But you’re not done yet, not by a distance. If you came to carve the Sunday roast and discovered your knife was blunt, you would probably not buy yourself a new knife but sharpen the one you already had. It’s the same with your car. Check the fluids, of course, but for goodness’ sake check the tyres and their pressures too. As the only interface between car and road, their condition is critical. You don’t need to have brand new, premium-brand boots at every corner; there are some excellent mid-market tyres made by companies that aren’t household names. But they need to be in good nick and correctly inflated.
Then clear out the interior, not so much as a weight reduction exercise but to keep you on the move and your mind clear of distractions. How many times have you been on a decent road but found your pleasure compromised by something rolling around in a rear footwell? You have to stop, lose your rhythm, find the offending object and a way of securing it, resume and then re-overtake all those cars that you overtook five minutes ago, the drivers of which might prove less willing to let you past for a second time.
Next, you must attend to the most important component of any drive: that which connects the primary controls of the pedals, gearlever and steering wheel. I’m talking about you. Clearly you shouldn’t be tired, hung over or anything other than clear-headed and well when you embark upon your drive. But you can also improve the quality of any drive just by thinking about it in advance and putting yourself in the right frame of mind.
And that is to be relaxed. If, after this extended lay-off, you head out intending to have the drive of your life, it will almost certainly be a miserable experience, because it will never live up to the unrealistic hope you have for it. Accept that the weather might not be ideal and that you might find traffic on your most-anticipated road.
If so, don’t get frustrated and go for a sketchy overtake. If you get unlucky on what is usually a quiet road, find a decent straight giving good vision behind your car, pull over and give yourself some space. Unless you’re driving like an idiot, let the car ahead go for even a few minutes and you will probably never catch it again and therefore have the road to yourself. But remember, too, that you have no destination. If your current route isn’t working, just find another. That’s the greatest luxury of just going for a drive.