It is why markets fall faster than they rise. We may sit in our kitchens, dreaming of the open road while our coffee goes cold, but when it comes to it, are you actually going to get out there?
Will you risk crowded service stations on motorways, packed grandstands at the most popular race meetings, or standing next to someone with a bit of a cough as you try to grab the bartender’s attention at your car club’s next noggin ‘n’ natter?
Actually, I suspect you’ll all be shouting ‘yes of course I will’ at your screens, but I invite you to consider whether that says more about the virus, or you. The very fact you’re reading this suggests you count yourself among the hardest of hard core enthusiasts and are therefore almost by definition not representative of the even typical car fans, let alone the country as a whole.
Of course this could be good news. If people don’t flock back to using their cars for recreational purposes, they’ll be even less keen to do so for work. Many will have to, but plenty of employees and employers will have discovered that working from home does not actually throw productivity off a cliff.
And I can see a generation from now young people goggling at the fact that once it was normal for billions of people the world over to lose hours of every day commuting into polluted cities to sit in a room full of coughing, farting, sneezing co-workers, for whom they feel mostly either nothing or mild dislike.
So the roads are going to be quieter. Those service stations will be less busy and the fuel they sell will be cheaper, if not quite as cheap as it is now.
But maybe we should be careful what we wish for. If, for instance, circuits can’t fill their grandstands for the big events, the future of both such event and the circuits at which they are held will be threatened.
There is no easy answer to this. All I can do is tell what I’m going to do: I’m going to get out there because there is a difference between living and having a life. I’ll tread carefully of course, but tread I will most certainly will.