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In the last 12 years, more than 62,000 people have died or been seriously hurt in a road traffic accident, with over 500,000 injured in work-related road crashes. Employees required to drive for their jobs are becoming an increasingly vulnerable sector. But while these may be worrying figures, advanced driving courses can significantly reduce the risk faced by all road users, especially those driving for work. 

Work-related crashes cost employers £2.7 billion

Not just devasting for everyone involved, road accidents have considerable reputational, financial, and legal implications for employers. Whether it involves company cars, commercial vehicles, or staff driving their own cars for work-related appointments. Business-related road crashes cost employers over £2.7 billion each year.

Employer responsibility

If you are an employer, the law requires you to consider the health and safety competencies of your employees when you task them with a job. You are obliged to ensure that they are adequately trained before being exposed to any workplace risks. And remember, for professional drivers, their workplace is the road.

Driver mistakes cause 95% of collisions 

Mistakes by drivers cause 95% of accidents on the road, figures from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) reveal. For employees, improving your driving skills is the best way for you to reduce your own risk of being hurt and also the risk for other road users. 

Reduce your risk when driving for work

Regardless of how long you have held your driving license, you are likely to have forgotten some of what you were taught and go on to develop your own bad habits. But that is why further training is so important in helping you become a better, more prepared and vigilant driver who can spot signs of danger and able to take better control of the car.

Advanced drivers 25% less likely to crash

When a driver becomes an advanced driver they become 25 percent less likely to be involved in a road accident, says RoSPA. Advanced drivers are more observant and better at anticipating changes. These improved driving skills and road knowledge will also save you money on the costs of running and protecting your work vehicle.

Regain skills many drivers forget

An advanced driving course will show you how to drive with confidence and in a safe way on all types of roads. The course will include reading the road ahead, vehicle positioning, dealing with different weather conditions and economic driving. All skills that many drivers gradually lose or forget.

Improve your driving skills for business and home

The advanced skills will make a much safer and more efficient driver. These improved skills will not just benefit your employer’s business, it will have also have a positive impact on your own personal driving skills outside of work. 

The road can be a dangerous place for any road user. For people who drive for work, however, the risks of being involved in a road traffic accident is far greater. But by improving your driver knowledge, skills and confidence on the road you can help to protect your own safety and those of other road users.

 

Kindly written and supplied by Jennifer Dawson

 

 How to Feel Safer on the Road and Protect Yourself from Aggressive Driver

Kindly written and supplied by Lisa, a freelance writer and enjoys writing about subjects such as road safety, women in sport and travel, and when isn’t writing can be found relaxing with a good book.
 
 

It’s an obvious fact that driving is one of the most stressful activities. Even the best drivers have found themselves cursing under their breath or yelling at one another when running late for work, stuck in a bad traffic, or just having a bad day. While feeling irritated and stressed is quite normal, a problem may arise when these feelings escalate into aggressive driving or road rage.

According to a recent study, aggressive driving contributes to over 66% of road fatalities every year. More so, 50% of drivers usually respond to aggressive driving in kind. So how can you feel safe on the road and protect yourself from aggressive drivers? Here are some of the ways.

1. Remain calm
Even if the other driver is behaving aggressively or angrily, it’s very important to remain courteous and calm. If another driver behaves aggressively by tailgating or cutting you off, your reaction to his behavior will definitely determine what takes place next. You need to try as much as possible to avoid any conflict. If he tries to engage you in an argument just ignore and drive off.

2. Reduce your stress and don’t take it personally
When driving along the highway you need to listen to soothing music. Make sure you are sitting in a good position and you are comfortable. Most importantly, you need to understand that the traffic is beyond your control hence you can only react to it. In the end,
you may realize that anger, personal frustration, and impatience are some of the worst things while driving.

3. Avoid making eye contact or using inflammatory gestures
Even if you don’t intend to challenge them, an eye contact can be perceived differently. Since many aggressive drivers are often driven by frustrations and personal insecurities, they can easily be angered by something as simple as an eye contact. Although it can be tempting to honk or make inflammatory gestures, doing so can inflame the other driver. Instead of releasing your anger and frustration this way, wait until you are through before sharing your situation with a friend or a family member.

