It’s good to talk – but not to yourself

I M sure I would soon become a babbling idiot if I took up a suggestion made this week. A motoring organisation urged its thousands of members to try talking to themselves as they drive along. I was taught at a young age that talking to yourself is the fi

I'M sure I would soon become a babbling idiot if I took up a suggestion made this week.

A motoring organisation urged its thousands of members to try talking to themselves as they drive along.

I was taught at a young age that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness.

But these bods reckon that it makes good sense while behind the wheel and tootling along the highway.


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They are encouraging people to give a running commentary on the road conditions, dangers and threats they see ahead, how they plan to respond as well as what the speed limit and what traffic conditions are.

They could also throw in comments like "I'm checking my rear view mirror now" or "there's a pedestrian and there's another pedestrian and there's another".

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The latter observation would be very useful while driving through a town.

You could bring the weather into your little chat: "Looks like rain today" or "Oh, dear, it's snowing heavily and I think I forgot to bring the spade and hot Thermos for when I get stuck in a drift."

Why not talk about passing billboards and discuss whether or not what they advertise are bargains?

The trees lining the verge might merit a mention: "There's a horse chestnut, there's a magnificent oak tree, there's a lime, there's a sycamore with a branch half broken off by vandals..."

If I tried it, I would soon be telling myself to shut up.

I'll just continue to confine my in-car verbalising to comments on other drivers which usually begin with "You idiot" or something richer.

Also on the motoring front, released today are the results of a new piece of research into what makes drivers take their eyes off the road.

It seems that men are the worst culprits when it comes to being distracted.

Thirty per cent admitted to having their attention diverted by beautiful scenery, compared with less than a quarter of women.

And twice as many men's eyes than women's are drawn to dramatic buildings.

It can be a temptation to have a peep, but one which I try to resist for obvious road safety reasons. But it doesn't help when a passenger with nothing else to do but gaze about suddenly pipes up: "Oh, look at that."

On the highway of life, there can be some cruel paymasters.

This week HM Revenue and Customs revealed the top 10 reasons employers gave for not paying the national minimum wage.

They make interesting reading. One Scrooge said: "I only took him on as a favour" and another gave the excuse: "The workers can't speak English."

Then there was the one who was complicit in the law being doubly broken by explaining: "She's on benefits - if you add those to her pay, it totals the national minimum wage."

There was the despicable: "He's disabled." The implausible: "But she only wanted £3 an hour." And the stupid: "He doesn't deserve it - he's a total waste of space."

Thankfully, the number of employers like that is small.

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