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Eight Christmas Wishes For Drivers Everywhere

I told you we had to follow the star - this camel might have great 4x4 ability but it hasn't got GPS.

I told you we had to follow the star – this camel might have great 4×4 ability but it hasn’t got GPS.

Well, this is the last post from me for 2015, as I’m going to be getting some well-earned R&R time with the family over the Christmas & New Year period.  I hope all Private Fleet’s readers will be doing the same.  It can be a bit hectic in the lead-up to the silly season, so here’s to beating stress on the road and off it, and to a great Christmas for all of us.

In this time, there are a few things that I hope, pray and wish that we all have as we drive from A to B, whether it’s doing the Christmas shopping, ferrying a bunch of kids dressed up in dressing gowns to the church for the Nativity play or heading off to the beach or for a holiday:

  1. Patience in busy traffic. People are whizzing here, there and everywhere. It’s probably unrealistic to hope that we all have free-flowing traffic all of the time. Even if we live in rural areas and do a lot of shopping online, we’re still going to have to go out somewhere sometime, and we’re going to be crawling along behind a queue. Or caught in those last-minute road works as the crews try to get all those jobs wrapped up before they get time off over Christmas. It’s going to be inevitable, so this is where you need to know how to chill a bit and be patient. If we were all more patient in the car and realised that everyone else is in the same situation, there’s be less on-road rudeness.
  2. Good parking spaces. By a “good” parking space, I don’t mean one that’s just outside where you want to go. I mean one that’s easy to get in and out of, and is within walking distance of where you need to be. I also mean one where the driver in the space next to you isn’t going to dent your door.
  3. Sober drivers. In your car and in the cars around you. I certainly won’t be saying no to a nice cool cider on the rocks over these holidays but I know better than to hop in the car and drive afterwards. Have a plan for taking turns at being the sober driver and learn some good recipes for non-alcoholic cocktails. And no excuses for taking a risk, thinking you’re OK and hopping behind the wheel with a bit too much ink in you. None at all.
  4. No speeding tickets. There’s something about this time of year that tends to bring the boys and girls in blue out in force. On the surface, they’re trying to make sure that we don’t have heaps of accidents and road fatalities during the holiday period. On the other hand, the difference between what happens in a crash at the speed limit of 100 km/h and 102 km/h is academic. But guess what you’re going to get double demerit points for over the holidays for (in NSW at least).  I’m all for traffic safety and common sense, but it’s starting to get a bit ridiculous and you can feel like a target for not having your eyes glued to the speedo the whole time. It gets particularly tricky if you’re in an unfamiliar town and miss a speed limit sign.  However, be vigilant, keep the right foot lightly on the pedal and remember that it’s better to be a bit late to your destination than to have a big bill over this period that’s a financial stress on everyone.
  5. Keeping cool in the car on hot days. Air con is one of the world’s best inventions. So are chilled storage compartments, cotton clothing, automatic windows and refrigerators. If you can’t find shade to park in, buy or make one of those windscreen shade things to stop the inside of your car becoming an oven while parked. Alternatively, cut down on your power bill by using the hot interior of the car to soften the butter to go into the Christmas cake and melt the chocolate you’re going to get fancy with.
  6. funny-christmas-card-ideasNo breakdowns. It’s probably a smart idea to deal with those little problems before they become big problems in the middle of your holiday. I’ve had more than one holiday modified (I won’t say ruined) by something going wrong with the car. Like the time that our old Ford Fairmont  got a hole in some obscure pipe, forcing us into an unscheduled stay in one little country town. At least the camping ground had a swimming pool and a great trampoline to fill in the time while the nice mechanic got the pipe fixed the next morning.
  7. Enough fuel. Fill up your tank on Christmas Eve if you know that you’re going to be driving to Grandma’s for Christmas dinner three hours away. The chances of finding a fuel outlet that’s open on Christmas day are slim, as petrol pump attendants probably want the day off, too.
  8. A sense of humour. This will get you through a lot of sticky situations, in the car and out of it. Laugh at yourself and other drivers, and see the funny side of everything. It’s better than getting mad by a long chalk.

Safe and happy driving, as well as a great Christmas,