It is only when the weather turns nasty, that the small, niggling worry pushes its’ way to the front and becomes a huge, mountainous concern, not about Muds’ ability in the conditions but that of the numerous numpties, that seem to frequent the roads these days.
Firstly you have the drivers of the tiny city cars that really shouldn’t be on the motorway, alongside the Juggernauts, vans and cars mainly because they are so small that even the smallest of the normal cars have difficulty seeing them over their bumpers. But these are the drivers that have bought into the ‘global warming’ debacle (anyone noticed how ‘global warming’ has become ‘climate change’ in recent years?).
They believe that by swapping their perfectly good, relatively new but apparently planet unfriendly car, for a brand new, allegedly eco friendly one, they will, somehow, save the planet, although I am not entirely sure that buying a new, supposedly, eco friendly car, to replace the perfectly able one you already own, is eco friendly in anyway shape or form. This is especially true, in my non-mechanic/non-scientific mind, when you consider the cost both environmentally AND financially of the batteries required for the supposedly mega planet friendly electric cars. These batteries last around 5 years (if you’re lucky), cost an unbelievable amount to replace and where exactly are the ‘spent’ batteries going to end up?
Secondly, there are the drivers of the smaller cars that think that because they have an NCAP safety rating of 5 which is better than that of the 2 tonne pick-up truck in front of them, that they are invincible and can drive like maniacs because they would come of better in an accident. Sorry to rain on your parade but NCAP 5 refers to your car, when compare to other vehicles in its’ class (so other tiny little hatchbacks) and you will come of worse, whatever your NCAP rating if you hit a Pick-up truck, white van, bus or HGV! Trust me! You will!
The third class of numpty driver is those that drive modern 4WD cars. Now obviously we are a 4WD family and have the Jap pick-up truck and two Series Land Rovers to prove it but even we have no time for idiots who get behind the wheel of their modern, luxury 4WD and think that they can drive in all conditions at break neck speed and get to their destination safely. It doesn’t work that way.
Mud has off-roaded for some 20 years and has driven 4WD cars for forever really but even he will say that the capability of the car is only as good as the driver AND the tyres.
Expensive though it was to start with, we keep 2 sets of tyres: summer ones which the Jap truck wears for 9 months of the year (well okay 7 months of the year these days :)) and then winter tyres which are swapped onto it at the first sign of frosts. The difference in the road handling of these tyres is phenomenal. Even in 4WD and with Mud driving carefully, the summer tyres just don’t hold the road as well on icy roads and driving in snow is out of the question (he wants to live to enjoy his retirement). The winter tyres, though, are a different matter altogether and the grip they can achieve even on snow and ice, is pretty damn good.
However, this still doesn’t give us the invincibility factor but then nothing will. The winter tyres with or without the 4WD engaged, give us that bit more security in ice and snow but it still doesn’t mean we can drive like Jenson Button on the roads.
Unfortunately, many modern day 4WD owners think that they can and that their sleek looking, almost slick road tyres gives them greater capability than a mere 2WD vehicle and so drive at 100 miles an hour, on the fast lane of the M1, in 6 inches of snow and then wonder why they end up in the central reservation or under the wheels of a HGV.
Tonight, it was this sort of mentality that gave Mud a nightmarish journey home. He trundled along in 4WD, in icy, snowy weather and watched in horror as the Numpties sped past at excessive speeds, believing they were immortal.
As I said, it isn’t Mud I have to worry about, it’s all the other inept and stupid drivers on the roads with him but at least he made it home in one piece, even if he did then have to have a very, VERY large scotch ‘ to calm my nerves’ he said!