Hyundai Ionic - A Mother in France

Lockdown France – Driving, or lack of it.

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I like driving in my car, it’s not quite a Jaguar!  Actually, it’s a Hyundai Ioniq hybrid and we bought it last year.

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

I am normally at home a lot, I work from home most of the time and so life in lockdown is not so different, or is it…  

I could not believe how long I spent in the car!

I had clocked up 15,000 kms in my new car since we bought it at the end of September… it’s hardly been used since we went into lockdown.  That’s 15,000 miles in less than 6 months – over 2,000 kms a month, roughly 500 km a week!  If that is with an average speed of 50km an hour (taking into account most of my mileage is local on country roads), that’s an average of 10hrs spent in my car a week! 

When our old car stopped working and repairing it was going to cost more than it was worth, we decided to buy a hybrid car. We are trying to live a more ecological life and so it made sense to try to find a more ecological car.  But how ecological were we really being, when we were clocking up so many hours driving hours a week – that’s still quite a lot of petrol, even though it’s a hybrid.

Why was I driving so much?

We live in a very rural location.  Our nearest town with a supermarket is 10 minutes away. Not so far, but a shopping trip for the basics is a 20 minute round trip, which I used to do at least twice a week.  If we want anything other than basic foods, that involves a trip to our nearest bigger town, Saint Gaudens which is a 30 minute drive.  I often go there once every week or two and that’s an hour round trip.

Shopping trips: 5 hours/month

I was taking our puppy Tasha to dog training weekly, that’s another 40 minute round trip and over the last few months leading up to the book launch of the Writing Group I belong to, I was averaging upto a 2 hour round trip for meetings, venue visits a week etc… 

Personal hobbies: 11 hrs/month

By far the most time consuming though was the taxying the kids to school, work experience and classes.

I calculated that I was spending 5 hrs a month dropping off and picking up my 14 year old boarding every other week.  A total of 12 hours a month were spent taking him to his stage (work experience). He was working at the computer shop in our local town, so only a 10 minute drive away. However, it closed for 2 hours for lunch, so it involved making 4 x 20minute journey’s there and back most days.  I was amazed at how many hours that 10 minute journey amounted to monthly!

Bus stop visits picking up 17 year old and 12 year old… 4 visits a day (1 bus leaves at 7am, the other at 8am; one bus returns at 5.20pm the other 6pm)  The bus stop is a 3min drive (6min round trip), so that’s 24 minutes a day, 3 hours a week, 8 hour a month,

I was taking my 12 year old daughter to dancing lessons twice a week. That’s a 20 minute round trip, so 40minutes a week, 3hrs a month.

Total child related taxi services – 28 hours/month

Then add into that a couple of round trips to Montpellier – once the end of September when our 26 year old son was in hospital and once in March to pick him up to bring him home for the lockdown (our eldest son did that trip), that’s a 7 hour round trip

Gary had a trip to Spain for a concert in Barcelona, so that clocked up another 12 hours driving at least. We also visit Spain at weekends sometimes which is a 3hour round trip.

You get the picture.  We use the car a lot.  At least we did.  Before the virus.  And now… well our traveling is going to be drastically reduced, even when life starts to return to normal (whatever and whenever that will be).  If nothing else, this time has made us rethink our lives.  I will certainly cut down the amount of trips I make. 

Since so many countries have been in lockdown, amazing things are happening to the air quality of the earth… We all have a responsibility to make a difference and hopefully this time of forced reflection will make the difference that is so desperately needed if our world is to survive.

What parts of your lives will you be changing as we start moving out of lockdown?

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