Last Thursday, I attended a Speed Awareness Course at the invitation of the Police Service, in place of receiving three penalty points on my driving license and a £100 fine.
Despite my conviction which is now quashed, I do not consider myself to be a dangerous driver, but I am rarely fully aware of the speed limit on the roads on which I drive.
It is as if the familiarity of both the act of driving a vehicle, and the routes I take on a frequent and repetitive basis have de-sensitized me to the safety risks of driving.
I emerged from the 4 hour session determined to change my attitude when I am driving.
I think that I have learned that I need to take note of my surroundings whilst I am driving, taking note of signage on the road itself and on the road architecture at the side of the road, as I drive along.
I need to control my speed within the limits set for each and every part of the road, being aware when the speed limit changes and being aware of my proximity to other vehicles, allowing space to stop safely in an emergency.
I need to take notice of the pavements (side-walks) for pedestrians and animals and cyclists and school entrances and access to emergency services premises.
I need to consider whether it is safe to allow my mind to be pre-occupied with other issues when I am driving – is the radio distracting my concentration from the safety measures I need to be constantly aware of when I am in control of a car.
Is my access to my mobile phone, such that I cannot be tempted to look at it, use it, respond to it whilst the car is between departure and arrival including those times when the car is not actually moving.
I think that my speed awareness course has taught me an important transferable discipline of mind-management useful to other aspects of my thinking life.
That is, to take notice, to be aware of the risks but not to be overcome by them, to move forward constantly re-appraising the new surroundings in which I find myself and to make sure that despite the risks which I have to take in life, I will arrive safely at my destination.
My next blog will be: Cricket