I’ve been driving a while now although not as long as I might have done, given I didn’t want to learn at 17, and only really learnt to help my job prospects on leaving university. First lesson I loved it and haven’t looked back since.
I’ve had a company car for years, but recently had to buy my own car. Crikey, insurance is a minefield, but as well as providing breakdown care they’re famous for, you can also get AA car insurance. Having lost my no claims when I moved to company car driving, then not being able to provide proof of my company car no claims, I’m starting from scratch again so want to prove I’m a good and safe driver.
Having been caught speeding (hands up – virtually disused road with previously no idea on the speed limit there; even now I struggle to see where the 30 sign is), I had the joy of attending a speed awareness course. It was quite interesting although I was astounded at how few people on it knew what the speed limits were! Surely that’s crucial for everyday driving? They advise learning how to commentate on your driving to help with observation and hazard awareness. I think when I do that sometimes, N must think I’m a bit nuts, but it does help make you concentrate on what you’re doing rather than just driving automatically.
I’ve also just done a defensive driving course through my work. The theory presentation was a bit of a non-entity, but being taken out for a drive by an ex-police driver/instructor did give me more confidence about my driving as well as giving me some practical tips. Hopefully having this will give me more brownie points when getting insurance renewal quotes next year.
I’m not sure that my driving’s really changed since becoming a parent. There’s research, including an article from RoadSafe saying that parents (in particular mums) are more careful drivers so it’s interesting to think about my pre- and post N driving. I’m not too convinced about the fact being true.
Ok, so in theory you should be less reckless…maybe that’s to do with moving from a normal size car to a family size car. I’ve recently gone from a 2 litre Focus to a 1.5 litre Qashqai (check out some of my dilemmas here). It’s a bigger car and smaller engine; even though it’s not massively sluggish in comparison, it’s got that feeling of being a bigger car so I’m more aware of the space I’m taking up on the road. Oh, and not forgetting the extra weight – car seat, buggy and other paraphernalia that has to be lugged around in the car now, you can’t help but drive more slowly and carefully.
You’re also more aware of the ‘precious’ cargo in the car (that’ll be the child, not the smartphone, nice handbag, laptop etc) so don’t want to have problems with the car when out and about with a baby or toddler with you. I’ve experienced getting a puncture while out with N and waiting for the AA to turn up (on a Sunday lunchtime with no food to eat), and I’d really rather not have to entertain a toddler again on such an occasion.
On the flipside, there’s an awful lot more distraction. Previously, distraction was limited to ‘damn, I can hear a text message that’s come through’, deciding which radio station to have on or arguing with the sat nav about the fact that I knew I was going the right way.
But post N, even with rear view mirrors, it’s distracting not knowing what might be happening in the back seat. My old car was a lot easier to angle the mirror to keep an eye on N, but the new car means I have to move to see him fully.
We don’t really do any big family journeys which would probably lead to arguments about directions, needing to stop for a break and the like. Apart from N shouting ‘rock’ at me whenever there’s talking or female singers come on the radio, I still get to choose what music or radio station is played, so less chance of distraction there.
Overall, I’m not sure that becoming a parent’s really improved or changed my driving much. I still like to drive and I still get annoyed by the stupid things that other drivers do on the road (and have to watch my bad language…what is it with driving that brings out the bad language?!).
Do you think your driving’s changed since having children?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All writing and opinions are my own.