4. Be a courteous driver
As a driver, there are some examples that you set that can really encourage other drivers. It’s, therefore, very important to control yourself and behave responsibly. Even most
car insurance groups encourage drivers to be courteous.

5. Talk to others
The best way to relieve yourself is to share recent road rage with your friends and family members or even community members. By doing this, you will better understand the situation and know how to protect yourself in future.

6. Report aggressive drivers
There are some countries and states that have contacts that you can use to report drivers. You just need to keep the number of the vehicle. Next, make a call and give out a full description of the vehicle. This could help you prevent any future strategy.

Although you may not have the capacity to avoid all aggressive driving situations, if you keep your head up and master these tips, you will have the best chance of greatly reducing any possible encounters. By doing this, you will also set the best example for young drivers who are always looking up to you. Remember, car insurance groups rarely compensate any accident caused by careless driving.

 

 Key Reasons Why Hiring A Driving School Is A Great Step

 

Ever since you were young, you wanted to learn how to drive. Most of your family members know how and you think that it’s just right that you should be capable of driving, too. You also don’t like your dad or any family members to be driving you around every time you need to go somewhere. Aside from this can be a hassle for others, you also wouldn’t want your friends to see you having your parent every time you go somewhere. It’s because of these reasons that you decided to hire yourself a driving school – you want to learn how to drive so you can freely go wherever you want, without another person’s supervision.

Well, first off, congratulations for taking this big step.You’re now ready to become a more independent individual by driving alone. But aside from the obvious reason why you hired a driving school in the first place, you should know that driving school is a great step for you because:

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1.      You’re learning more efficiently: When you’ll have a family member teach you how to drive, you tend to become too complacent (admit it). You’re practically being taught by someone close to you so most of the time, you think that it’s okay for the lessons to last for more than three hours a day and it’s okay to goof around while you’re practicing how to drive.

 

       However, this kind of scenario wouldn’t happen once you hire a driving school. Because you’re being taught by a professional instructor, you’ll tend to become more prim and proper during lessons.

       And since these instructors are catering to many students like you, so you’ll be more cautious of the time spent. You’ll be learning at a quicker pace, without disrupting your other schedules.

 

2.      You’ll experience increased learning: The people handling you during your driving lessons are professionals, they are the best persons to ask whenever you have questions about how driving fines work and all other things related to driving.

 

       They’ll teach you everything you need to know when driving and they wouldn’t move on to a new lesson if you weren’t able to fully grasp the previous lessons. Sure, your friends or family members might know all of these things, but for sure, there are limitations to what they can teach you. You wouldn’t want to be driving around having insufficient knowledge about street signs 101, right?

 

3.      You’ll be more confident: Since you’re learning from the experts, you’ll be more confident in driving. You’ll be able to know the best decisions to take whenever you’re faced with problems pertaining to your driving.

 

       For example, imagine yourself being involved in a car accident and the other party is suing you for damages on his vehicle.

       If you know that the other party was at fault as he was not able to follow street signs, you’ll be more confident (and knowledgeable) in telling your side of the story so you’ll not end up paying for damages you didn’t do. But if you were not taught with this kind of information, will you be able to stand your ground confidently? Most probably not. 

 

4.      You’ll avoid memory loss: There are a lot of things taught to you throughout the entire duration of your driving lessons. And you need to retain all of this information because if not, all of your effort and time spent will be wasted.

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       Your memory will improve once you start driving school because even if you’re guided by a professional, you’re expected to retain all of the information fed to you. Your safety is at risk whenever you’re behind the wheel so your memory will be crucial in this process.

 

5.      You’ll have more focus: You’ll be hiring a driving school for a limited time only. Once you understand that you’re only taking driving lessons within a certain timeframe, you’ll be more focused on what you’re doing and you don’t want your focus to be disturbed.

 

       You would want to understand everything that has been taught to you because you don’t have the luxury of time. You, as a student, will also be provided with appropriate structures and modules so your focus during the driving lessons are at a 100%.

