Perfect Paul - colin
How do you guys react to perfectionist Paul, who writes a column in the DT Motoring supp every week?
I maintain that it is humanly impossible to concentrate absolutely 100% on driving for more than a few miles, even if there are no passengers to distract one.
When I was a high mileage man I occasionally found that I had reached a certain point on a long journey without the slightest recollection of how I'd got there. Reprehensible, I suppose?
Re: Perfect Paul - Colin M
I tried twice to contact him through his website to enrol a group onto his course, but never got a reply. Too busy concentrating I guess! Still enjoy his column though, much better than that other guy, err wassiname ... ;-)

Colin
Re: Perfect Paul - Brian
One or two of his suggestions do not make sense, though.
For example, a few weeks ago he suggested that if there was no other traffic about then there was no need to signal a turn.
Which means that you have to check that there is no traffic in front, none behind, none on side-roads that you may not be able to see, none coming out of the road you intend turning into, none coming down the road opposite. Etc.
And that if the situation changes you have to start signalling.
Sorry Paul, I'm sticking to signalling every time. It then becomes automatic and leaves no room for dispute.
Re: Perfect Paul - Tom Shaw
To be fair to Paul Ripley, a situation that would obviously not require a signal would be when leaving a roundabout where vision was unrestricted and there was a clear absence of other traffic, though Brian is quite correct in that there is no harm in giving a signal either.

Paul Ripley has never claimed to be a perfect driver, in fact he is the first to admit that he, like everyone else will make mistakes. What he and all good driving instructors advocate is that if we all aim for perfection whenever we drive, we will be safer for it.
Re: Perfect Paul - Dave Y
Re 1st Colin's comment I agree it is impossible to concentrate 100% for long periods but it's still worth trying! There's a degree of satisfaction in predicting what will happen and seeing it unfold and, overall, it makes you a lot safer even if the concn. does break down from time to time!

Re Brians comment on not bothering to signal when no-one will benefit from it - this is standard IAM teaching and is sensible. I think their reasoning is that if signalling becomes automatic you ain't thinking about it. If you've made a rational decision based on good observation then it sharpens your driving and if the result is no-one benefits from a signal then that's OK. On the other hand it always bothered me that you could arrive at a junction and someone appears from a poor visibility turning and doesn't know what you're going to do. IAM answer is OK, bang on the signal but that's not so helpful if you're in the middle of doing summat else! Answer is, of course, anticipation - an attainment of perfection - not a bad objective really!
Re: Perfect Paul - Dave Y
Alvin
You're entitled to your opinion but isn't this exactly what accidents are about? How many times do you here "he came out of nowhere". No he didn't - he came from a perfectly predictable direction to anyone who took the time and trouble to think about it. As I implied before no-one is perfect but if everyone just tried harder there might just be a hell of a lot less deaths on the road.
Yes - PR is often a bit like Sherlock Holmes - Watson, your driver is a one-armed Afghan who has recently been walking on the South Downs - but I often think there's an element of exaggeration to make a point - the point is a valid one
Re: Perfect Paul - Alvin Booth
Paul always gave me a few laughs with his now finished pictures of a normal road situation with "how many hazards can you spot" situations.
Mostly these were perfectly harmless scenarios out in the countryside with little to cause alarm but paul could see dangers appearing from nowhere.
Did you notice the farmer on his tractor in the field....his dog may suddenly race out through the open gate. The crows flying across the road could indicate a farmer may be ruunning after them with his gun.
The trees ahead may indicate leaves on the forthcoming corner, and so on.
They always reminded me of comics in an earlier life when you used to have to find the 20 or so animals in the drawing portrayed.
I should have disliked being on a patrol with Paul as i/c, we would have been flinging ourselves into the undergrowth every few seconds as he kept seeing new dangers appearing from behind every tree.
Alvin
Re: Perfect Paul - Dave Y
Alvin

