It's the new year, and you’re determined to do a better job of planning your driving life over the next 12 months.
Right now there’s an all-too-brief opportunity to lay plans for the year ahead, and this time you’re going to stick to them. But where to start?
For 2014, we’ve done some of the thinking for you. We’ve come up with a list of car activities, ideas and destinations that should suit a variety of motoring palates and encourage fresh thinking. All you need to do is grab the idea and lift the phone, or engage the clutch. Steve Cropley is your guide
1. Stage a private driving day
Whether we’re talking Volkswagen Up, Range Rover Evoque or Lamborghini Gallardo, car makers work hard to create a special character in every car, yet few of us ever set out to appreciate what we own. Try it. Clean the windscreen, check your tyres, secure rattling objects, choose a great route. Even wearing the right shoes can make a difference. You’ll be amazed at the rewards.
Drive the A272 - The 90-mile, two-hour trip from Winchester to Heathfield is a delight on rolling English roads. Correct timing is vital.
Visit Crickhowell - Autocar’s car-testing domain at the base of Wales’s Black Mountains offers superb drives in every direction.
Climb Mt Ventoux - Inspirational European drives are plentiful, but this famous hillclimb on public roads in southern France is one of the greatest.
Hire a special car
Why go through life regretting that your chances didn’t make you a billionaire? You can still have that special car – by renting it for a day or a week. Your advantage over the billionaire is that you’ve given it back long before deterioration or depreciation take hold.
Drive a Ferrari at Goodwood - Or even a Jaguar D-type replica, thanks to Mithril Racing. Go to mithril.co.uk or email them on email@example.com for more.
Get a Morgan from the factory - Hire a Plus Four or 3 Wheeler direct from the marque, or from selected dealers. Go to morgan-motor.co.uk or phone 01684 573104.
Hire a holiday - Hertz has a special ‘Adrenaline Collection’ for people like us. Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro available, alongside the Ford Mustang. Go to hertz.com/rentacar.
2. Learn to drive (better)
One of the Great Truths of motoring is that the best-value pound is probably spent on driving tuition, not on enhancing your engine’s power. Tennis stars have full-time coaches; airline pilots can’t fly unless they’re regularly assessed. Adopt the same attitude and you’ll be a better driver.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists is ditching its fuddy-duddy image to become an important provider of road driving modules such as parking and manoeuvring, motorway driving and winter driving. Go to iam.org.uk.
Learn to drive at the limit of grip - Silverstone Rally School has both half and full-day courses to teach you how to get to grips with the loose stuff. Have a look at silverstonerally.co.uk or phone 01327 857413.