May 20, 2011

“Pull up to my bumper, baby,” urged athletically-formed muse-diva Grace Jones back in the last days of disco over one of Sly and Robbie’s trademark squish-squash bouncy rhythms, “in your long black limousine.”

Anyone uncertain as to the true nature of the invitation thereby extended might like to recall that a limousine is a luxurious motor vehicle whose driver historically sat exposed to the elements but whose passengers were protected by a construction of metal and glasswork once thought to resemble the characteristic overgarment of peasant pastoralists in the lands around the French provincial town of Limoges.

Pulling up to bumpers appears to be an increasingly popular pastime up and down Homeland GB these days, with many going so far as to drive right into the car in front (by which we do not mean a Toyota, incidentally). But there are fears now that Britain’s bumper bumping enthusiasm risks causing serious rear-end harm. Putting down his telescope – poignantly oblivious to suppressed sniggers occasioned by the black marks round his left eye – “car insurance giant” Admiral has professed himself appalled this week (as he does each year, to be fair) at the rising tide of rear-end collisions, of which, he claims, there are currently no fewer than 405,000 per annum on Roadsnet UK.

Admiral reckons there were 9% more prangs involving bumper damage to at least one vehicle in 2010 than there were in 2009. Crashing for cash is one reason, according to the tricorned insuranceman, the other is cars sitting too close to one another whilst stuck in slow moving traffic. Oh, and speeding. And tailgating. And, just, like, bad driving, really. But, whatever, it’s all helping drive up those already stratospheric car insurance premiums which insurers like Admiral really hate to have to charge.

These shock new findings raise important questions, argues Admiral spokesperson Sue Longhorn: “Around one in four road accidents involves one motorist hitting another in the rear. Why is this? We can all get distracted while driving; keeping the kids quiet, changing the radio, other road users. But how many of us have nearly bumped the car in front because our mind has drifted off or because an attractive person has walked by?”

Presumably those figures will be released in another Admiral press release sometime soon. In the meantime, Bankstone News can only endorse everything Ms Longhorns says (in so far as, we have any idea what she’s on about) and simply add that it’s probably best to pull over in a safe place before installing a new car radio and/or doing ‘other road users’ – whatever that involves.


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