The Tide of Life…..

In this blog, Tom Ingram (Owner of BIG TOM Driving School) explores why some drivers cannot help but speed.


“The tide of life, swift always in its course,

May run in cities with a brisker force,

But somewhere with a current so serene,

Or half so clear, as in the rural scene.”   

William Cowper 1782


The first point to make is that there is speeding, and there is speeding.  There is doing 33mph in a 30mph, and there is doing 60mph in a 30mph.  Why do we speed?  Now there is a question.


The DfT have just released data of the 2015 National Travel Survey which states that 60% of journeys between just 1 and 2 miles of distance, were made by car or van in England in 2015.  Only 32% of the journeys involving that distance were made by foot.  If on the other hand we talk about the journeys under a mile in distance, the car and van brigade account for 21% compared to 76% on foot.  Cyclists I’m afraid only account for 2-3% on both counts.  But the longer term trend of modes of travel suggests that cars and motorbike usage continues to increase compared to the mid-1990’s and walking/cycling is actually decreasing.

This is significant because it tends to confirm this unending quest in modern day living for speed – time really is of the essence.  It seems to matter not in what aspect of daily living we turn our attention, the fact is, that we all seem to be constantly battling against time.  Industrialised farming techniques fuelled on by the ever increasing global population demand are having adverse effects on our natural resources.  Livestock is being reared and slaughtered in ever decreasing timescales – the end product of which increasingly defies what nature intended for us.  Technology is needing to be ever quicker, processor speeds in gadgets, multi-tasking of applications; humans appear to be dependent on the need to interact with technology even in the quietness of their home, or while driving, or while eating a meal in a restaurant with family, or even on holiday.  We simply cannot sit back, breathe, rest, daydream, mingle, read, savour, there is no time apparently for such activity.  Working hours are long, in fact, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ever properly switch off from work such is our inter-connectedness via technology.  Our children are doing record breaking amounts of homework which teachers are then having to find time to mark.  The activity of eating a meal is taking less and less time on average – have you seen how busy the McDonalds is in Spalding on a Sunday?  Look at how the Japanese are dealing with the activity of fuelling up on nourishment – the brevity is truly breath-taking.

Constantly striving to cram more and more busy activity into our daily life is de rigueur.  It is not altogether clear why that might be the case, it doesn’t appear to be having too many benefits to our perceived satisfaction of life.  Our overall mental and physical health is being negatively affected.  Marriages and family life is increasingly breaking down with alarming effect on our young ones.  Community cohesion and positive, quality interaction is dwindling.  The efficiency of our productivity levels at work with all this “heat” do not compare favourably with other nations.  All in all, one has to wonder, what on earth we are all doing?  There appears to be much frenetic activity with very little positive gain.

And so, in this regard, perhaps it is not surprising that speed limits just cannot be tolerated.  In much the same way that drivers simply cannot concentrate on the one activity of driving, they just have to be on a call, or texting, or updating a status while they drive.  We have lost the self-discipline of just doing one thing at a time, in our own time, and well.  I recall when I was in primary school 40 odd years ago, my favourite time of the school day was right at the very end, when my teacher would have us all sit down in front of her on the floor, and she would read to us.  I can picture her now.  I couldn’t have recognised it at the time, but it was a time of relaxation, wonder, stillness, calm, often humour, imagination, and oneness – at that moment in time, we were at one with each other; this is instinctive behaviour for humans, this need for feeling part of a whole.  With the passing of 40 years, the activities that we are doing now are the precise opposite, we are often eating alone, on technology alone, playing an internet game alone, and with the ever increasing rate of divorce, sleeping alone.  The art of conversation, reading body language and socialising is quite frankly becoming obsolete.

Take our “Bake Off” for a good example of the need to do things in good time and well.  The moment we start to cook and set a timescale (even if it is a 3 hour period allowed), it becomes very evident that ingredients just need time. Try as we might, you can’t rush good baking, just as you can’t rush being in good company, you cannot rush appreciating a beautiful painting or admiring a piece of music.  When we force our body to function in a faster way than is natural for each and every one of us, we are depriving our feelings of contentment, satisfaction and worth.  These vital ingredients of self-nourishment cannot be condensed into a 2 minute schedule; you cannot shortcut the process of sensing wonder when you are absorbed in an opera, or a school play that your child is in, or the delight of a conversation with a soul mate.

But with driving, even when drivers have their self-awareness raised as to the non-benefits of speeding, it seems it is still too tempting.  Drivers are being re-educated in their thousands about the chances of survival for a schoolchild if the impact is at 20, 30 or 40 mph; they are being told that the actual period of time they are saving on these 1-2 mile journeys where they speed over the limit is literally, only seconds; they are seeing the graphic videos of the consequences of texting when driving – but it is not enough.  We live in a culture that is heavily controlled by time, the human mind is incapable of changing belief, outlook, attitude or behaviour.  If we were being rational, sensible, logical and measured, we would all slow down, and breathe….. but we are too busy for such niceties.

BIG TOM Driving School provides 5 Day Intensive Driving Courses and PAYG driving lessons in Peterborough, Grantham, Lincoln, Sleaford, Stamford, Boston, Spalding and Bourne.  Contact us HERE


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