 

Now that you’ve read everything presented in this article, you’re probably very excited to start your driving lessons right away! As you can see, hiring a driving school can not only teach you how to drive, but it can bring a lot of benefits to your life in the long run. Once you completed your driving school lessons, you’ll be surprised to know more than just about driving! We hope this article from Street Wise Driving was fun to read.

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Kindly supplied by John Turner - Australia

John is a driving instructor and has been teaching people how to drive for the last 20 years. When he’s not training people to drive, he’s working hard writing about is passion for Street Wise Driving. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his family. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If only drivers received proper training and road safety education, vehicular accidents would significantly reduce. Well-trained drivers can make the road safe for everyone. Aside from that, they also make a good value for businesses and organizations alike. Having up-to-date knowledge on road safety can help prevent the dangers of the road and save the business from damages and liabilities.

 

 

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While you can’t stop a vehicular accident from happening, driving training can make them less likely to happen. This is one of the main reasons why you want to enroll in a driving training program. In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of driving training and why everyone should do it.

 

  1. Well-trained drivers make accidents less likely.

Driving training helps reduce the overall risk in a lot of ways. Drivers are taught the best driving practices while on the road and eliminate bad driving habits. The training will work to identify the bad behaviors of a driver while on the road, and then introduce him/her to proper driving practices.

 

●       Drivers can encounter anything while on the road including irresponsible drivers, faulty vehicle, poor weather conditions, heavy traffic, etc.; they are always at risk. With driving training, however, drivers are made aware of the factors and risks to help them become prepared and react accordingly.

●       Driving training also helps eliminate bad driving behaviors such as drunk driving, using mobile devices, lack of sleep, etc.

●       A well-rounded driving training also gives drivers tips on how to be comfortable while on the road. This will include tips and recommendations that will help reduce fatigue while driving and teach you the importance of looking after your health while on the road.

 

  1. Driving training also improves fleet integrity.

If your business is founded on fleet management, it helps to have well-trained drivers who can operate your vehicles safely on the road. It helps to keep your vehicles in prime condition before they hit the road. With driving training, drivers are taught how to maintain vehicles properly and make sure that they can prevent accidents from happening on the road.

 

●       Well-trained drivers are trained to prevent any road accident from happening such as fender-benders, rear-end collisions, rollovers, etc. People who went through driver training will learn how to handle high-risk driving situations to prevent an accident from happening.

●       Driver training also leads to savings. Businesses, especially, will be able to save a lot on vehicle repairs or replacements. It also helps reduce insurance costs.

●       Business will have fewer headaches to deal with since they know their fleet is in good hand thanks to their well-trained drivers.

 

Well-trained drivers strive hard to avoid accidents as much as possible. As drivers make their best efforts to avoid accidents, they will become a valuable asset to the business. It will help improve the fleet’s reputation and instill a sense of pride in the company.

 

  1. Driving training proves that your business is compliant with road safety protocols.

Businesses are required to take the necessary actions to protect their employees and minimize the risk of accidents. Driving training is one of the most important training they should provide to their workers. It also helps businesses to be fully compliant with the law.

 

●       Since vehicles are already considered as a place of work, and the law requires businesses to give proper training to all their fleet drivers. The training will encourage drivers to abide by the traffic laws at any cost.

●       The training will also help drivers to develop a habit of being more prudent and cautious while on the road to reduce risks great liability.

 

  1. Driving training teaches important skills.

There is more to driving than simply learning how to make a vehicle go forward. When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, there are a lot of elements and factors that you should take into account before you can actually drive the car on the road. Driving training will help you understand all these important elements and factors to ensure your safety when on the road. The training will cover proper driving skills and knowledge so you won’t be at risk.

 

Driving training is necessary for everyone. Any new driver is advised to invest in proper driving training, especially if you’re making a career out of it. Nowadays, most people learn to drive because

 

With driving training, you can expect to learn important driving lessons such as:

 

●       Traffic laws.

●       Turning or changing lanes.

●       Duties and responsibilities of a driver.

●       Rights of the pedestrians.

●       Proper parking.

●       Driving on freeways and highways.

 their friends or family just taught them. Being taught by your friends or family is not bad, but the knowledge they can teach you is at the minimum only. Driving training programs will enrich a driver with the proper driving skills and knowledge so they can acquire a license and continue driving safely on the road.

