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Geraldine Herbert: 'I failed my first driving test because I reversed into a tree'

We talk electric cars, driving tests tales and dream drives with Ireland AM's Laura Woods, writes Geraldine Herbert

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Eating the cake: Laura and her BMW

Eating the cake: Laura and her BMW

Eating the cake: Laura and her BMW

Your current car? I currently drive a BMW 3 Series. I have always been a fan of the BMW range, but they were a big extravagance and out of my budget for years. Then in the last while I had a big birthday which coincided with the end of nearly eight years of crèche fees and I figured life is too short - eat the cake, buy the car... and so I did!

My husband around the same time decided to go fully electric, something he had wanted to do for ages too. So he picked the Hyundai Ioniq and I have the pleasure of driving that on occasion and I love it.

How do you find driving an EV compared to a regular car? I find it very smooth to drive, and I know my husband enjoys driving it too. Having said that, he will regularly take my car for long distance travel. The combination of limited charge points on motorways, coupled with a potential queue once you get there, makes it impractical if you have to be at a certain place at a certain time. But, on the whole, I think he's happy and I can't see him switching back.

What do you use your car for? School drops and work mainly. I work in Virgin Media Television just off the M50 and live near the M50 so I drive in every day. My job also involves a bit of travel around the country so I've been clocking up the miles but, so far, thankfully, the car has been a dream to drive and I've had no issues with it.

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Quallity time: San Pedro

Quallity time: San Pedro

What sort of state is your car in (inside or out)?

Inside it's a bit scruffy as I've two little boys in it every day! They're old enough now to go and earn their pocket money though, so they give it a hoover and polish every couple of weeks. This is the first car I've had with a leather interior which has been a revelation, and I keep wipes in the car for the inevitable spillages and mucky handprints.

What's in the boot and the glove compartment? .

The boot of the car is another story - it's my Cardrobe! I'll always have clothes in there - whether they're work clothes to drop off, or a change of outfit depending on filming schedule, or spare clothes/wellies/coats for the kids. It's teeming with clothes and hangers. I clear it out every now and again, usually when it's due a service or my husband needs it. I get embarrassed into cleaning it.

How would you describe your driving, then? I would say average enough? I don't often get into scrapes and am a confident driver. I also enjoy driving when we're abroad. In the past I was much more impatient but having children has taught me to be more mindful on the roads - when you have tiny precious cargo in the back seat it's a good reality check for driving safely at all times.

Any bad habits? I'm sure I do.. the written part of the driving exam didn't exist when I passed my drivers' test twenty years ago and I imagine I might struggle with a few rules of the road if I had to sit it today!

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Perfection: Peugeot 205

Perfection: Peugeot 205

Ever crashed, got a parking ticket or points? Thankfully no major crashes, a couple of dents here and there, once whilst reversing into a parking spot and I remember a different time banging into someone in front of me who had slammed on their brakes. No major damage done to the cars and, most importantly, no injuries to anyone either.

Yes to parking tickets over the years but now thanks to easy parking apps I've avoided one for a long time. No points either.

Have you ever experienced road rage (either passively or actively)? Coming off slip roads onto main roads appears to instill a bit of rage in people - that's when I seem to get beeped at by narky drivers anyway!

What was your first car?

It was a white Peugeot 205 and to me it was perfection... it symbolised freedom and independence and I loved driving it so much. I have many happy memories of a gang of us all piled into the car heading to Eddie Rockets on Sunday afternoons while I was in college.

Who taught you to drive?

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Aladdin

Aladdin

My Dad. The man has the patience of a Saint. He was brilliant at helping me with my maths homework as a teenager and also teaching me how to drive. One of these proved very successful, the other has always remained a bit of a struggle!

Any driving test tales?

Unfortunately when I was eighteen I failed my first driving test as I reversed into a tree - which sounds quite dramatic but really wasn't. In a quiet neighborhood estate the Test Examiner asked me to reverse around a corner and unfortunately I didn't spot a newly planted sapling as height wise it was below my rear window. This was my argument to the examiner. His argument (quite rightly) was that I shouldn't have been up on the kerb in the first place. So he failed me on the spot.

Do you have a favourite car gadget? Bluetooth.

What music do you listen to on the road? At the moment the soundtrack to Aladdin (the children's choice) is constantly on repeat.

Dream drive in a dream location? I'll pick the drive from Malaga airport to San Pedro - a journey that takes in the mountains and the coast. It's one we do every year and for me it signifies the start of quality time with my family, and a breather from work and life.

What would you say to anyone interested in buying an EV? An important question to ask before adopting one is if your lifestyle would suit an EV car? For example, if you tend to travel long distances regularly, then being organised, and route-planning to allow for charge stops is crucial. However, some of the newest EV models now have a 400km range which gives the driver more freedom.

Sunday Independent