This is a public service announcement. Very soon there will be a new hazard on the roads in and about Edinburgh. This hazard is particularly lethal and all drivers in the area should use extreme caution when venturing onto the public highways.
Yes, you’ve guessed, I’m learning to drive!
“But Tim”, I hear you cry, “you’re ancient, surely you’ve passed your driving test?” Well, the sad fact is that I’ve got to the ripe old age of 32 without ever having had a single driving lesson (except for an hour on a disused airfield near Bath with my mate Dave ten years ago – but I don’t suppose that really counts).
Up until fairly recently I’ve always been a city slicker, happy to dwell in the pollution, noise and misery of city centres. This may have had it disadvantages (for example, I used to live on the top floor of an utterly tiny tenement flat in the centre of Edinburgh; it was 160 years old and had subsided like mad about a century ago – therefore there wasn’t a single level surface in the whole damned place). However, it did mean I was within easy walking distance of work and the pub. So why bother spending the cash on driving lessons?
But now I’ve moved out to the suburbs and while we live on a fantastic bus route (thanks Lothian Buses!) I’ve run out of excuses and it’s time to book some lessons.
Now, as most drivers will know us pancreatically-challenged pariahs can’t get a full UK driving licence. No, we’re only allowed a limited licence and so we have to re-apply to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) every three years who then make sure we haven’t been mowing down innocent pedestrians while in hypoglycaemic comas at the wheel.
I suppose that’s fair enough really; I wouldn’t want to be in charge of a tonne of quickly moving metal while my BG hovered around 2.0 – that’s just insanity. But what gets my goat (and Alison’s – I know as we were chatting about it via email recently) is that similar rules are not applied to other drivers.
If you pass your test at seventeen a driver with a working pancreas gets a full licence that doesn’t expire until their 70th birthday. That’s just over half a century between passing a simple test and being reassessed – now surely that’s insanity.
Aside from the whole not-producing-insulin thing, diabetics are usually quite healthy – the same cannot be said for the populace at large. Just think of the myriad drivers out there who never have their eyes tested, who might be effected by Type Two and not know or suffer from the zillions of other things that might effect their ability to control a vehicle.
So while I might be a hazard on the roads from now the terrifying thought is that there are already a load of hazzardous drivers out there already.