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So why couldn't I /wouldn't I drive?

Updated on April 7, 2016

What on earth was going on?

It all started in June 2008 when I returned from a visit to see my father. I got into my own car and got out again. This was the third time that month that I had gotten in my car to go to work and got out again. I could not understand it. Why was I so reluctant to drive my car? What was the problem? It was not as if I was apprehensive or anything like that. I like driving and I love my car.

I had been away for two weeks as I did every year. Upon my return, I just could not get myself to get into my car to drive. Would you believe I ended up not driving for the next four months? Instead, I got my Oyster Card out and travelled by public transport everywhere. Once in a while I would ask for a lift. The funny thing is I did not feel strange about it. I quite enjoyed the trips by bus and the walks to the bus stops. I was surprised at how I had adapted.

Whenever people saw me heading for the bus stop they would ask about my car. I would reply that there was nothing wrong. I just did not feel like driving. I knew they thought it was a tall story but who cares. It was the truth.

I thought about it some more and as my car tax was due to run out that October, I decided to wait until then. So for the next four months it was the Oyster Card and the bus for me. The weather was not that bad either.

Finally, in the last week of October, I went online to order my tax disc. I put in all the necessary personal details in. Among the requirements for the Road Tax was the insurance and the MOT. The MOT in England refers to the annual test for cars over 3 years old in the UK. MOT or M.O.T. stands for Ministry of Transport.

Applying for the Road tax online will automatically flag up your insurance and MOT status. In my case there was no evidence of my MOT being valid. I could not believe it. I always did the MOT in April but when I checked, it turned out that the MOT had expired in March. OMG as they say nowadays. Without an MOT certificate my insurance was invalid. This was serious! I had driven for three months from March to June with no MOT and did not realise it.

I was not being careless or irresponsible. For over 8 years, until March, I had always had my MOT and Road Tax paid every March and my insurance every September. Like so many other people, I split the cost of running my car into two (to avoid big bills at the one point of the year)- the Road Tax and MOT in March and the insurance in September.

However, following a series of events in March one of which included a hefty bill to restore my car after it had failed an MOT test, I ended up paying for a 6 month Road Tax (half the cost) instead of an annual one. This cut down my total expenditure on the car at that time and resulted in my Road Tax expiring in October and not the following March. Somehow, I had not remembered the MOT at all. With the Road Tax displayed on the wind screen as (October 08), I did not even consider the MOT.

I feel so grateful and believe I was being guided to remain safe by not driving the car while my insurance would have been invalid. Need-less-to-say, my discomfort eased once this was resolved. I was glad I had followed my intuition or discomfort. I have since stuck to the particular months for MOT (March) and insurance (September) to avoid any confusion.

(An excerpt from Sighted But Blind by Marie Jean-Marie )


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