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Opinion: No, you shouldn’t go for a drive

By Scott Newman, 07 Apr 2020 Features

Do not go for a drive COVID lockdown feature

Leave the car in the garage for now, except in emergencies

There’s a lot of consternation and gnashing of teeth in certain sectors of the car community regarding the government’s heavy-handed treatment of recreational drives at the moment.

As a performance car publication dedicated to the joy of driving, you might expect MOTOR to be sharpening its pitchfork and charging to the front of the picket line. No. We’re all at home.

Granted, the $1652 fine given to a Victorian L-plater is overzealous (surely being stopped by police and ordered home would’ve been a sufficient deterrent?) but its vital travel restrictions are taken seriously and that includes recreational driving.

Hopefully, we’re doing our part. Last week, MOTOR ceased all road-testing; not a decision taken lightly given that’s essentially what we do for a living, but we have a reasonable amount of content in the can and swapping in and out of cars weekly felt to be putting both ourselves and the people who prepare these cars at unnecessary risk.

“Fine,” you might say, “but I’m not swapping in and out of cars, I’m in my own car.” On the face of it being alone in your car seems a low-risk scenario, but it’s all too easy for a controlled situation to quickly spiral out of control.

Related: Car meet cops $77,372 in lockdown fines

For example, one of the contributing factors to our decision was a shoot conducted last week, during which a mechanical problem necessitated the use of a tow truck. All of a sudden our carefully planned social distancing went out the window.

What happens if on your drive you get a flat tyre (if you have a modern car chances are you’ll need a tow) or a breakdown? Worse still, if you have an accident or, more likely, are crashed into by someone who isn’t concentrating, tying up badly needed emergency and medical response teams? Not to mention the petri dish that is the petrol station.

I get it, you want to go for a drive. So do I.

Everyone here at MOTOR misses the excitement of trying the latest machinery and passing on what it’s like to you the readers, not to mention the freedom of being able to go wherever we want whenever we want. But it’s not about what we want.

Every time someone flouts the current restrictions they risk extending them; annoying for those of us that can’t indulge in our favourite pastime, devastating for those who currently lack income due to being stood down or the brave and stressed healthcare workers that are currently occupying the front line against this insidious virus.

The more disciplined and responsible we are, the sooner life can return to some semblance of normalcy. Until then, get planning your next adventure and join our sister outlet Wheels’ #driveafteriso campaign but, more importantly, stay home.