 

Go Training offers a range of driving training programs for your business fleet. They can educate drivers on their duties and responsibilities in operating a vehicle safely and encourage them to make good decisions when they’re behind the wheel.

Jim Stevenson

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Jim Stevenson has worked in training business staff across 20 years. He’s proud to help business clients push their business further by providing ongoing training and assessment of companies across a broad range of industries. He works for Go Training and has a loving wife and two sons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Things to Remember Legally When Involved in a Car Accident

Disclaimer: The information presented below serves only as a general guide on what you should do when involved in a car accident and mustn’t replace more reliable legal advice. To know more about what legal action you can take in the event that a car accident might happen to you, seeking the services of a licensed attorney is highly recommended.

As much as you might be exercising caution when you’re driving to the point that it comes second nature to you, not all drivers have the same defensive driving mindset as you do. So there’s no telling when you’ll come across another driver who’s less cautious than you are and can collide with your vehicle anytime. Therefore, you would want to read on and start noting some of the key things for you to remember legally in case a car accident happens to you.

What Are Some of the Key Things to Remember When Involved in a Car Accident?

The first reaction that you might have after another crashed into yours is one of shock that can linger for a long time depending on the severity of the car accident itself. However, you’d want to calm yourself down instead and take some comfort in the fact that you can do the following things legally in light of the car accident that happened to you:

  1. Let the other driver’s insurance provider know that you’ll be submitting a personal injury claim to them.

Your medical expenses and lost wages after becoming involved in a car accident can cost you a considerable amount of money. Thus, you’d want to seek compensation for damages that the incident itself had inflicted on your health and finances.

 

       You would have to inform the insurance provider of the other driver involved in the car accident that you’ll be filing a personal injury claim.

       The other driver’s insurance provider would then conduct their own investigation surrounding the car accident that both you and their client got involved in so that they can assess the validity of your claim.

       An initial settlement offer would then be proposed to you by the other driver’s insurance provider once they accept your claim.

 

  1. Consider an out of court settlement between you and the other driver’s insurance provider.

While you’d be forgiven for initially thinking of filing a lawsuit against the other driver involved in the car accident, court proceedings of civil cases such as yours usually take up a lot of time and money that could’ve been better used for your recovery back to full health instead.

       Most car accident cases are usually settled out of court either through mediation or arbitration so that you and the other driver involved won’t have to show up in court, especially as it might get in the way of both of you making a living.

       However, an out of court settlement can only happen if the other driver’s insurance provider would agree as well to it. If they don’t, you would have to skip the rest of this item and move on to the next one instead.

       If you haven’t sought the counsel of an attorney yet, you would want to do so in the event of an out of court settlement so that they can guide you as to whether you should accept the initial amount being offered to you by the other driver’s insurance provider or ask for it to be raised a bit higher to cover your damages.

 

  1. In case you’re still insufficiently compensated despite settling out of court, you can take the other driver to court.

As the final amount decided upon during an out of court settlement either through mediation or arbitration might still not be enough to serve as compensation for the damages that you sustained after being involved in a car accident, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver to make them pay your damages in full.

 

       Filing a lawsuit against the other driver is time-constrained though, so you should check your state’s statute of limitations and make sure to lodge a complaint within the allowed time period.

       You might have to prepare to defend yourself as well in case the other driver or their insurance provider would file a counterclaim against you.

       You would want to avoid taking your car accident case to court as much as possible, though should the need arise, filing a lawsuit must only be used as a last resort measure.

Car accidents are avoidable as long as anyone behind the wheel knows how to drive safely. Still, it isn’t safe to assume that all drivers would exercise caution while operating their vehicles. For every defensive driver, there are at least a couple of negligent drivers out there, one of which can crash into your vehicle when you least expect it.

For that reason alone, you’d want to remember the above-listed things that you’re legally allowed to do in case you become involved in a car accident. And to further discuss any legal technicalities that might arise after being on the receiving end of a car accident, you should consult a lawyer with a strong background on car accident cases who can represent you if ever you or the other driver involved would have to show up and settle your differences either out of or in court.

