I passed my driving test in August 1994. I remember my DVLA test center examiner, Mr Trible.
He wore a crooked wig.
I knew the importance that the effects of mobility would have on my life and understandably I was pretty nervous. Gordon Bachelor, my instructor, coached me week after week and prepared me for this day. The sun was shining, and the morning was hot. I don’t know how, but I passed, and with only one or two exceptions, it stands out as a good thing I have done.
(the one pictured is not actually mine, just one which is the same colour.)
Anyhow, about 18 months later I was driving my old 1977 Commer camper (named Brian after a slow moving thing from magic roundabout with his home on his back) along the motorway with my late mother. We had taken a trip to the New Forest for a few days and it had been a good break. The sun was going down as we headed home there were some roads works with cones coming up ahead of us.
My mother told me to brake.
“What?” I said. “Don’t be silly, we don’t want to get pulled over.”
Incredulous, my mother looked at me and said “What do you mean?”
“Your not allowed to use your brakes on the motorway”, came my confident, yet ridiculous answer.
“Of course you are!” she said, pointing her finger. “Look at all the red light you can see, everyone is braking, all the time.”
It was true. As we hurtled towards the roadworks, everyone was breaking and just slowing down in their lanes.
I realised how stupid I had been. In the absence of actually having been taught to drive on the motorway, I had filled the gaps in my brain with ‘rules’ I had just made up. Because I understood that everyone has to overtake on one side, I had honestly believed that by breaking and ‘forcing’ a car on the ‘wrong side’ to under-take, would somehow break the law.
I had driven all over the country from my first day of driving, using motorways at least every week and always sought not to apply the brakes.
I was so shocked, I had to pull over onto the hard shoulder and rethink almost everything I knew and set off again.
My mother always just laughed about it, whilst never letting me forget that moment.
Looking back I can see how dangerous that was and just how stupid. Thank God, mothers are always right.