Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Am I A Good Driver? – The Kwik Fit #TyreChallenge
It’s an interesting question isn’t it? Am I a good driver? This is a question that was put to me by Kwik Fit. To find out I took a test provided by Kwik Fit #TyreChallenge. The answer surprised me but not as much as the format of the test. To give some background, I passed my car driving test just before my 18th birthday and on my third attempt. I hold a class A license meaning that I am also able to ride motorcycles without restriction. I passed my bike test at 21 (just before 22) again on my third try. So if you’d asked me yesterday I would have said that no, I am definitely not a good driver.
I can deal with theoretical situations well enough but ones requiring practical skill are tough for me. Getting the coordination to parallel park a car or do the dreaded U turn on my motorcycle was hellish and took a lot of practise. Even now with 24 years experience on the roads I would have said I’m a poor driver. But then, what are my yardsticks? Primarily it’s the ‘chicken strips’ on the sides of my motorcycle tyres. Motorcycles lean as they turn, the faster you’re going, the further you lean. If you don’t go so fast and don’t lean so far then you get a bit at the side of the tyre that is not worn, we call them chicken strips. Mine are massive because I ride slowly.
So I was taken aback when I did the test above and it told me that I am not a bad driver at all (8 out of a possible 10 questions answered correctly) but that was because the test did not measure how fast I can go. Instead the questions were on what amount of stopping distance should be left for a given speed. When should one use winter tyres, which of the damaged tyres shown was safe to repair. Now that stuff I do know. Every time I am out on the roads, particularly on 2 wheels, I am conscious of the young family at home waiting for me to come back, and how much I enjoy life and want it to continue. So I try and be as safe as I can and make safe choices when I am out on the road.
It occurred then that while I have 24 years experience on the roads, my view of whether I am a good driver is a throwback to the mind of a spotty 17 year old with bad judgement and poor impulse control. Back then, not realising how dangerous and stupid I was, speed and going fast was the only measure of a good driver. I didn’t stop to think about the dangers involved, to me or others, and my chicken strips were a source of shame. It’s odd how these things stay with you. In every other aspect of my life I’ve moved forward but I still think of myself as a ‘rubbish’ rider because I don’t crank the bike over in corners (which, incidentally have traffic, potholes and other dangers on them). I don’t know why it took an online test to bring it home to me that, as a father of 3 and a driver who uses roads that other drivers and pedestrians use, the mark of a good driver isn’t anything to do with speed, it’s about recognising dangers and knowing what the appropriate action to take is.
Suddenly, I feel a little better about the chicken strips.
What to find out if you’re a good driver? Why not take the Kwik Fit #TyreChallenge yourself?