You go out in your car, it’s like being in the middle of an ‘80’s video game. That guy is gonna pull out in front of you, this old dear is gonna park her car in the middle of the road, this girl is gonna drive three inches behind you while doing her lippy in the rear view mirror.
It often annoys me to see how downright badly people drive and I regularly find it hard to hold my peace about it.
Sometimes I berate them after they have driven away (amusing but largely pointless), sometimes I fume silently and promise to blog about it - and sometimes I go at them while they are still there (which is often quite dangerous).
Me? I think I’m quite a good driver. Not in a rapid gear change, heavy revving, wear pointless black gloves sort of a way. I think I’m focused and steady and fairly safe.
As a matter of fact, I’ve developed a bit of a theory on the reason why this might be…
(What? Oh, you’re off? Well see you next time maybe, eh? I know it’s boring but I just want to get it down on paper… you know how these things are.)
My theory is simple. I think there is one key element which sets all good drivers apart from the hoards of useless ones out there. No, it’s not gender, I have no time for that discussion at all. Well, maybe I have a little time… but not right now.
This thing that sets us good drivers apart… it’s Imagination.
I do a bit of writing, I don’t know if you know this. I like to imagine stories and scenarios and discussions and arguments and gun battles and such-like. It occupies a surprising amount of my time. For this reason, I am gifted with a very graphic imagination. I’m not bragging here – it can be something of a curse.
If I get involved in visualising a scenario, that scenario can take over my mind to quite a startling extent. The regular world can simply ‘go away’ for a time and whatever thing is ‘playing out’ in my head will be there, wide and vividly coloured, in front of my eyes. This visualising can halt me in the middle of a conversation or even stop me in my tracks when I am walking. It’s like how they sometimes show flashbacks in movies, without the wobbly-screen bit at the start.
Okay, so we've established that I have some level of imagination. My point is that this helps me enormously towards being a safer driver. The reason is simple. I can ‘see’ what might happen or, more to the point, I can see what might have very nearly just happened and the visceral – often gory – truth of what I see scares me and troubles me into being a little bit more careful as I drive down the road.
These driving scenarios are always playing quietly in the back of the mind. Is there a child behind that car? Will I be able to stop if she runs out. Will I hit her and watch with horror as her little ragdoll heap tumbles up and bloodily shatters my windscreen. How hot will her blood be as it spatters my face? What will the smells be like in my car then, burnt rubber from the all- too-late-brakes, some fruity shampoo from her hair in my face and perhaps… other things too - things I can visualise but do not wish to mention.
The possibility of what I could do with my car is kept in the front of my brain by my imagination and this keeps me slower and safer than some others you may see.
‘Not a saint – never a saint – just a slightly scared motorist who understands what my car might do on my behalf.
The proof of my theory lies mostly in its corollary.
The next time you see someone driving badly, look at them closely. You will see. Whoever they are, they are not creatures of imagination. They do not dream of what they and their car might one day inadvertently do to somebody else.
I really hope they never have to find out.