Country Mouse on rural roads

I suppose, like an errant racehorse, I should be fitted with blinkers to keep my mind completely focused when driving. The trouble is, while tootling along, I can’t help but scan the fields to see how a farmer’s crop is doing or the hedgerows and copses for wildlife. My best spot was a peregrine falcon two fields away in an ash tree. I was thrilled, the passengers less so.

Once, I drove my car into the back of my wife’s Volvo when we were taking it to the garage: lapwings. I’ve had to change my ways. Rural driving is a serious matter. There were 1,603 deaths on rural roads in 2007, and now the Government is proposing reducing the speed on country roads to 50mph.

This must be a good thing, although it will almost certainly fail to address the real problem of reckless driving by young road-users. What we need is a restriction put on drivers who’ve just passed their test, on all roads for a period of a year.

The car kills more teenagers than all the drugs combined. Few of us grew up without knowing someone killed or maimed by a serious accident. We need a more targeted approach to the real problem.