Fuel-Injected Mimsers

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Sir,

Mr Crawford (Motor Sport, August 1988) is quite correct. The standard of driving in Britain is appallingly low. The problem seems to be the attitude Motor Sport is so often guilty of, that merely because cars can now travel much faster their drivers are qualified to drive them at top speed. This is rubbish. Any fool can drive at 100 mph along the fast lane of a motorway in a GTi (and most of them do); the skilled driver is one who can get across country quickly in a Skoda Estelle.

Unfortunately, performance and luxury are now combined in the same vehicle. This means that no choice has to be made between the two, and the car’s badge becomes a status symbol. The housewife aspires to a Golf GTi be it shows how well her husband is doing. The salesman gets a Cavalierr SRi because he can sell, not because be can drive.

You do not become a good driver by using a fast car on fast roads. Modern drivers have never had to face the problems that were apparent even up to the 1960s. I certainly don’t regard myself as a good driver by absolute standards, but I am sure that any virtues I have in that direction were learned through dealing with the vertiginous roadholding and eccentric brakes of the Austin A35 that was my first car. I apply those lessons when enjoying the twisting, dipping Norfolk roads, only to be held up time and time again by fuel-injected mimsers.

Of course there are good drivers (and not many will drive a Skoda Estelle), but they are few and far between and their numbers do not match the quantity of performance cars sold. I am sure they will not be supporting your calls for more motorways, more junctions, fewer controls. That merely encourages the incompetence that makes our motorways into terrifying deathtraps. What they will want is better standards all round, so they can enjoy their driving without having to watch out for halfwits in the fast lane.

There is no such thing as a sports-car, only sporting drivers.

MW Tooley

Cambridge