A TRUE KIWI CLAS­SIC

New Zealand Classic Car - - Front Page - Terry Cob­ham Act­ing ed­i­tor

Iam amazed how of­ten as a pas­sen­ger I hear driv­ers be­moan­ing, (a) the pres­ence of road­polic­ing cars, and (b) speed cam­eras. They’re re­ferred to, in a way that re­verts to the ver­nac­u­lar, as rev­enue gath­er­ers at best. I’m not usu­ally given to us­ing the lan­guage of­ten em­ployed to de­scribe either the of­fi­cers or the sys­tems be­ing used. Re­mem­ber, the road-polic­ing of­fi­cer prob­a­bly loves his mum just like you do.

At this time of the year, we at New Zealand Clas­sic Car would like to wish you all happy and safe sum­mer of mo­tor­ing. The roads can be dan­ger­ous, so maybe there’s a few ways that we can all help to keep the wretched road toll from climb­ing ever higher.

Pre­sum­ably, those of us read­ing this mag­a­zine en­joy cars and driv­ing them, so hope­fully we are also aware of how we can do our part to help on our roads.

Mak­ing sure that your car is ready to take on the hol­i­day sea­son is sen­si­ble. While you’re get­ting that fresh oil, re­mem­ber to get your me­chanic to have a good look over the car. Make sure that all those im­por­tant parts of the car are in good nick; brakes and tyres, of course. Sunny days and dusty roads mean that you’ll need good wiper blades and a full washer reser­voir — a bit of wash­ing-up liq­uid and a dash of meths al­ways helps in that as well. And, of course, a new war­rant is a good way to get an over­all pic­ture of your car’s con­di­tion.

When it comes to driv­ing, re­mem­ber that it’s the hol­i­day sea­son. That an­noy­ing camper van with ‘Rollin’ Home’ or some other inanity writ­ten across the front ac­tu­ally has just as much right to the road as you, even if Ma and Pa Camper Van seem to want to drive like they are the only folks around. The camper van with a rental-com­pany name af­fixed can be even more an­noy­ing. Its driver prob­a­bly doesn’t know his way around and of­ten may not un­der­stand our road rules at all. Treat that one with re­spect. Eas­ier to avoid trou­ble than to be a part of it. Give those cy­clists room as well.

So of­ten, our hu­man na­ture just wants to get the bet­ter of us. We want to get there ear­lier, get there while there’s still some park­ing places avail­able, get there be­fore they do, we just want to get there. The best way to do that is to take it easy, and get there. The dif­fer­ence over even long dis­tances that a ‘press on’ driver will make over a pa­tient driver is al­most neg­li­gi­ble. This from some­one who, un­til re­cently, was driv­ing about 100,000km each year. As well, you’ll use less fuel; there’ll be less wear and tear on your car; and, more im­por­tant, there’ll be a whole lot less wear and tear on you.

Too of­ten we read our papers or watch tele­vi­sion to learn that an avoid­able ac­ci­dent has killed or maimed. We’re quick to ap­por­tion blame and be­lieve that we’d never find our­selves in such a po­si­tion. Maybe that is the case, but let’s make sure of that this sum­mer.

The roads will be busier, and there’ll still be plenty of big rigs — be pa­tient and wait to pass safely. I do think some of them could slow down a bit as well. And, as for all those car­a­vans, boats, and trail­ers be­ing towed by driv­ers who only do that once a year, let’s all ex­er­cise a bit of pa­tience. Wait un­til you can pass, smile and wish them a happy hol­i­day, and wave with an open hand as you pass safely. A word to the driv­ers of those tow­ing things too: don’t speed up once you reach pass­ing lanes, let the queue be­hind go past.

If we all en­ter the sum­mer spirit of mo­tor­ing, we’ll all en­joy the trip more. Smile as you wait pa­tiently, be­cause, in the over­all plan of life, it will make no dif­fer­ence at all whether you ar­rive at 3.23pm or 3.25pm.

Re­mem­ber, the road-polic­ing of­fi­cer is just do­ing his job and that he isn’t ac­tu­ally an ogre, and those dodgy camper-van peo­ple are prob­a­bly re­ally kind as well.

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