 

Benjamin Washington

 

Benjamin Washington is a promising young law writer currently writing for Stewart Guss. He hopes to apply his years of study into helping explain legal issues to the public. Benjamin loves cooking and often cooks for his family during weekends.

Posted by on in Uncategorized

Smart Motorway Map Of The UK

As the number of smart motorways grow across the country, it’s important to know how to identify them and how to use them effectively. Therefore we’ve collected together all the important information you need to know – where you can find them, how to use them and what different types of smart motorways there are.

Jump To Our Smart Motorway Map

Smart Motorway Stats and Facts

  • Smart motorway cameras catch around 1000 drivers speeding a week
  • There are 236 miles+ worth of smart motorways in England
  • 200 miles worth of smart motorways are currently planned or under construction
  • Motorway traffic is predicted to increase by up to 60% from 2010 by 2040
  • £1.5 billion has been invested into new smart motorways

What Are Smart Motorways?

Smart motorways make use of real time traffic management techniques to reduce congestion and help traffic move more freely, with techniques including variable speed limits and ‘all lane running’ schemes.

Regional traffic control centres monitor traffic closely to consistently update and amend speed limits and signs on smart motorways, informing users of any upcoming congestion or hazards. This method of reducing congestion means that there is no need for motorways to be widened with extra lanes added.

Smart motorway traffic management was developed by Highways England (previously Highways Agency) to reduce costs, improve journey times and minimise our impact on the environment.

Different Types of Smart Motorways

Controlled

smart motorway variable speed limit

This type of smart motorway has mandatory speed limits with a hard shoulder available for emergencies only.

Hard Shoulder Running

The hard shoulder can be opened during busy, peak times on the motorway when needed, reducing congestion.

All Lanes Running

This type of smart motorway opens all lanes for traffic to use including a former hard shoulder and makes use of variable speed limits.

How To Use Smart Motorways

Speed Limits

Stick to the speed limits indicated, these have been displayed to prevent stop-start traffic from occurring and you could land yourself a fine if you ignore them. If no signs are displayed the national speed limit will apply.

Red Xs

A red X signals that a lane is closed and you must not drive in it. This could be due to a broken down vehicle, a person, an animal or debris in the road. It can also indicate that a hard shoulder is currently closed, so avoid a penalty by obeying the red cross.

Hard Shoulders

Hard shoulders are identifiable by a solid white line separating them from other motorway lanes. On some smart motorways you can use these if there is a speed limit above the lane; if there is no sign or a red cross in the lane this means you should treat it as a regular hard shoulder, leaving it free and not using it unless there is an emergency.

What happens if I break down or have an accident?

With all lane running and hard shoulder running motorways you will notice intermittent refuge areas for use in emergencies. If your vehicle is unfortunate enough to experience a breakdown or get into an accident you should first switch on your hazard lights then make your way to the nearest emergency refuge area. The furthest these are separated by is 1.5 miles and are identifiable by blue signs with orange SOS telephone symbols.

If this is not possible, try to get to the nearest verge if it is safe to do so and exit via the left hand door, waiting behind the safety barriers. If you cannot get to the inside lane, stay inside your vehicle with your seatbelt on and if you are in a dangerous situation unable to leave your car safely phone 999. The traffic control centre will then be able to use their smart roadside technology to manoeuvre traffic around you safely.

What are Hadecs 3 cameras?

The HADECS 3 speed cameras are being used on smart motorways throughout the country. Smaller and less recognisable than usual speed cameras, they are painted grey, are small and don’t rely on film to capture those speeding. They take three snapshots when triggered that are sent to enforcement staff.

