I have many memories of childhood because I was sober for most of it. I remember when my father had a Hillman Imp. He drove it fast, my brother and myself were in the back without seatbelts (they weren't compulsory and booster seats had not been invented, yet we survived!). I don't remember which of us thought it might be fun to open the rear window - an unusual feature of the Imp - but I do know that neither of us were old enough to appreciate that with the front windows open, opening the rear screen would make maps and directions and anything else made of paper disappear in an instant. Yes, we were whacked for it but it was so funny it was worth the walloping.
My father once had a metallic green Cortina mk IIE estate. If he'd kept it, he'd be richer now. But that's another story.
Another enduring memory is of my mother's navigational skills. This involved sitting in silence and staring at a map. Once in a while she'd speak.
Mother: "You should have turned left."
Mother: "Back there."
My mother had many names. Most of them were names we'd get walloped for saying aloud.
Nowadays we have cellphones and satnav so nobody ever need get lost again. Okay, you can't use your phone when driving but the satnav thing just sits on the dashboard. That can't be a problem.
On the phone-and-driving ban, I am in that quantum state of being simultaneously for and against it. Even handsfree. I've been a passenger in a car where the driver was chatting on the phone (handsfree) and talking to me and all I could think was 'Watch the road, you stupid bastard'. Then again, the old 'driving without due care and attention' law covers it. We didn't need a specific one for phones.
Satnav, though, can't possibly be a problem. Unlike my mother, it will tell you when a turn is coming, not when you've missed it. You can turn off the sound and just use it as a moving map. It saves carrying maps for everywhere you want to go and utterly destroys map-reading ability in the young but not in me so sod them. If it gives nonsensical instructions, pretend my mother is navigating and ignore them. Easy.
However, the Righteous have some spurious research designed to take your satnavs away.
Fears that sat-nav devices may pose a risk to motorists follow research which showed that 78 per cent of crashes were caused by driver inattention.
78 per cent were caused by driver inattention. Phones, nagging spouses, screaming kids, short-skirted wenches at the side of the road, tiredness and so on, are now all the fault of satnavs. As Rolf Harris used to say - can you see what it is yet?
According to the same survey, carried out by Direct Line insurance, one driver in 50 said sat-nav had either caused or nearly caused an accident.
One in fifty. Even then, that assumes that no driver in this country, in this day and age, would try to blame someone or something else for their very expensive crash. Again - can you see what it is yet?
It's the smoking ban. It's the alcohol controls. It's the beating down of meat, salt and fat in foods. It's the same technique again and again and again. I can't see why satnav is the target here apart from the research funding and the general love of banning things. It's on the way though.
They can't control our movements if we have maps of the whole country. Ask East Germany about that one. Or ask T-Mobile. Based in Germany, they have seen it all before.
Well, here it comes again.