4-wheel drives

4-Wheel Drives

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This week I’m going to look at parents and children on the school run.

Pity the poor children like yours and mine who arrive bedraggled in the rain without proper transport. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Just ask Santa very nicely this year and, given miracles do sometimes happen, you too could be in your 4-Wheel Drive by next term. Going to school on the bus, by tube, on foot, or heaven forbid, on a bicycle will be a thing of the past. You’ll be getting from home to the school gate as fast and as dry as possible and in one piece, thank you very much, with under-seat heating in your Range Rover or Toyota Land Cruiser.

But there is a downside to all this. People often start to behave in completely bizarre ways when sitting behind the wheel of a 4-Wheel Drive. I’m frequently sent diving for safety as someone screeches around the bend forgetting that running humans over is both dangerous AND illegal. They will also use more kerb than road on which to park, and think nothing of blocking driveways that have cars trying to get out! Have just heard from someone we know who braked hard on his bike this morning. He’d seen a great car that looked like it was going to reverse into him out of a side road, so he gave it some space and time. It stopped altogether. But as he cycled past and around the corner, the driver flung open her door which connected with his foot pedal. He was glad to be alive though very sorry to see that it had scratched her paintwork badly.

However, I do enjoy a little ride in them every so often, although I really don’t want one of these gas guzzlers myself and our street isn’t wide enough anyway. So here are the pros and cons of having a big, BIG car:

PROS

1. Your bum will be toasty warm by the time you reach your destination.

2. There’s enough room above the dashboard for a full English breakfast including deep wells for holding steaming mugs of tea. You can also plug your toaster into the ciggie lighter socket, if you’re just a coffee, pop-tarts and fag person in the morning, though please remember, kids, that you’ll need your five-a-day too.

3. If you do accidentally run over someone’s pet, it won’t do serious damage to the chassis.

4. You’ll never completely lose anything again – it’ll always turn up under the car seat or in one of the hundred or so lipstick and eye liner holders, or the shoe compartments in the side doors.

5. A good place to put your children if they’re being very, very noisy. Some people might say you shouldn’t lock them in a car overnight, but I say their parents need to get a good nights sleep, and let’s face it, whose needs are more important? I’m sure Katie Hopkins would agree.

CONS

1. You can’t park them anywhere, unless you have the car park to yourself.

2. If you don’t want to look ridiculous and waste half a day, you’ll have to pay someone to do a test drive of your route in advance. (Do you remember this?  bbc.in/18ULteJ  Yup, not the most impressive way to leave town).

3. The insurance premium could pay for several taxi journeys a day AND you’ll need a bank loan to fill up the tank.

4. You may feel obliged to give lifts to snow-covered, exhausted-looking parents from time to time UNLESS they are soaked. Well, come on, there is a limit, and the leather seats cost a FORTUNE to re-condition.

5. Yours will be the car of choice when all your friends want to take the kids on a group outing.

If you live in the middle of nowhere (the countryside), please be my guest and buy one of these, but if you’re a city dweller like me, please take an HGV or an eye test. Failing that, just get on your bike. Please.

 

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Douglas Reed - 12 March 2013

Maybe school roads should have mandatory size/weight limits to exclude “Chelsea tractors”. This would improve road safety, encourage healthy exercise, and perhaps deflate egos by forcing people to actually talk to each other on the school run!

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AlwaysARedhead - 2 December 2013

Well who knew running over humans was dangerous and illegal, lol! I have a van, not as big as a 4-wheel drive but it has been wonderful for us, carrying 3 teenagers (2 now are young adults), plus 2 dogs, 2 canoes on the roof rack and a kayak. I love my van.

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    Jo - 2 December 2013

    Sounds like you all had a great time with your van, kids and canoes. I used to go on rock climbing weekends with friends in a beat up old VW camper. I slept with my dog in the back with the boot (trunk to you!) open a fraction for fresh air and a starlit sky. Wonderful memories despite the smell and the hairs.

    Reply
Nikki Thomas - 3 December 2013

Ha ah I can really relate to this as we are townies with a normal car but take the kids to a village school and we stick out like sore thumbs as being one of the few families without a 4×4! It is fine until it snows and they are all looking at time pityingly trying to get up the hill in my ‘common’ little car.

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    Jo - 3 December 2013

    Here’s to us in our ‘common’ cars! We got ours nearly 9 years ago, and it’s now getting a bit wheezy and decrepit like us! Idea: perhaps you could get a tow rope and sling your hook onto the 4x4er’s back bumper for a quick tow when it snows?

    Reply
Hurrah For Gin - 3 December 2013

Running people over is illegal?! Are you serious? cripes.

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    Jo - 4 December 2013

    If you see dangerous driving as a sport like chariot racing, the odd person who gets squashed is just collateral damage isn’t it? Shouldn’t be illegal Your Honour!

    Reply
Abby Boid - 4 December 2013

Ha – cartoon is very fun. And also possibly true. I tried to do the school run in my little ol’ Honda Jazz – I had to park nearer the house than the school such was the on road mayhem. We are more white van than Chelsea Tractor around here. Still, no idea how they park the buggers.

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    Jo - 4 December 2013

    Which I’d written your last sentence. One of these days, perhaps you could do a pome I could cartoon? Love the idea of being nearer home than school at the end of your journey ..

    Reply
Sarah MumofThree World - 11 February 2014

Ha ha, love this! Imagine having to have wet people ruining your leather, but good news that running over pets is fine! 😉

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    Jo - 11 February 2014

    No one wants a lift in our car. they’d have to sit on a squashed Soreen malt loaf and fit their feet around the broken umbrella spokes and spare carrier bags x

    Reply
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