Where Are Smart Motorways In The UK? Check Out Our Smart Motorway Map

”Smart”Smart

Smart Motorways in London

All lanes running 
M3 J2-4a
M25 J5-6/7
M25 J23-27

Controlled
M1 J6a-10
M26 J16-23
M25 J10-16
M25 J18-10
M25 J7-8
M20 J4-7
M25 J2-3
M25 J27-30

Hard Shoulder running 
M1 J10-13

Smart Motorways in Birmingham

All Lanes Running
M6 J10a-13

Controlled
M42 J3a-M40 J16

Hard shoulder running
M6 J8-10a
M6 J5-8
M42 J3a-7 (pilot)
M42 J7-9
M6 J4-5

 

Smart Motorways in Manchester

All Lanes Running
M62 J18-20

Controlled
M60 J8-18

Smart Motorways in Bristol

Hard shoulder running
M4 J19-20
M5 J15-17

 

Smart Motorways in the North

All lanes running

M1 J28-31
M1 J32-35a
M1 J39-42

Controlled

M1 J25-28

Hard Shoulder Running

M62 J25-30

 smart motorway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by on in Uncategorized

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Image source: Unsplash

Road Trip Tips


It’s road trip time! Whether you’re going with your family as a chance to get more driving practice as a learner or venturing independently with just a bunch of mates to keep you company now that you’ve passed your test, there’s something incredibly exciting about heading off on a long journey!

So if you’re planning to visit far-flung family over Christmas, driving from coast to coast, or even just have a long car journey ahead of you for less interesting reasons, follow these top tips for an awesome trip!

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Image source: Unsplash

1 – Pre-trip checks

It goes without saying to give the car a quick check before setting off on a long journey, but in the last-minute rush to cram everything into the boot and fuel up, it’s easy to forget!

If you’ll be going on a really long trip or driving abroad it might be worth taking the car to your local garage for a proper once-over, but there are plenty of useful checks you can do yourself. A lot of them are even part of “Show me, tell me” section of your driving test!

Make sure you take a look at:

·         Brakes and power steering

·         Oil, engine coolant, brake fluid and screen wash levels (including antifreeze in winter!)

·         Headlights and tail lights, indicators, break lights, wipers

·         Tyre pressure and tread depth (when tyres are cold). If you have a spare tyre, remember to check it too!

·         Any warning lights on the dashboard

 

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Image source: Unsplash

2 – Pack


There are a number of things that are always useful to have in the car, especially on longer trips:

·         A hi-vis vest, warning triangle, first aid kit, your insurance details and membership details if you belong to a roadside recovery service

·         A phone charging cable or portable battery (depending on how modern your car is, for the cigarette lighter plug or for your stereo system’s USB port)

·         Bottled water (to drink and for your car radiator in emergencies until you can get to a garage. Make sure it’s not tap water though, because the minerals could damage your engine, and try to mix it with coolant/antifreeze if you do have to do this. It’s a good idea to inform yourself about your car’s specific requirements before you set off in case you can’t get any phone signal to Google it!)

·         A physical atlas/map, in case your GPS runs out of battery or has no signal

·         Spare oil/coolant/screen wash etc.

·         Small change for parking meters (or tolls depending on where you’re driving)


If you’re travelling in winter there are a few extra things to consider:

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 Image source: Pexels

·         Blanket/s, pillows etc. if you get stranded somewhere (also useful for tired passengers!). Foil emergency blankets are also good, not to mention compact!

·         Antifreeze

·         An ice scraper

·         A torch

·         Some non-perishable food (see next tip!)

·          

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Image source: Pexels

3 –  Snacks

It’s technically not illegal to eat and drink while driving in the UK, but be aware that you can still get a fine if it causes you to drive ‘carelessly’ and you aren’t in full control of the vehicle as a result.

That being said, it’s always a good idea to take snacks on a road trip! Good road trip snacks are easy to eat and pass around, for example cereal bars, crackers/oatcakes and fruit.

For the car’s sake it might be worth considering non-crumbly foods, but if crisps are your fuel of choice you can always vacuum when you get back. Let’s face it, by the end of a long drive there will always be rogue crumbs, wrappers and assorted other rubbish like stray coffee cups floating around, so what’s an extra smooshed crisp or two in the grand scheme of things!

As far as drinks are concerned, keep in mind that energy drinks and coffee may mean you’ll need to make more bathroom stops than you would otherwise!

 


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Image source: Pexels

4 –  Route

Planning your route in advance is a no-brainer. But even if you plan to rely on your trusty smartphone or Satnav, make sure you bring backup because technology can let you down at the most inconvenient times –  and you don’t want that to happen when you’re lost in the dark in the middle of nowhere!

