Don't panic. no, panic....
Have I forgotten Anything? I wasn’t worried about driving home tonight. But now I’m terrified. I’ve made a list. you need to finish it......
The Institute of Advanced Motorists has today published its annual press release advising us on how to navigate the many terrors and dangers ahead in the winter months and like a child unable to resist peeking between his fingers at the scary bit in Doctor Who, I went and read the bloody thing and now I shan’t sleep ever again.
We are advised that the most comfortable driving attire – yes, they said ‘attire’ - isn’t always winter friendly. ‘Functional surpasses fashionable this season’, we are told. Well thank god they did; I very nearly set off wearing jeans and a shirt. We are told to carry an emergency kit which is to include warm clothes, food and a tow rope. I’ve added a canoe, a parachute, a chainsaw, a searchlight and a packet of marine flares. It’s 138miles home from the office and some of that route will take me up to several feet from help should an emergency arise.
And so in the spirit of community concern I have prepared this comprehensive list of dos and don’ts and essential equipment that you absolutely must take with you if you’re thinking of risking everything and taking to the road in these winter months:
Richard Hammond’s Winter Automotive Navigation Kit.
1) Use the windscreen. This piece of equipment is often overlooked but it’s a very handy tool in winter, when it can be colder. Made of ‘glass’, you can see through it which means you can use it to see where you’re going and avoid bumping into things.
2) Don’t drive if you’re asleep. It’s dangerous as your eyes will be shut and your hands won’t hold the steering wheel properly.
3) Use the steering wheel. The manufacturer of your car will almost certainly have fitted it with one of these and you can use it to change the direction of the car. When used in combination with the ‘windscreen’ (see above) you can then ‘steer’ the car around hazards and obstacles and avoid bumping into things.
4) Check you’ve got a car. Often forgotten, this. It’s the one piece of equipment which, above all others, will ensure a safe and trouble free drive home. Always take it with you.
5) There is a switch to one side of the steering wheel which you can use to operate flashing lights on the corners of your car to tell people where you’re going. This is especially useful in winter when it can be cold.
6) If you wear glasses, take them with you. When put on your face by propping the gappy bit on the bridge of your nose they will make you look clever and sophisticated in an emergency which will comfort and reassure passengers and avoid panic which can be a hazard in winter when it’s colder.
7) The days in winter are actually shorter; bear this in mind that you will have to drive as fast as you can to wherever you’re going because you’ll have less time when you get there.
Of course if, on my journey home tonight, I lose it on a patch of ice, spin off into a field in the middle of nowhere and am found frozen a week later having tried to survive by eating my own feet and knitting a blanket out of body hair, I shall look a bit of a numpty. You could help me here by adding any advice I might have left off this list. Over to you……