Not many of us would look back at the Circuit Breaker period with any fondness, but it did a world of good beyond the immediate aim of containing the COVID-19 virus. Admit it — it probably made you appreciate your car and driving again!
The Circuit Breaker (CB) brought on to curb the spread of COVID-19 was unprecedented; the restrictions imposed on the public truly inconvenienced our normal way of life. We may grouse and grumble about it, but there’s always a silver lining to any situation, no matter how bad. When you think about it, that’s the case with CB.
Beyond mitigating the spread of COVID-19, what CB has given us is the opportunity to rethink what we all take for granted — a new perspective of life, if you like. For drivers particularly, there have been tangible and intangible benefits.
As drivers, most of us are accustomed to going on our daily commute between home and work, dashing between business appointments and sending our kids to and from school — all happening like clockwork and always in a rush. During CB, most of us had to work from home, with meetings and school taking place online. Without peak hour traffic, our roads suddenly became less congested and noisy. Our whole world quietened down, and the madness of our everyday life slowed to a shuffle.
A Slower Pace
If you were on the roads during CB, you would likely have been pleasantly surprised that no one was tailgating you, no crazy speedster was trying to overtake you, and a lot fewer commercial vehicles and cyclists were darting across your lane. Driving suddenly became more pleasurable; for the first time in a long while, you actually got to appreciate your car and the scenery, switch on your favourite station or tunes. It almost felt like you were on a driving holiday!
While making a grocery run, you would have noticed that car parks were practically deserted. No more long queues at the entry and exit points, no one stealing your parking spot, and no more dealing with inconsiderate parking habits of others. Getting out of your parked car, you could appreciate the wide berth you have, unlike the many times you’ve been caught between two big SUVs.
A Little Breather
Owning a car comes with maintenance issues and costs. With CB, you drove less frequently, and that meant lower fuel and running costs. Many of you didn’t pump petrol as often; when you needed to refuel, you could probably get by on three quarters of a tank for more than a month, saving you hundreds of dollars. With less traffic and congestion on the roads, you weren’t driving in stop-start conditions and getting frustrated. As a bonus, your fuel consumption may actually have improved with smoother driving conditions.
On top of that, with less driving and better traffic conditions, the many parts of your car would have experienced less wear and tear. Less wear and tear on your tyres, for example, means a slightly longer lifespan for your brake pads. Your car’s interiors were also kept cleaner with less usage and fewer passengers,thanks to social distancing. Even the air-conditioning system was not stretched and seats not as scuffed as before. Think of it as giving your car a little breather after the never-ending routine of pre-CB life.
It’s funny that we don’t appreciate things until they have gone. Post CB, some of us will look back upon this trying period with a smile, perhaps hoping in some small way that we could re-live the bits that made our driving experience better and more meaningful.