It’s also a good idea to designate a navigator who’s in charge of keeping track of where you are and setting up the Satnav, especially if you’re driving somewhere unfamiliar. That leaves you free to concentrate on the road and the other cars rather than where you’re going

Print off your route from Google Maps or your map of choice, bring an atlas and download the areas you need on your smartphone navigation app so that you can use it in offline mode. Sometimes that means that you can still find out exactly where you are if your GPS is working but you can’t get phone signal.

Bonus hack: you can mount your phone on your dashboard without a special holder – just be sure to check this before you drive off to make sure it’s secure. The UK law is very strict on phone use while driving, and even if you’re using your phone to navigate it must be set to hands-free and you can’t touch it while you’re behind the wheel.

 

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Image source: Wordpress.com

5 –  Entertainment

You’ll definitely want to bring some entertainment for a long drive. Instead of relying on the radio, set up a playlist before you go, or even go old-school and make a mixtape/CD! That means you get to listen to songs you actually want to hear rather than the fifteen top chart songs on a loop, because even if you don’t mind those, they’ll get old pretty fast. Some people like listening to audio books on trips, though be aware that they might distract you a bit.

If you’re on an easy stretch of the drive, channel your inner kid and play some road trip games –  just try to avoid “I spy” if you’re currently in the driver’s seat! There are also plenty of fun grown-up road trip games you can try!

 

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Image source: Pexels

6 – Breaks and Exercise

Another no-brainer really, but if you’re trying to get somewhere on schedule it can be easy to neglect this one. Tiredness causes almost 20% of accidents on major roads, so make sure you do take plenty of breaks –  the Department for Transport recommends stopping for at least fifteen minutes every two hours.

Also remember to check the labels of any medications you’re taking (e.g. antihistamines or cough syrups) in case they cause drowsiness.

Anyone who’s done long trips before knows that you also get pretty stiff from sitting so long, and especially stop-and-start traffic can cause your muscles to ache from using the clutch so much. Try some stretches and exercises when you stop for a rest – your body will thank you!

 

Hopefully these tips will make your road trip even better! Safe travels!

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Image source: Pexels

 

 Blog Kindly produced by Spend It Like Beckham at www.silb.co.uk

This article has been kindly donated by Chris Smith http://silb.co.uk/ , hopefully Chris will be a monthy guest Blogger.

 

Are You Aware Of Recent UK Law Changes As A Driver?

As a current learner driver you will no doubt be up to speed on all the rules of the road, thanks to your instructor and all of that theory test studying you’ve been doing. But what about your relatives and friends who perhaps sat their test a little less recently, or some of those rules that may not be as relevant to the Highway Code but which might still affect you once you’re out on the roads by yourself?

Check out and share these five recent changes to help everyone stay up-to-date!

 

1)      Speeding Fines Based On Your Means

Make sure you aren’t among the 80% of drivers unaware of the new speeding fines implemented earlier in the year. These are now calculated based on your weekly earnings (or benefits if you are unemployed), and may be up to 150% depending on the severity of the offence:

Band A: 50% of your weekly pay and 3 penalty points
Band B:  4-6 penalty points or a 7-28 day driving ban and 100% of your weekly pay
Band C: 6 penalty points or a 7-56 day driving ban and 150% of your weekly pay

Remember that new drivers in particular risk losing their licence if they build up six points within the first two years of having passed their test, so although there is a 10% margin of error, do you really want to chance having to re-sit your test for those five minutes of adrenaline?

A Note About European Speeding Fines

Gone are the days of being able to escape a speeding ticket from your holiday on the continent by simply returning home to the UK and quietly forgetting about it. Also gone are the days where motorists from other countries can do the same in the UK…  As a result of a new EU information sharing directive, drivers will now be penalised for their driving offences in the exact same way that a resident of the country they committed them in would be. That means whether you were driving in your own car or a rental car, and stopped in person or caught on camera, your ticket will be delivered to your letterbox when you get home. Don’t let those two weeks in the sun come back to haunt by ensuring you’re aware of the speed limits and driving practices in the countries you visit!

