I was saddened to read a piece of motoring news today. Mainly because it destroyed a little theory I had been building up in recent times.
My idea started when I saw how drivers in a lot of foreign countries drive in a more reckless and less considerate way than in the UK. There are many problems with driving in Britain, but I have always felt that the courtesy and respect you get from other motorists was one of the great things about the place.
On the other hand, in many other places such as Spain, Italy and South America, everyone is out to look after themselves on the road and will cut you up, beep their horn at you and generally let you know that you shouldn’t even be on the road to start with if all you are going to do is get in their way.
The weird thing is that people from those places are generally really friendly but something about being behind a wheel seems to drive them a little bit crazy.
Is Driving a Pleasure or a Challenge?
My theory, therefore, is that Brits are more considerate drivers because they drive, at least in some way, for the pleasure of driving. South America drivers, for example, appear to see it as some sort of challenge in which they have to beat everyone even if it involves taking mad risks in the process.
Then I saw the report which said that more than two thirds of Brits see their car just as a way of getting from A to B. This seems terribly sad to me. I have never been one to fall in love with my cars and spend all day admiring them. However, I think that the act of driving as something exciting and pleasurable which is far more than getting from one place to another.
The survey suggested that the shift in attitudes is down to rising petrol prices but I am not so sure. Could it be that we just don’t take the time to enjoy our driving anymore because we are too busy thinking of other things?