The first time it happened, I was almost gently slapped by a door mirror. And the second occasion required a brief sprint and the speedy installation of self behind wheel to avoid some expensive embarrassment.
What am I on about? A Vauxhall Insignia with an unengaged handbrake.
The Insignia, you see, has an electric parking brake, triggered by a neat little tab switch on the centre console. A quick flick skywards with a curled finger, and the mechanism engages with a brief whirr. Or so I thought.
But on several occasions during my week with this car, in which I confirmed that I’m fast becoming a slow learner, I discovered that being too deft to finger this switch will result in the brake failing to engage. Which is how I almost came to be overtaken by the just-vacated Insignia as it rolled down the road at a stately 3mph towards its oblivious driver, allowing me enough time to unlock it and get on-board again for a panicky stab of the brake. On the second occasion, in the Porsche Experience Centre car park at Silverstone, the man from the Financial Times drily suggested that I might care to apply the handbrake as the Insignia rolled towards a colleague’s immaculate Saab 96. I made it, but this incident prompted the sprint. During the other out-of-control rolls I was in the car, luckily – and finally learnt to apply the switch with more than a swift flick.