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The Part-Time Drivers Respond…

My fellow-blogger Lewis has written eloquently on the war between what he calls Full-Time Drivers and Part-Time Drivers.  If you haven’t read his post,, please do so.  But in a nutshell, he seems to state that Part-Time Drivers (those who consider their car primarily as a means of getting from A to B and only drive when they have to) have a tendency to drive and park like idiots.  Well, I happen to fit the basic definition of a part-time driver who considers driving a means to an end, and I am moved to speak up on the behalf of those like me.

At the outset, I thoroughly agree with Lewis about the irritation of drivers who seem to live in a little bubble that co-exists with the bodyframe of the car.  I also see red when somebody takes up multiple car parks, double-parks outside the school, drives slowly in the fast lane and texts while driving.  However, not all part-timers drive like this.  I will, however, freely admit that I am not a perfect parker, but this leads me to search for a spot I can get the car in and out of easily even if this means I have to walk a bit further.  As an aside, it does seem that the civil engineers who designed some parking areas drive little hatchbacks, as even the full-time driver I am married to thinks that they’re a bit narrow for the family Ford Fairlane even when parked with pinpoint precision. If there’s an SUV in the next space that’s even slightly off-centre, considerable care is needed to avoid damaging its paintwork while getting out of the car.

Part-time drivers may be part-time for a number of reasons.  We may be concerned for our own health and thus walk or bike for a bit of extra exercise. We may want to cut down on our environmental footprints. Or we may have a look at the price of petrol and wince. Or we may be quite happy to surrender the wheel to the full-time drivers in our lives.  And – contrary to what the label “Sunday Driver” suggests – we have other hobbies in our lives and would rather not spend our spare time sitting on our backsides.  Alternatively, if we cruise around just for the fun of it, we may prefer to do so on two wheels.

However, part-time drivers do not hate their cars. Nor is it the case that we don’t give a tinker’s cuss about what we drive.  We select our cars with great care – good looks and raw power alone won’t impress us.  We also look at practicality (Will the surfboard fit in the boot? Will this car be able to tow the caravan?), safety, economy and our creature comforts.  We are not totally devoid of aesthetics and will shun a vehicle that is plug-ugly.  Some of us also use a vehicle as an expression of our social status/pay packet (although we’ve all heard about the multi-millionaires who get about in second-hand Toyota Corollas).  And yes, we will personalise our cars with seat covers, bumper stickers and so forth.  In fact, there is little to distinguish us  from the full-time driver in this respect, except that the full-timer is more likely to be attracted to a little sports car. Although not always – some take the attitude that even if you only use a car to get from A to B, you may as well do it in style.

Part-time drivers also get a bit annoyed at some of the things full-time drivers do.  It is the full-timer, rather than the part-time driver, who will charge from lane to lane, trying to overtake everything that moves as if the simplest trip to the supermarket was a race.  It’s the full-timer who is more likely to speed “because this car is built for it and needs to go fast” and give you the heebie-jeebies when they barrel around corners just to put the handling through its paces.  And could you call those annoying boy racers (and girl racers) who keep certain neighbourhoods awake at night with screeching tyres and amplified exhausts anything other than full-time drivers?

A full-time driver woz 'ere wiv his mates.

A full-time driver woz ‘ere wiv his mates.

And, on the human side of things, we part-timers get rather annoyed at the way emotion and attachment is lavished by full-timers on something that is, fundamentally, a machine that cannot love you back or even recognise you.  And we sympathise with Shania Twain’s sentiments:

You’re one of those guys who likes to shine his machine

You make me take off my shoes before you let me get in

I can’t believe you kiss your car good night

C’mon baby tell me – you must be jokin’, right!


Oh, you think you’re special

Oh, you think you’re something else


Okay, so you’ve got a car

That don’t impress me much

So you got the moves but have you got the touch

Don’t get me wrong, yeah I think you’re alright

But that won’t keep me warm in the middle of the night


  1. Lewis says:

    I have to say I did really enjoy reading this and thank you for the mention at the start. As I said in my article, trying to fit drivers into one of two categories was always going to be difficult and I was worried that it would group some good drivers under a banner that I do not quite intend to do.

    You are right in everything you say, in many cases it is the car lovers that seem to act like total spanners on the road. Maybe this part time and full time driver thing needs a lot more work…

    It is nice to see the view of this from the other side! it was a great read I must say. Also I am thinking that maybe with this and my article in mind, I need to start working on a whole spectrum of definitions.

    And hey, maybe we should co-author our way into setting straight the ways of the road in the modern world! 🙂

    December 19th, 2013 at 7:37 am