My wife and I recently agreed to become fully paid-up members of the most hated club in the UK . . . Yes we bought a Chelsea Tractor. After a few months of gentle pleading, I caved in and we opted for a Land Rover Freelander. As most 4×4 drivers will tell you, once you purchase one of these motors, you immediately notice that other drivers look at you in a totally different way.
Stuck in traffic jams you feel the glare of an irate motorist almost making out that you are to blame for taking up slightly more space than your average car. If you dare open your window you can almost hear the mutterings from others suggesting that next time you enter a car dealership, you purchase a “practical” car. The trouble is though, 4x4s are too practical.
I drive a different car to work, but whenever we go out, I feel myself longing to get behind the wheel of the Freelander, maybe the height gives me a feeling of superiority. My pregnant wife is also able to load the shopping into the boot without having to lean in or put her back out stretching and she also finds it easier to load our son in the back. So if it’s good for us, why do others have such a problem with it?
Personally I would not really care if I my neighbour came home in a military truck as long as it did not impact on me in any way. Nevertheless, others have to have a moan and as a result we are forced to endure programmes demanding that such vehicles be removed from the road. One such programme, on ITV1 a few weeks ago, came up with a cunning way of making the drivers of Chelsea Tractors think again.
In a bid to prove how dangerous such vehicles are, they made half-a-dozen schoolchildren stand behind it. Not just behind it, mind you, but so close that they could lick the number plate. Just wait until they start on vans, home deliveries will grind to a halt. But when you become the victim of such hate campaigns, you start to think about your defence.
So next time a man in a convertible asks if I work on a farm, I am going to ask him if he drives with his roof off when it rains? Should the same question come from the driver of a coup, I’ll ask if they only drive at 90mph, and if not, why not?
And when white van man asks me the same question, I’ll enquire as to why he has pulled up alongside me, rather than attempting to get the front of his van as close to back of my car as possible. The problem is you see, generalisations are very easy, unless of course they apply to you. So in a bid to help the many drivers – mainly mothers – of our district, who are unfairly targeted by other motorists I am now going to attempt to set the record straight.
These are the same mothers who need more room than a Mondeo estate provides and like to look that little bit more cool when picking the children up at the school gates.
And so what, it is their choice.
Most 4×4 haters claim that it is not the size of the car, but the effect on the environment that they don’t like.
If so they may be surprised to hear that a Land Rover Discovery has a smaller carbon footprint than a London cab, so next time you believe you’re saving the planet by getting the train and then a taxi, don’t, drive in a Discovery.
The same Discovery, fully loaded with passengers and cases emits less CO2 than a Smart car with the same amount of people and luggage.
Meanwhile, superminis in the UK emit three times as much CO2 as SUVs, while a Boeing 747 produces 400 tonnes of gas in 24 hours.
It would take 250 cars one year to achieve this, but I doubt that will stop the 4×4 bashers going on holiday.
And finally farting cows are responsible for 18 per cent of all greenhouse gases which is more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together, so, if you really want to save the planet, eat more beef.