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How to drive like a gentleman during the Coronavirus Pandemic

May 13, 2020


The Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the globe.

In the past human beings have been affected by disasters which they could see in the form of tsunamis, earthquakes, fires and so on but this seems to be the invisible enemy.

Even though it is so small that it can only be seen by an electron microscope, the virus has ensured drivers have not taken to the motorway unless essential.

However, new lock down measures mean motorists can drive anywhere in England regardless of the distance, as long as social distancing measures are your trip does not involve contact with anyone who lives outside of your household, according to the Government’s coronavirus recovery strategy.

At Project Kahn we believe one’s car is an extension of your finesse and gentle sensibilities.

And even though roads would be a lot safer if the incompetent and/or oblivious drivers would just stay home - manners and etiquette should be adhered to – even on the most uncivilised roads and in such uncertain times!

Our ever so gentlemanly correspondent, Quentin Cholmondley Silverstone reads like a courteous version of the Highway Code.

He gives his take on how drivers should return to the road and harks back to the romantic days of motoring where drivers maintained their dignity and poise – often in extremely trying situations. So sit back and enjoy!

Mask or not to mask: It is currently unclear whether drivers should wear masks whilst driving as you are currently only allowed to accommodate people from your own household in your vehicle whilst driving.

That said, those who wear glasses should note that the use of home-made scarf and mask’s whilst driving can cause glasses to steam up if you breathe upwards. If this impairs your vision, you need to remove the scarf or mask immediately.

Be charitable when parking: Those who you come across when parking at the supermarket or outside non-essential businesses (in the coming weeks) are just trying to go about their business (as we all are). Is it bothersome when they open the door at the same time as you?

If the answer is yes, take the moral high ground and be charitable especially towards women, children and the elderly.

Courtesy: Treat fellow road-users with the utmost courtesy even if most of them are hapless fools. A true gentleman is he whose self-control is equivalent to all emergencies; who does not remind anyone of his or her inferiority; who speaks with forthrightness but always with honesty and compassion.

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Greet: Always greet members of the constabulary with respect and avoid sweet nothings such as 'Aren’t you the guy from village people’.

Dealing with passengers: It seems likely that your motor vehicle will serve as carriage for passengers for members of your household; it is important to understand that passengers may not appreciate the difficulties associated with driving; therefore you should be tolerant of the banality of their conversation and desire to change the radio station or volume.

Passengers (especially those who have elected to take the front passenger seat in preference to the true gentleman, who will always take the rear) feel they have supreme authority over every knob and dial on your dashboard – if you find them reaching over and changing from your beloved Radio 4 to such an aural assault as KISS or Real Radio, then remind them who is in charge of the car and the radio station whilst asking them to keep their distance and also wear a facemask.

Offer others the same compassion you lavish on yourself: Almost all of us have had to indulge in some ungentlemanly conduct in an emergency, such as getting to a pre Covid 19 wedding, the birth of our children or a job interview.

When we did it, we excused it as absolutely necessary. We attribute our infractions to the circumstances. Yet, when we see other people doing the same thing, we chalk it up to their clear character defect! Yet perhaps they are a gentleman in dire straits, in which case a true gentleman should give them a bye, just this once.

Don’t try to “punish” people yourself: If a driver does something that deserves a damned good thrashing, you may be tempted to tailgate, flash your lights, or prevent them from getting over to your lane to show your displeasure. But just like launching a witty, rhetorical skewering of some lower-class buffoon on the internet, all this does is raise their ire and assume, despite all evidence to the contrary, that you are the blackguard.

But unlike on the internet, there is real physical safety at risk when you stick up for your pride on the road. Showing an individual that he or she was able to get under your skin and affect your mood just means that he wins, and a gentleman never does anything to disgrace himself within the public domain.

If someone really is driving dangerously, allow discretion to be the better part of valour and consult the constabulary. Then, you can console yourself by giving them a jaunty wave as you drive past.

Offer the “I’m sorry” wave: The gentleman driver isn’t perfect. When you do something unintentionally to inconvenience or endanger someone else, own up to it and give the old “I’m sorry” wave.

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