contributed to a sparse amount of opportunities:

a) Mr Tapas' car broke down (read "died"), the engine needed rebuilding, the car was a two-seater from his single days, it was a no brainer, we sold it to someone who was willing to bring it back to life. This has left us with just one car and not sure about going into the expense of buying a replacement.

b) It's not easy to write about a fear that sits deep inside my soul.

However, I have been driving every now and then. I even drove somewhere I had never driven to before with the help of my TomTom a while back, I was very proud of that.

The last time I drove was yesterday, we went to Feast East (a food festival at Chilford Hall), there was an Adnams stand, husband suggested I drive. There we went in the rain and mud, stopping first to get some cash. Once Mr Tapas was back in the car and I was about to back out, there were two kids on the pavement, probably sent by mummy and daddy to the Co-Op to get some Sunday goodies. Both quite young, one about 5 or 6 probably and the other one about 8 or 9. The younger one walking ahead of the other, I was watching them before reversing to see what they were doing. I saw the younger one stop on the pavement, turn back and talk to his brother so decided to reverse, next thing I know husband is shouting and the kid is behind the car. Nothing happened and the car didn't even touch him as I was just starting to reverse but the thing is that it happened and this is playing on my mind and I have my doubts that I will not forget it.

Had I been thinking straight and not had been run over by a car years ago (therefore in need of a few minutes to recover), I would have got out of the car, taken them both to the nearest pedestrian crossing (not far away at all) and then home to speak to their parents because one can never be too careful and what I will most definitely do next time is wait until there is no one around at all in quite a big radius (a bit like I have always done when crossing streets and when pulling out of junctions, etc with the car). But, what if it is a busy street, what do I do then? Not drive again? Because this is what stopped my driving in the first place, the fact that I was the victim of a mindless person not looking where he was driving at 75 mph (120 km/h) one summer day 20 years ago, which doesn't compare at all to what happened yesterday and I keep telling myself that nothing happened but it just goes back to what I always say about driving: you may think you are being totally safe and doing it correctly but what is the person next to you is drunk, falling asleep, generally not paying any attention.

One last note, parents around the world, teach your children to cross roads properly, however small and quiet a place or busy and congested a city. They need to know from a young age how to tackle the streets. I just took a look at the government's website on road safety for children and have been left a bit disappointed that they start at age 3 even for the parents, I think road safety education should start much earlier. Pedestrian crossings may not be the answer or 100% safe but they are safer and they need to be aware of what is going on around them at all times. I was the model child always crossing roads properly, waiting until no one came either way and look what happened to me when someone else wasn't looking where he was going, you can read it here.

Now, with that moment in mind, I may or may not drive the car that is parked right behind me, at the other side of the kitchen window. I may or may not. The car is mine for the week. I may or may not use it.

Right, I am hitting publish.

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