Just call me Pete!

Blog post posted on 10/03/20 |
So what kind of a driver are you? Most people have the view they are great at driving, and the rest of the driving population are nutcases.

It’s interesting that many people who have bought dashcams have done so to prove they are not to blame if a crash occurs – but the truth is that in many cases that footage has incriminated them rather than absolved them of blame.

There are as many different kinds of driver as there are drivers. But to be able to make advanced driving appeal to as many people as possible, IAM RoadSmart’s research has boiled this down to seven types.

I took the new online quiz, full of cynicism that it was a load of marketing nonsense. I was judged to be a ‘Practical Pete’ and yes, the description is entirely accurate.

So how did I come to be Practical Pete?

This November I’ll have held a driving licence for 30 years, yikes! I passed my driving test on Friday 2 November 1990 on a wet day in Berkhamstead and started my first real job as reporter for the Buckinghamshire Advertiser three days later, on the Monday.

As a new driver and a new reporter, it was doubly terrifying. I was under pressure to get to reporting jobs and back again fast, to so uth Bucks villages I’d never driven to before. I drove a ghastly 1979 Mini Clubman, which took great pleasure in breaking down in the middle of nowhere as often as it could.

One time it failed to start up coming home from covering a meeting of Denham Parish Council at 11pm, which required me to be rescued by my dad late at night – oh the glamour of a journalists’ life!

At the time, road safety was of zero interest to me. I had the stress of a demanding new job, as well as trying to drive by myself for the first time. I didn’t enjoy driving then and nearly 30 years later I still don’t.

In those 30-ish years I noticed that my consideration for driving safely changed as to who was in the car with me. I would always drive slower and more carefully when my mum or dad was my passenger, and even more so with children in the car.

I was especially nervous collecting 1992 World Formula 1 champion Nigel Mansell from Gatwick Airport one time to take him to a test track for a feature with the Sunday Times – it’s not often you have such an illustrious passenger!

I don’t claim to be a great driver and I am not sure I will ever enjoy it. But having passed my advanced test four years ago, I know I can foresee when someone will pull a crazy move around me – that driver who will cut across me on the motorway, the driver who will ignore that it is my priority at the roundabout, and so on.

Now I think I will not drive like a lunatic just to get somewhere on time. No journey is urgent or an emergency – and anyone who thinks ‘they are in a hurry’ or their journey is more important than yours is arrogant and deluding themselves.

And every passenger should be treated like a VIP and a champion. You are responsible for that person’s safety and their life.

Now I have children in the car more often, getting somewhere in one piece, unfrazzled and relaxed is the name of the game. I have no interest in scaring the life out of my passengers, nor making my driving experience worse.

So Practical Pete? Yes I’ll take that, thanks very much!

By Rodney Kumar, IAM RoadSmart media relations manager

Take the new online quiz here.