Playing dirty; EV know-how; L-driver bully; 'super size' Peugeot; 700bhp Ford
It's winter and I know our rural roads slap lots of mud and grime on our cars. But does that excuse having number plates with an inch thick coating of dirt? Or light clusters (especially at the rear) shrouded behind 10 coats of dust and muck?
I make the point because on a recent drive down the country my front-seat passenger brought the extent of filthy rears to my attention. He asked, "Do people think they will get away without paying tolls if the number plates are dirty?"
I don't think anyone is that foolish. But the dirty light casings represent a potentially more sinister side-effect - seeing and being seen, front and back.
I'm no cleanie genie by any means. I tend not to check on such items too often. But even with a new car, on test, I was amazed, when I did check, at how thick a film of dirt had stuck to the vehicle.
So give yourself every chance of seeing and being seen by regularly wiping the headlights and tail-lights clean before you set off. You'd be amazed at the difference. And check the rear number plate while you are at it.
* Other drivers can be so cruel. A young woman was driving with her instructor along a narrow, car-lined, busy suburban street in Dublin and had the temerity to drive slowly for safety. Much too slowly for the liking of a gentleman who really should have known better. Flashing lights and honking horns have no place on our roads at any time but especially when more vulnerable users are trying to cope with what can be a terrifying undertaking. Shame I didn't take his number. Should have.
* A just released Carzone survey says 70pc of us would consider buying a hybrid or electric car in the near future. But fewer than half are aware of our electric grant scheme (44pc). Seven-in-10 (69pc) reckon it will be 10 years or more before EVs constitute 50pc of cars sold here. There seems to be a decent level of awareness (58pc) about the location of charging stations. However, 82pc have no access to a charging point at work.
* Peugeot's 5008 SUV (pictured) is a big 7-seater but a finger slip on my keyboard made it gigantic. It is not 6-plus metres long. It is 4.641m. Thank you to the large number of eagle-eyed readers of my review in the Irish Independent on Saturday for bringing it to my attention.
* Ford says the new Mustang Shelby GT500 will be its most powerful road-legal production car to date. With 700bhp on tap, the firm is entitled to make that claim. It could be here by next year. Meanwhile, Ford is at least doubling investment in electrification and plans to roll out 16 pure-electric vehicles within five years.
* Around two-thirds of motorists in the UK have not ever attempted to carry out any repairs on their car. That suggests, the experts say, that a large number of drivers are neither confident nor comfortable around "even the most basic repairs". But maybe they are better off because, according to a ClickMechanic survey, many of those who did wish they had not done so. One-third regret the results of their handywork. It is a reminder that expert work should be left to the specialists.