Motoring into 2015 with a new resolve
14:36 23 December 2014
Motoring editor Andy Russell has come up with a few new year resolutions for becoming a better driver.
For years I’ve made a new year’s resolution but have fallen by the wayside so many times in the past that I almost reached the point of making a resolution not to make any resolutions.
There have been some really simple ideas that have turned into monumental failures through a lack of willpower, awareness or wherewithal or normally a combination of all three... and very often before the end of January.
Like my resolutions to:
Lose weight (an annual chestnut) but, each year, despite initial success I finish the year on a high – a higher weight on the scales than at the start. I’m one of those people who put on a pound if I have a beer – and two pounds if I drink it!
Fill in a diary of all social engagements and business appointments rather than relying on my failing memory. And in pencil so I can make amendments tidily without scrawling it out in pen. By the end of the year it looks as though I have been the centre of attention in January and Billy No Mates for the next 11 months.
In fact, the only resolution I have successfully stuck to came a couple of years ago when I resolved to put any copper or five-pence pieces I get in my change into the nearest charity box.
But for 2015 I aim to be a better driver, a more considerate motorist and kinder to the environment while trying to get fitter rather than fatter – not a lot to ask and something that is worthwhile but does not need personal sacrifice and willpower.
So here’s what I am going to do:
n Walk journeys up to half a mile rather than take the car – even if it involves carrying a bag or rucksack.
n Cycle journeys up to a couple of miles rather than taking the car – unless the weather is horrendous.
n Check my car’s tyre pressures and condition at least every fortnight.
n And at the same time check oil and coolant levels and top up the washer bottle before the warning light comes on or it runs out.
n Keep disposable screen wipes and a cloth in the car so I can clean the screen when it gets smeary.
n Not get so worked up and impatient when stuck in traffic hold-ups when there is nothing I can do about it.
n Leaving more time for journeys so being stuck in traffic hold-ups does not become such an issue.
n Not to drive so close to the car in front.
n Avoid risky overtaking manoeuvres – better to arrive late in this world, than early in the next.
n Cleaning the car more often – inside and out.
n And, even if I have not got time to wash the whole car, make sure the lights, windows and numberplates are clean.
n Fully de-ice or demist the car before driving off looking through a little hole in the screen.
n Set off a little earlier to make time for the above.
n Give the car a coat of polish at least four times a year to herald in spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Concentrate on my driving more, particularly on roads I travel regularly where it becomes easy to become distracted.
n Drive more efficiently, sticking to speed limits, to get more miles per gallon.
n Be more courteous to other road users, give cyclists more room and thank drivers who give way to me or let me into traffic.
n Be more forgiving of other drivers who make mistakes as we all do from time to time.
n To always use my indicators in good time to warn other drivers of my intentions.
n Brush up on The Highway Code and get up to date with new road signs.
n And finally get round to removing the paper tax disc which no longer has to be displayed.
You may think that’s a lot to ask but each one of them will make me a better driver and, hopefully, the roads safer for all of us.
Happy new year and happy motoring.