The M62. For those who don’t know it, it is the motorway which connects one side of the north with the other. And it is a terrible road. There is too much traffic, the road works have been going on since the dawn of time, you have to look at Castleford and, worst of all, at the end of the day you either end up in Liverpool or Hull.
However, I like this road. You see it has soul. How can a road have soul I hear you ask? Well, let me briefly explain. Firstly, no motorway in the country has a random farm in the middle of the two carriageways. Legend has it that the Yorkshireman who lived there refused to move, so they simply built it round him. This is excellent. Moreover, the views are splendid (apart from that ghastly Carcraft warehouse) and you can see the oldest Ikea in the north from the carriageway.
What I like most about it though, is the fact that it is the most challenging motorway to navigate in Britain. From a driving point of view, completing a journey over the hills is quite a satisfactory experience. This level of difficulty does, however, show up the rubbish drivers, and this week, I discovered a new breed of them. I should first clarify there are two things in particular that irritate me whilst driving. First are those who drive so slowly that by the end of their journey, wind erosion has decimated their destination. And second are those, mainly in Peugeots, who trundle along in the middle lane causing distress, fury and in the long run a considerably higher probability of stress-related deaths for other drivers.
I now have a third to add to this collection. These are drivers who not only sit in the middle lane, but drive at 90mph when there’s nothing in front of them, but utterly refuse to move from this lane when there is something slower in front of them. These people are either a) unable to properly control their speed or b) too scared and/or comfortable to adapt to ever changing scenarios on the road. These people certainly do not escape that bane of the road, the ‘bad driver’, and indeed they may be worse that ‘bad drivers’ in scenarios 1 and 2. The worst thing is, these drivers aren’t even easily identifiable. I have seen some in Range Rovers, and one the other day in a Rover 600. Quite a range I’m sure you’ll agree.
I do though, have a solution to this problem. We must radically change the driving test. Firstly, instead of allowing learners to have 15 minor faults on their test before they fail, reduce this to 5. Anyone who gets 10 or more minors on their test is not a good driver. They are a farce. Additionally, anyone who fails their test more than three times must not be allowed to take the test again. They must accept that they can’t drive in much the same way as I’ve accepted I will never be on the cover of GQ.
Secondly, anyone who has not passed their test by age 30 will be prevented from doing so. If you allow thirteen years to go by without getting a license, you have no interest in cars. In order to be good at something you must be interested. Proof: I am not interested in The Only Way is Essex and therefore I am rubbish at being a chav.
In essence, the driving license should be a privilege, not a right, and thus the test must be modified. The written test will survive, as will mundane things like reversing round a corner and town driving.
I am tempted also to take people to a track where you will learn how to push a car to a reasonable speed. Nothing silly, but just to prove that a Nissan Micra doesn’t scare you.
I’m not saying I want everyone to drive in the mould of The Stig. No, I just want everyone to drive with some common sense and without fear. And if not, I will personally sit on the side of the M62 with a sniper rifle and pick off anyone that sits in the middle lane for more than 10 minutes. Actually I might just do that anyway, much easier.