Driven to Destruction?

Felix Thomson

Content Executive

The Financial Services Forum

You might have expected that, in this networked and connected world, business travel would be reducing. Not so – and with some pretty serious consequences, as Sarah Joyce reveals.
Peter is an aspiring thirty-something, a regional sales manager for one of Britain’s leading financial services companies. He regularly divides his time between his regional office in Bristol, the company head offices in London and Edinburgh, and the marketing team in Birmingham. He also has to visit intermediaries, other business contacts and company branches throughout the south-west of England, and attend frequent “networking” events.
Despite his normal hectic schedule, this week is different. It is quarter-end, which always means some late evenings finalizing the reports, and – on top of everything else – Peter’s boss has asked him to deliver a presentation at a prestigious annual industry conference in Harrogate. This is potentially a huge opportunity to showcase his talents in front of the industry top-brass – and his chief executive to boot. But it is also a tremendous additional pressure over and above his daily work schedule.
Late on Thursday evening, Peter slaves over the presentation with his usual fastidious attention to detail. He has decided to drive – he might have taken the train had the meeting been in London, but travelling by rail to Harrogate would have required three changes. Loath to be away from his young family overnight, he decides to leave his Shepton Mallet home at 5am on Friday morning for the 250-mile drive. This will get him there in plenty of time for the 10am start … road conditions permitting.
The conference goes well, and Peter’s 3pm presentation is a success. Elated, he stays late to chat with his chief executive, and so it is 5pm before Peter sets off home. It’s a dreadful journey – drizzling rain, slow Friday-evening traffic, and the motorway is packed. Then, it’s all over … dozing for a split second, Peter’s car crashes and he’s killed …

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