Chelsea Tractors

I’ve been trying to find the right way to blog my grievances about massive 4 x 4s in London.  It is one of my biggest issues on the road but like a lot of people, I do have some friends and family that have them. I will comment on them when I’m asked but otherwise I bite my tongue.  I appreciate everyone has their reasons for buying a car, but I really can’t see the point. 

The biggest argument from hurt friends is  that there is more room.  I don’t get that at all.  Leg room and boot space are exactly the same in an estate car.  There is slightly more head space, but I don’t know anyone that stacks their shopping on top of each other to the ceiling. Might be useful on a camping trip to France, but then you can’t see out the back window anyway and how often is that needed?

The thing Chelsea Tractors say to me is “Look what I can afford”, “I can see for Miles and you can’t” “You can’t get past me” “My child is more important than 10 of your children”.

You see, unfortunately 4 x 4’s are more dangerous to pedestrians because of their height.  A pedestrian (including children) are more likely to be killed if hit by a 4×4 than with a normal sized car.  You can read about it here .

As well as that, normal car users are unable to anticipate traffic with a 4 x 4 in front of them.  I rarely let a 4 x 4 driver out in front of me, because it will mean I can no longer see the line of cars ahead of me or anticipate traffic issues.  This results in me driving in a stop start manner and I hate using my brake if I don’t have to.  This is especially true on motorways where you shouldn’t have to use yoru brake except in extreme cases.  Easing off the accelerator, overtaking, moving back into the left lane is how we should be driving.

Anyway… griveances aside I did read this excellent post from Trying My Patients which reignited my desire to blog about it.  Definitely worth a read.

Chelsea Tractors

“5 year old male hit by car, injuries unknown”
3:30pm. The school run. My money is on a careless driver not watching where they are going and a little kid has paid the price for it. We got about 100 yards from the location given and it clear that it was a school. There was queue of cars obviously stopped because of the incident who were blocking our path to the patient. I’d say at least 50% of said cars were Chelsea Tractors. For those unaware of the term here are some Urban Dictionary ones:

1) Chelsea Tractor 

Any expensive 4×4 that is driven in an urban environment as a status symbol (typically for the school run) and will never be driven off-road.
2) Chelsea Tractor 
An off-road car that never goes off-road

3) Chelsea tractor Noun, a large 4 wheel drive vehicle, driven in cities for ordinary, day to day purposes. eg, Land Rover, BMX X5, etc..

Typically, they are driven by mums for the school run…….because everyone needs a Land Rover Defender to drive half a mile to school to pick up their 1 child. Nothing winds me up more. It’s bad enough that they have them, but they can’t even drive them! Here we are, blue lights and sirens and they all panic! When faced with an ambulance there are some options available. 
a) Pull over to the left allowing us to pass on the wrong side of the road.
b) Keep going and pull into one of the spaces or the bus stop.
c) Stop diagonally across the entire road preventing any traffic from moving in any direction.
Yes. You guessed it. c) was by far the most appealing option! Though some did try b) but the parking sensors clearly weren’t up to scratch. Why have a car you can’t drive?! Thanks to one particular owner of a BMW X5 we had to abandon the ambulance and walk with all of the kit we could carry. I glared at the owner and received:
“What do you fuckin’ expect me to do?”
Nice, in front of her child too. That kid will have a mouth like a toilet by the age of 7! It’ll probably have its its own petrol guzzler too! 
Eventually we got to our patient. Shock horror, he’d been hit by a 4 x 4. Luckily it was low-speed and he had no injuries. The car had reversed and I quote:
“It’s not my fault, the reversing alarm didn’t go off, they shouldn’t have been crossing behind me.”

About freefallinginto40

I am 40 years old. I blog about how I'm coping with my "new" age at . I'm a married mother to two after years of infertility. I have a 6 year old called Pickle and a 3 year old called The Monster. I work 4 days a week. We are also planning a move to the country! I blog about that at
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14 Responses to Chelsea Tractors

  1. Although I agree with some of what you say, I have a 4×4 in London. I also have 4 kids who are quite young and are in large carseats (by law) still. And we have a dog . Our car has a reversing camera so I can always see what is behind me. We bought it because we’re moving back to Australia and therefore will need it for off-roading and as European cars are so expensive over there we are going to ship it back with us. Unfortunately under English law, we must own it and use it for a year before we do that. So sometimes there are other reasons why people drive ‘Chelsea Tractors’ in London. Good post though, thought provoking x

  2. TheBoyandMe says:

    My friend is 5 foot tall and a size 6. Think Kylie Minogue proportions. She lives in the leafy outskirts of Reading. She has two children, no bikes, no pets, no pushchairs. She drives a Mercedes 4×4 because ‘it’s a good family car’. No love, a Megane (mine) is a good family car for two children, not something that is designed to drive over mountains. Especially when all she does is drive into the town centre to go shopping in Reiss.

  3. hitmanharris says:

    I used to cycle to work in Kingston upon Thames and I always had the biggest problems with Chelsea tractors. The problem always seemed to be that they didn’t know where the edge of their vehicle was and never left you enough space to be safe even if there was a cycle lane. They don’t seem to realise that by edging their enormous bumpers into traffic they cut off all the space I was riding in. I’m 6ft 1, drive a Renault Clio and see no reason to have a bigger car. Thankfully none of my friends drive these monstrosities but I never hesitate to tell people what I think of them.

  4. Grenglish says:

    Could not agree with you more! One of my biggest bug bears is the 4×4 brigade who insist on blocking the roads during school run hours so that I cannot even get out of my own road.

  5. Melksham Mum says:

    Well said on all points. I drive a diddly Hyundai i10 or Focus CMax. The latter to me is massive enough. When I am in the former I get treated like crap on the road as it is so little and people presume I am a little old granny on a WI run. It definitely seems to me to be the bigger the car the more important you should be on the roads. Arses. And don’t get me started on the chavved up Range Rovers *sighs* 😉

    • Oh I know. The Range Rover ad that had a major storm coming in and the owners of the RR going to buy some fancy cheese whilst everyone rushes home to batten down the hatches. Says it all really. 🙂

  6. omg that ambulance story is shocking!!

  7. Hello, I read the Chelsea Tractors post and I’ve just enjoyed reading your post – if enjoy is the right word to use given the subject. I’m totally with you on them, though I do occasionally harbour a desire to swagger about in a BMW X5, it isn’t something that will ever happen whilst I am living in London, because there just isn’t the need for 4x4s in London, in fact the need is for them to not be blocking the streets of London.

    • Sorry – just retrieved this from my spam folder. Yes, I would consider one if I was on a lonely little road somewhere in the country but they are quite ridiculous in London, especially as most can’t drive them!

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