Driving is the controlled operation and movement of a vehicle, including cars, motorcycles, trucks, and buses. Permission to drive on public highways is granted based on a set of conditions being met and drivers are required to follow the established road and traffic laws in the location they are driving. The word driving, has etymology dating back to the 15th century and has developed as what driving has encompassed has changed from working animals in the 15th to automobiles in the 1800s. Driving skills have also developed since the 15th century with physical, mental and safety skills being required to drive. This evolution of the skills required to drive have been accompanied by the introduction of driving laws which relate to not only the driver but the driveability of a car.
The term "driver" originated in the 15th century, referring to the occupation of driving working animals like pack or draft horses. It later applied to electric railway drivers in 1889 and motor-car drivers in 1896. The world's first long-distance road trip by automobile occurred in 1888 when Bertha Benz drove a Benz Patent-Motorwagen from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany. Driving requires both physical and mental skills, as well as an understanding of the rules of the road.
In many countries, drivers must pass practical and theoretical driving tests to obtain a driving license. Physical skills required for driving include proper hand placement, gear shifting, pedal operation, steering, braking, and operation of ancillary devices. Mental skills involve hazard awareness, decision-making, evasive maneuvering, and understanding vehicle dynamics. Distractions, altered states of consciousness, and certain medical conditions can impair a driver's mental skills.
Safety concerns in driving include poor road conditions, low visibility, texting while driving, speeding, impaired driving, sleep-deprived driving, and reckless driving. Laws regarding driving, driver licensing, and vehicle registration vary between jurisdictions. Most countries have laws against driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Some countries impose annual renewals or point systems for driver's licenses to maintain road safety.
The World Health Organization estimates that 1.35 million people are killed each year in road traffic; it is the leading cause of death for people age 5 to 29.
Downham Market, sometimes simply referred to as Downham, is a market town and civil parish in Norfolk, England. It lies on the edge of the Fens, on the River Great Ouse, approximately 11 miles south of King's Lynn, 39 miles west of Norwich and 30 miles north of Cambridge.
The civil parish has an area of 5.2 km² and in the 2011 census had a population of 9,994 in 4,637 households.
Fire Station in 2006, now a heritage centre
It was an agricultural centre, developing as a market for the produce of the Fens with a bridge across the Ouse. During the Middle Ages, it was famed for its butter market and also hosted a notable horse fair. The market is now held Fridays and Saturdays.
Notable buildings in the town include its mediaeval parish church, dedicated to St Edmund, and the Victorian clock tower, constructed in 1878. The town is also known as the place where Charles I hid after the Battle of Naseby. In 2004 the town completed a regeneration project on the Market Place, moving the market to the town hall car park. The decorative town sign depicts the crown and arrows of St Edmund with horses to show the importance of the horse fairs in the town's history.
A heritage centre, Discover Downham, opened in a former fire station in 2016. The town is twinned with Civray, Vienne, France.