Monday, March 27, 2006

Defensive Driving

There's so much stuff on the local blogs about driving that I cannot remember who popped up with this phrase: 'defensive driving'.

Hooever, it reminded me of something. Many years ago (about 17, methinks), I worked for a rather splendid company that not only made beer, but also provided its employees with lots and lots of training courses. One day, we all got a memo that said something along the lines of 'We, the beer-making company, are kind enough to provide you with a company car to enable you to do your job. You are all crap drivers, you keep crashing the cars, and it costs us a fortune in insurance premiums and repair bills. Therefore, you will attend a one-day Defensive Driving Course. You will be sacked if you do not pass it'.

I wasn't aware of anyone in the company who'd had any kind of accident, but we heard through the grapevine that it was mostly the sales managers. So, a date was fixed for our department, and the venue was Silverstone racetrack, somewhere near Oxford.

The course was brilliant. We learned how to drive really fast at an (imaginary) old lady and then brake inside the official stopping distance and steer round her. We learned how to handle a skid on an icy road using a specially-modified car with free-spinning wheels like the castors on an office chair. We learned I'm-not-quite-sure-what by driving quite slowly around the track while attempting to keep a tennis ball inside a shallow bowl taped to the bonnet. We learned how to drive really fast and then stop without skidding. And lots of other stuff. It were great.

So I got home and BetterArf said 'so you can kill terrorists now?'
Eloquent as always, I said 'eh?'
She says 'Wasn't this defensive driving? In case you're attacked or kidnapped or something?'
'Oh, yeah, we all had these great big guns...' etc.

Whatever, it certainly taught me to regard other vehicles on the road as potential attackers, and the vehicles themselves as Weapons of Keefieboy Destruction. So, touchwood, I've been safe driving in Dubai until now. Except for one occasion which I shall tell you about next week if you vote for me on Toot. (Oops, promised I wouldn't do that, didn't I).