Don’t Drink and Drive Through

Don’t Drink and Drive Through

By way of reward for the unnervingly energetic lunchtime swim that the current Mrs Grimley decided we needed to fend off the onset of mid winter midriff, I found myself sitting in the Glenfield McCafe sipping on a surprisingly agreeable moccachino. I’ve never really been a massive fan of the restaurants found under the golden arches; fairly or otherwise I’ve always held up Macca’s as a bit of a collective figurehead for all purveyors of culinary rot responsible for the upward trend in the average chins per person statistic.

But sitting in the comfort of a faux leather armchair, surrounded by fashionably dark wood and having tasty beverages served by a pretty and smiley waitress, even I had to admit that it was a rather pleasant way to while away half an hour. And complementing my little moment of caffeine fuelled luxury was a picturesque view of the box of technological wonderment where people could order their drive through meals.

I’ve heard many and varied arguments as to why our roads are unsafe. Speed limits and driving abilities are the most regularly touted as to why so many people make sudden and terrible transitions from road users to statistics. But given that speed limits were dreamed up for cars that had brakes made from beer bottle caps and tyre science that came off the ark, it is a reasonable assumption to think that technological evolution has made doing 100kph safer than cutting your fingernails.

Take a coffee - and a car - break

Likewise, driving ability is not really an overwhelming issue. After all, a modern car with an automatic gearbox really doesn’t take much ability to drive and if we all had the wheelsmithery of Greg Murphy at our disposal we’d become so bored with the drab reality of a daily commute that it wouldn’t be long before everyone was driving everywhere blindfolded and on two wheels, just to add a hint of a challenge to proceedings.

No, I suspect the real reason is something entirely more mundane – cup holders.

Watching the endless procession of vehicles passing before me as their owners stocked up on burgers and carbonated beverages reminded me just what we expect of our cars nowadays. Gone are the simpler times when they were merely a means of conveyance from points A to B; now we assume that with some multimedia here, a cup holder there and a generous dash of Bluetooth connectivity they can serve as an office, rumpus and dining room all rolled into one.

A journey is no longer just that, people with busy lives see them as a brief window of free time in which they can do business, catch up with friends or even indulge in some sneaky calories. And because driving a modern car is so irritatingly simple, people – even men, who ordinarily can’t even watch TV and listen to their wife simultaneously – think that it is a task that can easily share the bill with consuming a skinny latté.

I accept that in some ways I can be a bit of a Luddite when it comes to vehicular evolution and that I can be found talking loudly and often about the scourge of driver aids and automatic transmissions which open up motoring to those who lack the basic physical co-ordination necessary to be trusted with a tonne of high powered metal. But if we are going to make driving accessible to every idiot and his dog, then we really need to cut back on the distractions that a car can offer.

Having cup holders in cars simply encourages people to undertake another activity that sidetracks them from the task in hand; particularly if this results in a dribble down your freshly laundered work shirt or a lap full of steaming cappuccino. And there’s nothing like a scalding hot beverage landing in your joy department to take your mind off cars, pedestrians or just about anything else for that matter.

Hopefully car manufacturers will eventually pick up on this and remove the temptation for us to indulge in a little drinking and driving.

By way of reward for the unnervingly energetic lunchtime swim that the current Mrs Grimley decided we needed to fend off the onset of mid winter midriff, I found myself sitting in the Glenfield McCafe sipping on a surprisingly agreeable moccachino. I’ve never really been a massive fan of the restaurants found under the golden arches; fairly or otherwise I’ve always held up Macca’s as a bit of a collective figurehead for all purveyors of culinary rot responsible for the upward trend in the average chins per person statistic.

But sitting in the comfort of a faux leather armchair, surrounded by fashionably dark wood and having tasty beverages served by a pretty and smiley waitress, even I had to admit that it was a rather pleasant way to while away half an hour. And complementing my little moment of caffeine fuelled luxury was a picturesque view of the box of technological wonderment where people could order their drive through meals.

I’ve heard many and varied arguments as to why our roads are unsafe. Speed limits and driving abilities are the most regularly touted as to why so many people make sudden and terrible transitions from road users to statistics. But given that speed limits were dreamed up for cars that had brakes made from beer bottle caps and tyre science that came off the ark, it is a reasonable assumption to think that technological evolution has made doing 100kph safer than cutting your fingernails.

Take a coffee - and a car - break

Likewise, driving ability is not really an overwhelming issue. After all, a modern car with an automatic gearbox really doesn’t take much ability to drive and if we all had the wheelsmithery of Greg Murphy at our disposal we’d become so bored with the drab reality of a daily commute that it wouldn’t be long before everyone was driving everywhere blindfolded and on two wheels, just to add a hint of a challenge to proceedings.

No, I suspect the real reason is something entirely more mundane – cup holders.

Watching the endless procession of vehicles passing before me as their owners stocked up on burgers and carbonated beverages reminded me just what we expect of our cars nowadays. Gone are the simpler times when they were merely a means of conveyance from points A to B; now we assume that with some multimedia here, a cup holder there and a generous dash of Bluetooth connectivity they can serve as an office, rumpus and dining room all rolled into one.

A journey is no longer just that, people with busy lives see them as a brief window of free time in which they can do business, catch up with friends or even indulge in some sneaky calories. And because driving a modern car is so irritatingly simple, people – even men, who ordinarily can’t even watch TV and listen to their wife simultaneously – think that it is a task that can easily share the bill with consuming a skinny latté.

I accept that in some ways I can be a bit of a Luddite when it comes to vehicular evolution and that I can be found talking loudly and often about the scourge of driver aids and automatic transmissions which open up motoring to those who lack the basic physical co-ordination necessary to be trusted with a tonne of high powered metal. But if we are going to make driving accessible to every idiot and his dog, then we really need to cut back on the distractions that a car can offer.

Having cup holders in cars simply encourages people to undertake another activity that sidetracks them from the task in hand; particularly if this results in a dribble down your freshly laundered work shirt or a lap full of steaming cappuccino. And there’s nothing like a scalding hot beverage landing in your joy department to take your mind off cars, pedestrians or just about anything else for that matter.

Hopefully car manufacturers will eventually pick up on this and remove the temptation for us to indulge in a little drinking and driving.

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