For reasons too dull to explain, I have been of late driving a Nissan Pathfinder. It's another loaner. All I can say is if I had the choice, I'd rather be driving around in a Russian Lada Niva than this hunk of plastic on wheels. Firstly, the genius who designed it thought it would be a really great idea to put the speedometer in the middle of the dashboard. I don't need to explain how dangerous it is to be having your eyes off the road for any time more than absolutely necessary, but after driving it around for a good two months I am still looking for the speedo in it's regular position and having a DOH! moment when I find it's not there. Secondly the front side panels are made of plastic. I discovered this as I was leaning up against it one day and the whole front panel caved in under my weight. Suffice to say there's not a lot of metal between me and an errant semi-trailer...making the airbags somewhat redunant don't you think? Anyways the reason for my little spit about this particular vehicle is that yesterday I nearly rear-ended a car outside my house in it. Hail was forecast for Brisbane and I had to move the damned thing off the road. My street is on a gentle incline and I was facing downhill. A Corolla had earlier squeezed into a space right in front of me and reversed within a bee's dick of my front bumper. Unbeknownst to me, the Pathfinder has a dodgy handbrake. You'd think I would have discovered this before now but I tend to ride the clutch a lot and only use it if parking on a steep hill, of which I haven't had to do as yet. As I was putting the car into reverse and employing the hand brake I realized that I couldn't release the foot brake in order to get the revs up because the hand brake wasn't holding! I was sickenly close to the rear bumper of the Corolla in front of me when I realized I had to take desperate measures. Picture this: left foot riding clutch at point of gear engaging, right foot on brake pedal, head under the dashboard and left hand desperately reaching down to the accelerator to get the revs up and find the balance point so I could get the damned thing moving without risking it rolling forward. Anyone observing this fiasco would have found a car revving unecessarily high then reversing with no sign of the driver in the front seat all the while being accompanied by my special brand of expletives. I made it under the car port with no damage to either party. Then it didn't hail. Fuck this shit. So cheer me up with your near-miss stories if you please!