Yes, polite is right!
Based on the famous (?) Lotus one-liner “light is right”, I thought I’d write up a manifesto of the english gentleman Lotus driver.
- Racing is for racetracks. Never fall into anyone’s trap to make you race them on the public road. Anyway – you know who’d win! If someone really insists, kindly invite them to your next track-day.
- Speeding in sensible areas like cities or smaller B-roads, is absolute no-go. Always respect the speed limitations, especially on spots marked 50 or 70 km/h. I’ve been driving for 18 years and never got fined for speeding in sensible spots – I actually simply never did!
- People often look in awe at your car because they don’t see that many around; some, especially kids, will wink and scream as you drive by. Flash your headlights twice and politely wink back at them with a smile, they’ll appreciate!
- Always stop at the pedestrian crossing to let that old lady walk over; smile and show her a very visible sign with your hand to indicate that it’s a pleasure for you to stop your car for her. Hey – more people might actually have time to look at your beauty in detail !
- In dense traffic with changing lanes, make place for others to drive in just in front of you. You wouldn’t want to go head to head with that other big, old, ugly car anyway, would you?
- When driving back home late at night, gently roll through your block or village in 4th gear at low speed, making as little noise as possible. Your neighbours want to know you as the nice, gentleman sportscar driver, not as the rowdy who wakes them up in the middle of the night, landing in 2nd gear, 8500 rpm, and a stage 3 exhaust – screaming like a jetplane. What’s more – no engine on earth would like a brutal 8500 rpm to immediate engine shut-down process.
- Talking about neighbours – if they’ve got young kids, invite them to the party when you clean your car. They’ll have a great story to tell next day in school, and you’ll have some helping hands. Just keep an eye on those hands though..
- If someone keeps hammering you with questions about your car, simply offer them to be the driver for 10 minutes, if they like. I know most people don’t let others drive their Lotus, but the experience I’ve made is very positive, as long as you are the copilot. For most, the driving experience is so new and uncommon that they barely dare hitting the accelerator, but you’ll have made their day. If you really don’t want (or can’t because of insurance) anyone else to drive your Lotus, offer them to sit behind the steering wheel to at least share the feeling.
- Talking about questions – one of the first questions I’m being asked is “How much horsepower?”, or something like that. I always answer that, with a Lotus, the right question would be “How much weight?”. A very good way to get them introduced to the “Light is right” concept… and maybe transform them into future Lotus owners.
And that closes the circle. Actually, you’ll have noticed that being polite is also very protective for yourself and your car. Win-Win !
Now, keep the comments flowing! How do you culture your gentleman driving?