“A licence to …?”
Posted by Big John on November 19, 2008
It won’t be long before I reach my “three score years and ten”, so I don’t ponder too much on sitting in ‘God’s waiting room’, but this week I was reminded by the DVLA, of all people, that “time marches on”.
Yes, a form has been sent to me to renew my driving licence, as the one I have held for the past thirty years expires runs out on my 70th birthday. My existing licence is one of those green fold-up paper ones, and the one I held for twenty years before that was a little red book.
Now I am to be issued with a ‘photocard licence’: so I stuck my picture on the little sticky square provided, ticked the box to agree that some poor sod could have my organs if they are still any good after years of abuse, and wondered why people of my age didn’t have to take some form of driving test ?
It seems ridiculous to me that a person could pass a driving test nearly fifty years ago, and all they have to do to renew their permit to drive it is to confirm that they can see OK and don’t suffer from any of the serious medical conditions listed on the application form.
Although I spent most of my working life ‘on the road’ and consider myself to be an experienced and safe driver I will admit that my reactions are not as quick as they used to be, but compared to most of the old farts who drive around here I’m bleed’n Lewis Hamilton.
Now my driving experience doesn’t go back quite as far as having a man with a red flag walking in front of my car, but I do remember being saluted by an ‘AA’ patrolman, and being able to park almost anywhere for free, but then I’m a youngster compared with some of the ’Model T’ drivers in this ‘neck of the woods’.
I wonder how many of the local oldies who take part in the daily geriatric grand-prix to the seniors club and the health centre ever venture onto a motorway or into the heart of a major town or city ? From what I have observed most of them have a problem parking less than three feet from a kerb or overtaking a bicycle on a hill. Recently I saw one old lady drive her vehicle into three parked cars while looking for the exit to a car park, and then drive over a flowerbed to get out. To be fair, it was raining at the time, but I don’t think that this old dear knew that her vehicle was fitted with windscreen wipers.
Boy racers, ‘school-run’ mums, learner drivers and ‘white van men’ all make me nervous, but what really scares the shit out of me is when I am approaching traffic lights and I look in the rear view mirror only to see a mop of white hair above a pair of thick lenses which are barely peeking over the rim of the steering wheel of the vehicle driving ‘up my arse’ just …
… as the lights turn red !