Being in the right gear

Blog post posted on 21/12/16 |

As a driving ‘professional’ who for years has promoted Information Position Speed Gear Accelerate (IPSGA), being in the right gear is second nature when behind the wheel.  The other day when watching my wife and sons getting ready to go out, a whole new meaning of ‘right gear’ sprung to mind.

As a middle aged man, my mode of dress tends to be ‘suitable’ to drive whatever the occasion a suit with a pair of polished brogues is just as comfortable as a pair of jeans and trainers, aside from creasing my jacket which is easily removed.  

I have few concerns about my driving being affected by my clothing. This is not always the case and watching the boys in their super skinny jeans and fashionable shoes it got me thinking: do fashion and driving mix well?

My wife often wears shoes that look unsuitable for walking never mind driving (they are however lovely) and the concerns about a crease in a top or skirt before we leave often results in a seating position best described as interesting (as a passenger of course).

The fashionable shoes my son wears have soles that would have been described as ‘platforms’ in my day and will clearly all but isolate his foot from any modicum of ‘feel’ in operating the pedals. The skinny jeans are designed to be upright with straight legs and barely bend enough get in and out of a low slung car, never mind operate the controls. I plucked up the courage and asked the question ‘could any of you drive dressed like that?’ 

Well I got my answer. Son number one said: “ probably not but I don’t have to, you will.” Son number two said: ”I am only 15 so it doesn’t really matter.” And the best of all from my wife said:  “Not really but if I was driving I would wear something different, I know you want me to look nice so you will drive.”

 The moral of my story is that as much as I pride myself on the application of IPSGA, my one true victory in relation to ‘gear’ selection is I am always dressed to drive. I don’t have to carry spare shoes (or trousers that will bend), being boring and a fan of function over fashion I can always be relied upon to dress as the taxi driver; this allows the rest of the family to dress to impress and disown me when we get to the party.           

I hope you have a great Christmas and a happy New Year.

Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart head of driving and riding standards