Driving is a hazardous pastime. There are millions of us out there on the roads, trying to get to work, B&Q and Huddersfield. When we get in our cars, we have to be alert, be awake and be ready for anything. And that’s not to say that the roads are full of morons (though we’re sure you have your opinions on that), it’s more a case of this being some sort of barely organised chaos. You can’t drive with your brain off. You have to be focused.
In amongst that chaos, of course, are the renegades, the fools and the idiots. The cars that, when you catch a glimpse of them over your steering wheel, you know you need to watch with an extra degree of vigilance. These are cars that, uniformly, represent a danger. These cars are to be avoided. Should you see one, give it a wide birth, maybe pull over and wait for them to be in a different town, or you could give them a cautionary nudge to let them know you’re there. Your call.
But what cars are they? There is the uniform caution that should be extended to cars with green P plates, black box stickers and ‘baby on board’ signs, but that’s not all. Being the tip top font of motoring advice that we are, we’ve rounded up five of the most regular offenders here.
The Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz, ahh, the Honda. Jazz. It’s a good car as it happens, but then what would you expect from Honda? It’s small, it’s highly practical, frugal, easy on the eye and unbelievably reliable. Sadly though, through no fault of Honda’s own, the Jazz attracts a demographic that should be dead. And we don’t mean that as a thinly veiled threat. They should, literally, be dead. Next time you see a Jazz, look at the driver. What you’ll see is not a person, but a collection of grey hair and ancient, person-shaped dust.
When the typical Jazz driver was born, rocks were new. Somehow, they have all managed to dodge the bony finger of the Reaper and instead walk into a Honda dealership. They bought their Jazzes and took to the road. But despite being older than the universe itself, they have amassed no driving skill. They peer over the wheel through glasses so thick they make the Hubble Telescope blush, as they meander through traffic, bumping into street furniture, trees and other cars. Seriously, find us a Jazz without some panel damage.
The BMW E46 Coupe
Like the Jazz, the BMW E46 coupe was and still is a good car. Buy a nice one, leave it standard and keep the miles down, and you’ll have an appreciating classic on your hands. Look how prices for the E36 are going, to give you a flavour. If you see one on the road that’s still in stock condition, stand down, there is no reason to be alarmed. If you see one that’s lowered, has smoked rear lights, tinted glass and a ‘grass, cash or ass – no free rides’ sticker on the back bumper, slightly off angle, avoid it like the plague. The driver will almost certainly have picked up this once great coupe for £450 off Facebook Marketplace. That means, straight off the bat, it’s stolen.
It’ll be on different wheels, DOTZ or some sort of BBS-u-like, or perhaps BMW X5 alloys on skinny, worn rubber. It won’t have been serviced since 2004. If a diesel, Wayne the owner will have wound the boost up thanks to the help of a YouTube video. This will leave the car prone to failure, and it’ll leave clouds of black smoke everywhere it goes. The diff will be welded, and Wayne will be a self-appointed ‘drift king’ because he watched Tokyo Drift once. Avoid this car before it crashes into you, or grenades its engine in front of you.
The Nissan Navara
The Nissan Navara was a good, if flawed truck. Rugged, angular looks, impressive payload and decent build quality made it the perfect fodder for site managers up an down the country. However, after a while the Navara developed a nasty habit of snapping in the middle, so now nobody with a modicum of sense will buy a used one. This means that when you see one on the road, you should avoid it at all costs. The chances are it could snap at any moment.
Plus, being a now cheap pickup truck, there is the strong chance it’ll be driven by someone of no fixed abode, because a caravan on the local community football pitch isn’t fixed. Skating under the radar of the law, and in no fear of consequence whatsoever, a Navara will bump, bang and bash its way to wherever it needs to be with care. The drive may also ask you for any old scrap metal or car batteries while doing so.
The Ford Focus ST
The Ford Focus ST was a return to hot hatch greatness for Ford. The five-cylinder, turbocharged engine was and still is a work of art. Fast, torquey, a chassis to die for and all the practicality of a ‘normal’ car made it a hit. much like the BMW mentioned above, stock STs should cause you no concern on the road. Usually enthusiast owned, they’ll be driven with a pleasing level of care and attention. They are, after all, someone’s pride and joy.
The ones you need to avoid are those cars driven by Gary. Gary will crash into you because he won’t be able to see you, as his ST will be thick with ‘sub ohm’ flavoured vape smoke. The crash will smell like strawberries. He’ll also be driving like a dick, ragging the ST to within an inch of its life. It’ll be on part-worn, mismatched tyres. The lowered springs will be cracked and the shocks will be shot. You’ll hear Gary coming though, what with all the hissing from his poorly-fitted eBay front-mount intercooler.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
Ahh the Sprinter. Insured fully comp by the delivery company that owns it, and driven by someone under so much pressure to make 8,000 drops a day they don’t care if the run over your cat. It’s a van to avoid, but not because it’s bad. Far from it. The Sprinter is one of the finest vans out there, and if it’s wearing the livery of local, small business you need not worry. It’ll be driven with care and attention through fear of a bollocking from the boss. If it’s got DHL, DPD or Yodel plastered on it, however, be aware.
Those vans are driven without care, attention or regard for other human life. The driver’s know they are but a lowly-paid number to the company for which they work. They’ve written off four vans already, and all they had to do each time was fill out a form. There is no fear of reprimand, and this makes the vans fast like an F1 car, at least to the drivers. Add in the pressure of the aforementioned delivery expectations and you’re left with a vehicle that will take you out as soon as look at you.