Category Archives: Driving

A lesson in sharing

It turns out even the big kids need to learn how to share, the road that is. This certainly wasn’t a lesson I was expecting to learn from my speed awareness course. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while now, will know that a couple of months ago I was issued with my first speeding offence letter – refer back to my post entitled ‘A first I am not proud of’ – https://ididitmummy.com/2012/08/01/a-first-i-am-not-proud-of/.

Anyway today was the day I attended my speed awareness course. I was expected to arrive at 12.15pm, with the promise that if I didn’t turn up on time, I would not be allowed on the course and would instead face the 3 points on my licence and a fine that I had tried to avoid. Needless to say I wasn’t the only person who turned up 15 minutes early. On arrival, the man on reception treated us to a joke about being sent off for fingerprinting in the next room. Being gullible, I believed this was possible. Afterall, if I could drive 4 miles per hour over the speed limit, what other offences may I be capable of?

Upon entering the classroom (it really did feel like being back at school), we were greeted by a prim and proper lady in her late fifties who took no nonsense. It didn’t take much observation to see that the girls heavily outweighed the boys by about 2 to 1. As the lady in her early seventies next to me said, it was certainly girl power or should that be girls massive fail.

It turns out there are a few myths about this course. There are no videos with blood and gore of horrific road traffic accidents and I was not patronised for four hours. Instead the focus was on educating the road user, which was achieved through a combination of Powerpoint presentation, video clips showing braking distance testing, stills of roads where accidents had occurred and discussion around hazards, plus a few ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ style questions on key road statistics, complete with voting pads. Did you know that in the Thames Valley there are approximately 350 speed cameras, of which only 22 are switched on at any one time and that the orange speed cameras cost around £30k to construct and erect? So it turns out the local council isn’t really trying to make money out of unsuspecting road users. In fact, the £90 I spent on the course is self-funding, whereas any money from fines goes straight back to central government. Another myth uncovered or have I just been brain-washed?

So from this day forth,  I will observe the gateway speed signs and will no longer break the speed limit, even if I am running late. I will plan to leave a little bit earlier or arrive late, safe in the knowledge that no one has been harmed by my presence on the road that day. I will watch out for hidden dips, junctions and buses pulling out. I will learn to share the road with other road users, including pedestrians, bikes, motorbikes and other vehicles (even the lorries on the A34 that insist on overtaking on the hill)  and I will be assertive enough when someone tail gates me not to feel under pressure to put my foot on the accelerator but instead will move it gently over to the brake pedal. I will make it my mission to be a better road user and encourage others to do the same through my actions. AA Drive Tech you can consider me educated.

I now have to keep my fingers crossed that the mobile speed camera on the A329 the other day, did not clock me at over 70 miles per hour so only another 6 days to sweat it out to see if I could yet face a fine and 3 points on my licence. No special invites to speed awareness courses for repeat offenders.

I am now pondering whether to book myself on an advanced driving course or perhaps a skid pan experience. What do you think? It could make a good blog post.

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

A first I am not proud of

So I’ve got to Post number 7 and my promise to myself about this blog is about to be broken. This is supposed to be a positive blog about ‘firsts’ but I could hardly ignore this one.

Andy gets home from work, he wonders into the office, checks the post and opens an ominous letter. A humph and puff or two later, he enters the kitchen where myself, Ava and Benjamin have already commenced dinner. He says ‘what day of the week was July 21st?’. I answer ‘Saturday, the day before Benjamin’s birthday’. He says ‘what did we do that day?’. I say ‘a walk along the river in Reading and Ava, your mother & I went to pick your own in the afternoon’. The look of relief on his face as he realises, it wasn’t him, is palpable. ‘You have been caught speeding’ he says triumphantly, with a footnote of ‘I really thought it would be me first’.

35 mph in a 30 zone. I now have to officially own up to this misdemeanour and go on a speed awareness course. The silver lining to this may be the half day I get to spend on my own, although the Q&A states I will have to pay for the course instead of the fine, so I am left wondering how much a little me time is going to cost and whether a treatment in a spa might have been cheaper not to mention more relaxing. Nasty feeling I may have been caught again today though and if I have, I’ll have to accept the points and the fine to boot…grrrr…

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

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