When I was drinking I was always careful to stay under the drink-driving limit but there were times, I admit, when I wasn't careful enough, or when my calculations erred on the side of generous. Driving back from friends' houses in the car late at night, if I saw a police car in the rear-view mirror my heart would stop. I'd be terrified of being pulled over for any reason - like speeding, or having a faulty light - because I'd know that if they smelled any alcohol I'd be breathalised and, for all my careful calculations, I just know that sometimes I'd have been over the limit.
Tonight, on a long trip home from a concert at 2am, a police van pulled in behind me. It followed me into the road that peters out into a track going into woodland and I told myself that maybe someone had reported a disturbance in the woods. I turn left before the woods - so did the van. I turned left again - so did the van. I turned into my road, which is a cul-de-sac. The road goes nowhere. You get to the end and you have to turn around to get out again. I turned into my driveway, and the police van pulled up outside my house.
My heart didn't stop. It didn't pound. I was a bit concerned but I wasn't terrified. I got out and asked the officer if everything was OK and he said, 'Your brake light is out. We were called to a shout in your road and I said to my colleague, that poor woman must be really worried with us behind her!'
This poor woman smiled and apologised about the brake light, and the officer said with a smile, 'Oh, don't worry about it, just get it fixed asap - you don't want to get pulled over by the police, it's a £30 fine!'
He could have fined me, but he didn't. If this had happened 3 months ago he'd have smelled alcohol on me and he would have breathalised me and fined me for the brake light. I may or may not have been over the limit. I may or may not have lost my licence.
Thank God my nightmare about being pulled over by the police ended the way it did.
Thank God I've seen sense about my drinking and stopped.