Return Focus – Save Money And Get Back Behind The Wheel Safely
In these ‘strange times’ we live in, travel and visiting restrictions were lifted within the past few weeks. This meant that many people were able to make journeys that had previously been off limits. Time to get familiar with the car again, in the longest distance trip I’ve taken since major restrictions were imposed. Getting back into the car again for this distance requires a degree of adjustment. Time to return to the focus.
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The journey in question is a trip to Crawley, Sussex. It’s around a 50 mile trip to the south, including a choice of roads to keep me on my toes. After all the buildings in London, it’s cool to visit an area with more greenery, fresher air and less traffic! The journey there has various stages which requires different levels of acclimatisation.
At the moment, I live on quite a wide road, and driving here isn’t a problem. The weekly trip to the shops means that it’s a very familiar area on both four wheels and two feet. When stepping back into driving, I would suggest sticking with local areas first before venturing further afield. Adjusting one thing at a time, and easing ourselves back into the art of driving is a great first step to avoiding an accident. Many accidents happen from driving that is not consistent, and if we’ve not been driving a while then our standards may have dropped a bit. Slowly easing ourselves back into the routine will bridge the gap before too long.
Once I’ve left my area, I get the ‘pleasure’ of joining the North Circular road in London. For those that don’t know, the north circular is a road where in essence every other driver seems to be in a competition to see how much they can tailgate you. This can be very stressful, especially if we’ve not been behind the wheel for a long time. It’s best to pull over, let them overtake and keep our distance from the car in front of us. That way, if we are hit from behind, we at least won’t also be pushed into a vehicle we happen to be following. We can limit cost by limiting damage.
I survived the ‘Trial by North Circular’, crossing the river and dissecting south West London, we get onto the M25. It’s my first time on a motorway for some time, so I opt to stay in the slow lane and sit at 60-65 mph. This then gives me more time to anticipate hazards and react to other drivers. Driving a bit slower didn’t cost much total journey time, but can save a lot of fuel. It also means the engine revs are slightly lower for a given gear, making it slightly quieter and creating a more relaxing environment. This is therefore perfect for easing us back into the art of fast motorway driving.
The journey finishes with some fast and sweeping A-roads. The Focus is very good at this, with steering that lets the driver feel what’s occupying the front wheels. Thanks to excellent tyres, it also has good grip at both ends, which gives the driver confidence. Confidence is a huge part of the driving experience, especially when driving has had to take a back seat for a while. Confidence in machines can come from familiarity and experience. We become used to what the vehicle may be capable of and then we drive accordingly. We should be wary that too much confidence could land us in a hedge, so mentality is a key aspect of the return focus.
What tips and tricks do you have for getting back into driving after a long period of time? How has the returning to driving experience been for you? Do get in contact, join the family and comment below. Thanks for reading!