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Sunday, June 26, 2005

To Be or Not to Be ? ? ? ?

Famous words from Shakespeare's Hamlet. ... Are we going to stay alive long enough to visit the Theatre and experience the delight of the English language from 500 years ago? Some of us will and some of us won't.

Unless we take the process of learning to Drive more seriously and work to achieving as high a standard as possible, a lot of us will not make it past our early twenties ! The statistics show time and time again that young drivers from 17 -25 years of age are the most vulnerable age group.Learning the basics from a Professional Instructor who will then take you to a more advanced and very necessary level for today's heavy traffic volumes is the way to go .

Forget Mums and Dads and boyfriends and cousins until you have reached a good level of skill and the dual controls are no longer really needed.Just because a Mum or Dad are great Parents (!) does not make them great Drivers or even competent teachers.Dads have a habit of becoming rather impatient with their pride and joy behind the wheel and create a level of stress with their "pupil" that sometimes is difficult to eradicate .Enter Driving School Instructor stage left !!

While the scope of todays Driving Test here in Ireland is improving, as a result of EU Directives,it is still short of the markand we will probably see further changes over the next couple of years in this arena .With the recent accession of ten new states to the EU Family it's imperative that standards of Driving are continually monitored and improved .So many people think that passing the Driving Test is the end of the learning curve whereas in fact it is only the beginning of several years of hard work to learn your craft and to become a safe and competent Driver.There are many Driving Schools who have never taught their their Pupils what goes on under the Bonnet or taken them on Irish country roads or High Speed carriageways .Until 14th February this year, when the new Technical checks were introduced to the Driving Test; it was not uncommon for a learner Driver never to have opened the bonnet of their newly aquired machine and either checked the oil or anything else .In fact even Opening the Bonnet has provided me with some very amusing moments recently.The day before a Driving Test just a few weeks back, when I prompted a pupil to open the bonnet to cover the new technical checks;there was a moment of silence followed by frantic searching followed by Silence .!.

No bonnet release latch to be found ...Anywhere ......enter Instructor stage left.......still more silence;but not for long ! This was a new car which I had never been in before,which obviously the Manufacturer had designed to make it impossible for the bonnet to be opened .Perhaps they were so confident in their technology that one never needed to open the bonnetbefore you changed to a new model.

What to do ? well we absolutely knew that there was an engine hidden there somewhere because we had already driven the beast .So we headed for the Glove box to reach for the Manual.Ah .....horror of manual ...and this an almost new car with only one previous owner.Enter stage right ...... Instructors mobile phone clicking feverishly....finaly a voice at the other end in the Service Department , who seemed mildly amused,proceeded to direct us to the outside of the car and to the well hidden bonnet release latch.Wonderful technology and in a few minutes we had navigated the enjine bay and learnt the location of all this nasty ,dirty, techie- stuff that would ensure we would pass the Test with flying colours.

Moral of this story is,dont expect your Garage to sell you a car with everything intact .It may seem a harsh thing to say but the final responsibility for a car owner or Driver is the Driver themself and it's vital that you don't leave anything to chance check that you have everything that was with the car when it was made and left the factory .I once left a car in for service and they drained out the oil; quite a useful thing to do !; but then failed miserably to put fresh oil back in .

Had I not been taught the importance of basic maintainance and stopped the car 400 meters down the road as soon as the oil Pressure Warning Light came on, I would have been looking for a new Enjine and probably had a great deal of difficulty in persuading the Garage that it was their mistake .

Any prizes for guessing whether or not they are still in Business? Actually it was the demise of the parent branch in Dublin which brought the Limerick and Tipperary Branches to closure .Would I have done business with them again ? Not on your Life! !

And talking about Life ..this is as good a point as any , to end today's post by saying .....You alone, must take responsibility when you sit behind the wheel and don't let anyone tell you otherwise ..Whether you are the owner of the car or not is YOU that are in control and You who will pay the price if things go wrong .

Till next time Drive Safely and Arive Alive


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08 October, 2005 11:13  

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