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Stereotypes: The Urban Tractor

Chelsea tractorUsually Seen: Parked in suburban driveways (but only in the better suburbs), outside the gates of private schools and near sports clubs. Occasionally spotted near chic cafés, shopping malls and hairdressers.

Typical Examples: Audi Q7  , Mercedes M-Class and Range Rover  at the expensive end of the spectrum; Mistubishi Pajero , Hyundai Santa Fe  and Ford Territory  at the cheaper end.

Description: For a start, we need to define an urban tractor. An urban tractor, unlike a farm tractor, doesn’t get to see much mud, unless you count mud on the bottom of soccer boots. An urban tractor lives in the suburbs and was purchased as a family vehicle for safety reasons. The idea is that bigger cars will come off better in a ding and the high position gives the driver a better view of the road… when she (usually she) is not relying on the rear parking sensors, the blind spot monitor and all the other safety gadgets. It has AWD either part time or full time, but this is because it’s safer on the road rather than because the family goes off road a lot – unless you count mounting the kerb so the kids can be dropped off as close as possible to the soccer club gate as possible.

The urban tractor is usually (but not always) driven by a woman with the standard issue of 2.5 children. The children in question can be any age but are typically school aged. The urban tractor does a lot of Mum’s Taxi duty, and there’s certainly a lot of duty to be done.  The taxi duty starts when Madison, Ella, Ethan or Jackson started at the Montessori preschool.  Duty continued once the kiddies started at primary school and just about doubled ferrying them to all the extra-curricular activities (got to make sure that they get every possible advantage, you know): piano lessons, swimming lessons, soccer and gym, and probably after-school maths and reading coaching, too. Afterwards, the urban tractor takes Mum to work or to wherever she goes on her day off.

The urban tractor may or may not contain a dog at times. Once upon a time, this would have been a Labrador; today, it is more likely to be a Cockapoo or similar designer dog (with a decent dose of poodle in the makeup because they’re hypoallergenic).

The urban tractor is all about the kids and their safety. You may catch a glimpse of the kids in their Pumpkin Patch clothing when you are beside an urban tractor at the lights (best case scenario) or at an intersection, where it is a pain if you are turning and the massive urban tractor is blocking your view. They may not look back at you – they may be watching a seat-back DVD or fooling around on a tablet device. But it’s for their advantage and well-being that the urban tractor has been chosen. Mum would be driving a smart little hatchback or sleek sedan otherwise.  But it is for the kids’ benefit that the urban tractor is parked on the footpath outside the after-school tutor’s premises and as close as possible to the gate. Can’t have them walking in the rain that might give them pneumonia or the sun that will burn them, can we?

Unfortunately, the safety-first mentality only applies to the kids inside the vehicle itself – the ones that are the offspring (usually) of the driver.  The front and rear parking sensors will help minimise the horrible potential of how a driver can’t see a seven-year-old behind or in front of the vehicle. And woe betide you if you ride a bike past the urban tractor as the doors are flung open (but Sophie’s late for ballet lessons – can’t you understand that she comes first?).

Safe and happy driving, even if you aren’t in an urban tractor with a seat-back DVD screen,