Excellent points you make and I agree. I always thought I was an OK driver - read the police "Roadcraft" in the early 60's and all that but did an IAM course and was surprised to see how my observation was not as good as it could have been, particularly on road signs. It's better now so I figure there was room for improvement - your point about autopilot is well taken but I suspect it can be honed by concentration as well as experience.
The general road skills on view today are, on the whole, poor and I think anything that can improve on those is worthwhile. PR tries to do this and though, like you I sometimes think, "good grief - is he serious?" I think he does a good job.
Your right about the brain - amazing piece of kit!
Re: Perfect Paul - Alvin Booth
dave,
yes I agree with your remarks and was only making a light hearted comment on Paul's sketches.
However on a serious note the concentration required to evaluate a picture in our vision which is changing every few seconds to a new one is not really possible, and can only be done by autopilot which switches on when you drive away and gets more efficient with experience.
By some miracle our reactions work before our brains get into gear although obviously they must be the one and same thing. Our computers come a poor second when it comes to assessing situations. We don't have to use a keyboard to give a command.
Awareness is the keyword and the number of things which must be automatically passing through our minds while we are driving is nothing short of amazing.
Alvin
Re: Perfect Paul - rogerb
I have found that doing a 'running commentary' is an excellent way of sharpening up one's observation discipline, and also to travel with a truly 'advanced driver' doing the same can be quite humbling, as one realises the points which you might have missed.
Having had some advanced lessons myself, I have become aware of my personal tendency not to look far enough ahead (and my difficulty with observing speed limits!!)
Re: Perfect Paul - Mike Harvey
Paul is one of a few who will at least admit that 'Roadcraft' the plod's driving manual, is not perfect. Try telling that to the IAM. For example Paul does not condemn left foot braking in automatics. I have been to a lot of training events and seminars etc in my life, and they are usually 95% rubbish, and 5% useful, so if you read Paul's column, and pick up just one tip which prevents an accident, it's worth it.
Mike
Re: Perfect Paul - John Davis
Colin's observation about the worry of "not knowing how you got there" on long and tiring journeys, used to worry me quite a lot too. I was a high mileage driver , around 1200K per week and not much of that on motorways but, I concluded that this symptom was, happily, a sign of good concentration. I think that, with most motoring journeys now being quite complex, the good driver automatically concentrates fully on the immediate situation and, in some way, the brain allows much of the detail of the previous part of the journey to be deleted from the memory, except, of course, unusual or dramatic happenings. Yes, I have whizzed through a hundred miles of country roads and could not remember much about any of the dozens of towns/villages I had passed through but, I think (hope) I was concentrating all the time and was happy to conclude that I had not been on "autopilot" at all.
Re: Perfect Paul - Ian Cook
Driving on autopilot could be expensive too. I go to work each day over the old Severn bridge (now the M48) and approach it via a nice little potter through country lanes.

A couple of times, at the weekend, I've found myself halfway up the approach road to the toll booths and realised just in time. You don't half feel a twerp!
Re: Perfect Paul - colin
Regarding omitting to signal if there's nobody about. A logical extension to this would be not to stop if you encounter a red traffic light whenever there's clearly no one around, e.g. in the middle of the night. Hmmmm ...
Re: Perfect Paul - Tom Shaw
Not the same thing at all, Colin. You are not given a choice as to whether you stop at a red light or not. As to whether the road is clear or not, it is simply none of your business. Red means you stop, want to or not. Bit different as to usong common sense on a signal.
Re: Perfect Paul - Stuart B
Sometimes perfect Paul falls into the trap of rigidly adopting a rule and not looking at the wider picture. A recent example being his comments about cruise control.

He has stated on more than one occasion that he could see no purpose for using such a device in this country. On a busy motorway or normal undivided roads I quite agree, but what about an empty motorway?

Surely it is better to say, here is a piece of kit and I will use it *only* when it is appropriate and it is of advantage, a bit like the indicator discussion above.

He actually commented after that he had quite a bit of mail on that subject, not from me as it happens, but there must have been quite a few who thought likewise.

Having said all that I saw him years ago on Calendar (Yorshire TV's regional programme) trying to do a handbrake turn and doughnuts in a Sierra Cossie. Paul Ripley I hope you were embarrassed about that because you really made a dog's breakfast of both. As Micky might say hur hur.
Re: Perfect Paul - Mike Harvey
Stbart, I remember the cruise control too, and use mine always on 200 mile motorway trips at between 2 and 4 in the morning when they are all but deserted. It prevents what I cannot, gradual speed build up. I tend to start at 70 and after half an hour later I'm doing 90. I know it's bad discipline, but its helped prevent me getting a speeding ticket for over 30 years.
Mike
Re: Perfect Paul - vin
The only time he's ever managed to get my blood to boil was when someone wrote to him and complained about the difficulty finding the steering wheel mounted horn button on modern cars. Perfect responded that you should get to know the controls and always know where they are.

So, Perfect, come out with me and, halfway round a roundabout, I'll call out "Now!", at which point you have to hit the horn. On my car, it's two thumb-sized patches on the steering wheel, so you won't have a clue where the hell they are, you'll have to take your eyes off the road, and you'll hopefully admit that poor design can foil even the most perfectly prepared driver.

Rant over. Carry on.
Re: Perfect Paul - Rebecca
It's not Paul who irritates me, but some of the people who write to him, desperately seeking his approval..."Don't you agree that....?Isn't it worth mentioning that.....?" etc instead of genuine questions.

(and yes I know there are valid points raised in his comments/answers but it's the brown nosing of the readers that winds me up)
Re: Perfect Paul - Phil Garner
Damn that column annoys me. Not that safe driving doesn't have a place in the motoring section but he does seem to be a bit of a pendant. That bit about examining the picture on country lanes etc made me chuckle. Too rite.

Agree with Rebecca, the people who write in manage to be even more smug.

I still reckon the motoring section has gone downhill over recent years, HJ's bit is as good as ever, but that bit about interiors is a bit dull as well. While I am moaning, I can't stand those bloody Alan Clark style toffy 'classic rallies' accross Europe things. 'Oh the Bentley did give us some trouble in the Dordogne, ho ho'

/rant off
Re: Perfect Paul - colin
Oh dear, oh, dear. How very sententious we've all become these days. Led of course, by po-faced Paul. As someone asked last week, where has all the fun gone?

But reverting to my original point, I remain convinced that, even if car radios are outlawed and passengers are ordered to keep silent and still (or banned altogether), no driver will be able to drive more than say ten miles without mental distraction, thinking perhaps about where he/she is going to park, did he/she turn the gas off, will Phil Mitchell get his leg over again tonight, etc.
 

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