Put nodding dogs out of their misery

Emissions: There are few things more disconcerting to a motorist than to be enjoying a snide nose-picking or underwear readjustment…

Emissions: There are few things more disconcerting to a motorist than to be enjoying a snide nose-picking or underwear readjustment whilst stuck in traffic, only to sense that you are being watched.

The horror subsides - albeit only slightly - when you realise that the dozens of eyes surveying your every move are not human, but those of the horde of stuffed toys festooning the rear window of the hatchback in front.

But still, animated or not, they are there.

Some glare accusingly, mocking you in their silence. Others are glazed over, blank and expressionless, like French football fans. Humiliated by this jury of trolls, muppets and Pokemons, and filled with revulsion for their master, your day is ruined.


This pathetic penchant for vehicular adornment is an (il)logical progression from the solo head-nodding shelf ornament of the 1970s. Oh, how we scoffed then at the macho Ford Capri driver and his catatonically-rocking bulldog, at our spinster aunt's Miss Piggy clinging with its rubber suckers to the inside of her battered Austin Princess.

But did we learn from those taste travesties?

No, for there is a new generation of drivers shamelessly parading their mobile boudoirs to the derision of an uncomprehending public.

Sexist though it may appear, it has to be said these deviant teddyphiles are invariably young women in lemon-yellow hatchbacks, cruising around the M50, playing Jennifer Lopez at full belt and fantasising about being locked in the Big Brother house with Cian from Westlife.

No male would risk it for fear of being dragged out his car at a red light and battered to within an inch of his life.

You may find this a tad harsh. Admittedly, it's possible an element of supercilious sneering has crept in, but there is a civic side to this lambasting.

For surely someone so psychologically stunted that they dress their car up like a pre-teenage girl's bedroom cannot have the emotional maturity required of someone in control of a tonne of mobile steel? And have you ever seen the aftermath of a driver being hit in the back of the head by a stuffed hippo travelling at 60 mph? Not for the faint-hearted.

Therefore, in the name of public and personal safety, this column proposes a mandatory question for all provisional licence applicants. To wit: "Did you ever (or is there even the remotest possibility that you are likely to) feel the urge to bedeck a motorised vehicle with the cuddly toy section of your local department store? Note: A 'Yes' answer means an automatic life-ban from holding a driving licence."

Now, don't you start sulking. It's for your own good. Put your crayons back in your furry pencil-case and run along now, you'll miss yer bus, there's a good kid.


Kilian Doyle

Kilian Doyle

Kilian Doyle is an Assistant News Editor at The Irish Times