The UK's first motorway service station pub is now ready for business, with budget burger and booze trough Wetherspoons opening its Hope and Champion pub at junction two of the M40. A welcoming break in a familiar atmosphere, or a deadly temptation to make long trips whizz past quicker by getting hammered?
Of course, given that it's the year 2014 and the UK is now a nation of entirely responsible drinkers a bit like in Amsterdam and France, it won't be a problem, will it? Drivers will stick to juice or perhaps a caffeinated cola or two, and only passengers will enjoy a swift three pints of Stella and a couple of shots during the brief stopover.
But even if drivers can resist temptation and only passengers ram down a couple of pints during the ten minute stopover, surely being stuck with a drunken, rowdier cargo can only make the job harder for the driver? If there's a drunk in the back lurching forward to seize control of the radio and demanding more than his or her fair share of the crisps, that's an extra distraction?
And what if the driver attempts to stay within the legal limit and has just one pint or a half? Even one small drink has some effect on the brain, and it's a little concerning to think that men may be smashing along at 80mph in large lumps of metal while even the slightest bit, legally, tipsy.
Or will it be a case of one pint leading to another, then another, then another, then it's off the wrong way down the carriageway with the wife and kids?
It seems like a minefield best avoided altogether. But then Wetherspoons is a massive employer in the UK with this pub creating 120 new positions, and what better way for us to prove we're responsible adults by not getting drunk when the opportunity first presents itself? The pub's licensed to sell alcohol from 9:00am and is only closed between 1:00am and 4:00am, bringing airport-style potential drinking hours to the roads.
One thing's for sure, motorway cops will be out in full force around junction two of the M40 tonight and over the next few weeks and months, to see how seriously we take the challenge of driving and not drinking. [Metro]