Advertisement

"Without access to a car, I felt like a prisoner"

Our man Mike Rutherford gave up driving for a month and didn't much care for it...

Winter proper has just arrived. Surprise, surprise, it’s cold, dark, wet and windy. Arctic conditions are en route. Weather-wise, this is the season of badwill. 

So what’s the latest advice from Brake, the pressure group that’s – increasingly, I fear – anti-motorist? Simple: “Drive less.”

Put another way, walk past the taxed and insured, 100 per cent legal car that’s costing you thousands per annum to own... then, er, keep walking. If you’re tempted to follow Brake’s ‘park it, don’t drive it’ command, I can give you an insight into what to expect. That’s because I swapped car keys for walking boots for a full month in autumn.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"2016 will be the year of the Brit"

The positives are that I got plenty of much needed exercise, I lost a little weight, and I did my bit for planet earth. However, my feet are now beyond blistered and my back is playing up like never before. I blew almost 100 hours walking nearly 270 miles during my month on pavements. Compare that with a good day on open roads, where similar mileage is possible in four or five hours.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

By walking everywhere I simply couldn’t – and didn’t – get to neighbouring towns, cities, countryside, beaches, sports venues, out-of-town shopping centres, you name it.

Winter special: tips, advice and more

Without access to a car I felt like a prisoner robbed of going places, seeing things and meeting people. No car means reduced opportunities, a lack of liberty and freedom, plus unprecedented boredom.  

Worse still, my almost 300 miles on foot were comparatively dangerous – largely due to inappropriately large, kerb-cutting buses, coaches, trucks, vans, street-cleaning vehicles and JCBs. The occasional taxi or car driver stepped out of line, too. As did a few folk perched on two-wheelers. Brake also fails to mention Department for Transport figures proving that (in terms of accident rates per mile covered) walking and bike riding are THE most dangerous ways to travel on Britain’s pavements, paths and roads.

"Online car buying could be exactly what we want"

Why waste precious hours walking at 3mph instead of driving at up to 70mph? Why expose yourself to filthy weather, sheer boredom, and the lack of liberty that non-car ownership (or usership) brings? And why take the risk of walking many miles on badly lit streets this cold, dark winter when car travel is considerably safer and far more effective? You wouldn’t. So don’t. If you have a car, use it. If you don’t have one, you really don’t know what you’re missing.

What do you think? Leave us a comment below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'
Opinion

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'

Deputy editor John McIlroy points to outgoing Skoda boss as a key reason for the firm's success
15 Jul 2020
"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"
Opinion

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"

Mike Rutherford recounts some significant stories that may have passed you by in recent weeks
12 Jul 2020
'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020
'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'
News

'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'

Just because premium brands can offer cheap finance deals, it doesn't mean that they can fob buyers off with poor customer service, says Deputy editor…
15 Apr 2020

Most Popular

New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power
BMW iX3

New 2021 BMW iX3 SUV plugs in with 285 miles of electric power

Electric version of popular X3 SUV lands next year with 150kW charging and long-distance efficiency promised
14 Jul 2020
New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022
Peugeot 3008

New Peugeot 3008 could morph into a coupe-SUV in 2022

Peugeot’s next-generation 3008 looks set to receive a radical redesign in two years’ time, evolving into a style-focussed coupe-SUV
13 Jul 2020
Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get new straight-six diesel in 2021 update
Land Rover Range Rover

Range Rover and Range Rover Sport get new straight-six diesel in 2021 update

The Range Rover can now be specced with a new six-cylinder 48-volt mild-hybrid diesel engine and a choice of fresh special edition models
14 Jul 2020