After driving for forty-five years and with well over half a million accident-free miles behind me I was recently obliged to take a driving tot as I had not held a licence in this country for ten years. All the questions on the Highway Code were answered correctly and the various manoeuvres such as emergency stopping and a three point turn were carried out to the examiner’s satisfaction. I was however found to be incompetent to drive.
In addition to driving every possible sort of vehicle, including armoured lighting vehicles during the war, I have ranged over a fairly wide area. My job has taken me, and still takes me, to many different countries and driving conditions have varied front snarled up traffic in New York and other great cities to desert and bush. Within the last year I have driven over ten thousand miles in England and Europe and three thousand miles in Africa.
The point is that I have recently come across instances of other people with similar driving experience who are now in very much the same boat and I wonder what on earth the Minister of Environment calls a competent driver. All these experienced drivers have, as I have done, hired it driving school instructor to iron out any bad habits they may have acquired, although habits and reactions which lead to tens of thousands of miles of accident-free driving can hardly be called bad. My own driving instructor was kind enough to express the opinion that I was “obviously a very safe, competent and experienced driver” (his words) but the tester clearly did not agree.
To end on a lighter note. A rather flustered lady recently reversed into my stationary car. The damage was slight and at her request I got into her car and extricated her vehicle from the position into which she had managed to get it. She was profuse in her apologies and excused herself by saying that she had not had a great deal of experience as she had “only just passed the test”. Many thanks for Motor Sprot. It finds its way to all sorts of remote corners of the world.
Name and address supplied.