Denting the company car doesn't, at present, come high on the list of corporate misdemeanours. Yet there are countless managers who, having been cut up rotten by sales personnel in souped-up Escorts or Golf GTIs, consider that a much more serious view should be taken of dangerous driving. Don Palmer and James Pritchard would heartily agree. Palmer and Pritchard run The Driving Business, an Oxford-based firm that specialises in turning corporate road-hogs into considerate road-users. It accomplishes this miracle via what it calls a 'driver attitude workshop', and claims to improve its clients' accident rate by a factor of two.
'People often talk of driving in metaphors of doing battle, as if driving were a set of armour-plated relationships,' says Palmer. 'Our aim is to stop people doing the incredibly selfish things they do in cars that they would never dream of doing elsewhere.' It will suprise no one that most of the labourers in their workshops are men, who have often been detailed off to attend by increasingly despairing employers. ('Women don't seem to have such an attitudinal problem.') Nevertheless, as Pritchard has to admit, 'It's often the people who push themselves hardest - those who are effectively most valuable to the company - who are the persistent offenders.' A simpler and cheaper solution might be to swap the high-achiever's racing machine for something a little less potent - a Skoda, perhaps, or a 2cv.