Motoring into 2015 with a new resolve

One of motoring editor Andy Russell's new year resolutions is not to get impatient in traffic jams.

One of motoring editor Andy Russell's new year resolutions is not to get impatient in traffic jams. - Credit: PA

Motoring editor Andy Russell has come up with a few new year resolutions for becoming a better driver.

For years I’ve made a new year’s resolution but have fallen by the wayside so many times in the past that I almost reached the point of making a resolution not to make any resolutions.

There have been some really simple ideas that have turned into monumental failures through a lack of willpower, awareness or wherewithal or normally a combination of all three... and very often before the end of January.

Like my resolutions to:

Lose weight (an annual chestnut) but, each year, despite initial success I finish the year on a high – a higher weight on the scales than at the start. I’m one of those people who put on a pound if I have a beer – and two pounds if I drink it!

Fill in a diary of all social engagements and business appointments rather than relying on my failing memory. And in pencil so I can make amendments tidily without scrawling it out in pen. By the end of the year it looks as though I have been the centre of attention in January and Billy No Mates for the next 11 months.

In fact, the only resolution I have successfully stuck to came a couple of years ago when I resolved to put any copper or five-pence pieces I get in my change into the nearest charity box.

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But for 2015 I aim to be a better driver, a more considerate motorist and kinder to the environment while trying to get fitter rather than fatter – not a lot to ask and something that is worthwhile but does not need personal sacrifice and willpower.

So here’s what I am going to do:

n Walk journeys up to half a mile rather than take the car – even if it involves carrying a bag or rucksack.

n Cycle journeys up to a couple of miles rather than taking the car – unless the weather is horrendous.

n Check my car’s tyre pressures and condition at least every fortnight.

n And at the same time check oil and coolant levels and top up the washer bottle before the warning light comes on or it runs out.

n Keep disposable screen wipes and a cloth in the car so I can clean the screen when it gets smeary.

n Not get so worked up and impatient when stuck in traffic hold-ups when there is nothing I can do about it.

n Leaving more time for journeys so being stuck in traffic hold-ups does not become such an issue.

n Not to drive so close to the car in front.

n Avoid risky overtaking manoeuvres – better to arrive late in this world, than early in the next.

n Cleaning the car more often – inside and out.

n And, even if I have not got time to wash the whole car, make sure the lights, windows and numberplates are clean.

n Fully de-ice or demist the car before driving off looking through a little hole in the screen.

n Set off a little earlier to make time for the above.

n Give the car a coat of polish at least four times a year to herald in spring, summer, autumn and winter.

n Concentrate on my driving more, particularly on roads I travel regularly where it becomes easy to become distracted.

n Drive more efficiently, sticking to speed limits, to get more miles per gallon.

n Be more courteous to other road users, give cyclists more room and thank drivers who give way to me or let me into traffic.

n Be more forgiving of other drivers who make mistakes as we all do from time to time.

n To always use my indicators in good time to warn other drivers of my intentions.

n Brush up on The Highway Code and get up to date with new road signs.

n And finally get round to removing the paper tax disc which no longer has to be displayed.

You may think that’s a lot to ask but each one of them will make me a better driver and, hopefully, the roads safer for all of us.

Happy new year and happy motoring.

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