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:
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.
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.