 

2)      Car Tax Now Based On Value AND CO2 Emissions

Since April 2017, cars are not only taxed on their CO2 emissions, but also according to their cost – there are fixed annual bands for petrol/diesel cars (£140) and for hybrid cars (£130), but if your vehicle cost more than £40,000, a “premium supplement” of £310 per year applies for five years.  This includes electric cars, which were previously tax free, but doesn’t affect second hand cars registered before 1st April 2017.

If you’re ready to invest in your own set of wheels in the near future, keep this and the following update in mind.

 

3)      “Toxin Tax” for Diesel Vehicles

Thanks to an order from the European Commission, owners of diesel vehicles may be in for a shock after having enjoyed years of incentives to buy them for the sake of their lower CO2 emissions.

Due to heavy levels of Nitrogen Dioxide air pollution in some UK cities, the number one source of which is diesel vehicles, a daily fee similar to the London emission charges will be introduced in 2019. This is likely to involve  charges of £20 for drivers of diesel vehicles to enter certain high pollution areas, with potential bans during extremely busy times in the worst affected areas.

Currently around 39% of vehicles run on diesel in the UK, so the new charges may significantly reduce their value and increase owners’ costs. If you already own a diesel car or were considering buying one soon this is something to keep in mind, especially if you live near one of the pollution zones.

 

4)      Stricter Phone Laws

Did you know that your reaction time when using a phone while driving is worse than if you had been drinking, quadrupling your chances of being in a crash?

Despite the scary statistics, the temptation still seems to be too much for many drivers.

This year the law has been changed to reflect this, with severe consequences in place to discourage offenders.  The price for those who have recently passed their test is especially high – while the £200 fine would be unpleasant, the accompanying 6 penalty points would mean that your licence would be revoked completely if you have passed within the last two years.

Unless you need to call the emergency services in a situation where it is unsafe for you to stop, it is illegal to use your phone unless safely parked, including:

·         Using the sat-nav function without a hands-free setup

·         At traffic lights and in queues (including fast food drive-thrus – be wary if you are a user of Android or Apple Pay!)

·         Even when you are not in the driving seat when supervising a learner

 

5)      New Booster Seat Rules

As the driver, it is your responsibility to make sure any children in the car are using the appropriate seat, so it’s important to be aware of the rules even if you’re only giving your niece a lift to her swimming club five minutes down the road.

Previously children as young as three could use booster seats rather than the more secure 5-point harness systems, but changes to the rules mean that new booster seats can only be used once the child is 125cm (4’1.6”) or taller and 22kg (3st 6.5lbs) or heavier, or over the age of 12. Existing booster seats that comply with the old regulations can still be used, provided the child meets the minimum requirements stated for these (generally weighing above 15kg/2st 5lbs).

 

Now you’re informed about the changes to driving laws in 2017, here are some more helpful resources to find out more and make sure you don’t get caught out:

Stay informed about speed limits in the UK and in other countries you might be visiting.

Find out more about the new car tax bands.

Learn which UK cities with high pollution areas may be affected by the “Toxin Tax” for diesel vehicles.

Take the THINK! Driving challenge to see for yourself how easily you can get distracted by a phone in the car.

Ensure you know your legal obligations as a driver.

Find out how to fit a child car seat correctly.               

 

Test your knowledge of common driving misconceptions.

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This article has been kindly written by Bert Symons, who was a Bus/Coach Driving Instructor for Plymouth Citybus. We hope you find this interesting.

A day in the life of a Bus Driver

 

What is a Bus Driver?

·           To a passenger he / she is a professional driver who takes them from A to B safely.  He/she is also a social worker listening to the tales of woe and the highlights of peoples lives.  He/she is the school child chaperon, the driver who takes folks to a night out and then brings them back and they throw up all over him/her.  He/she is also the information point for all manner of enquiries, some quite unsavoury ones too.  The passenger assumes the Bus Driver to be the consummate Professional.   Little do they know the driver may have only had the Bus Licence for about two or three weeks in some cases, but none the less we trust their judgement.

·           To another Professional Driver the bus or coach driver is someone who shares the same road traffic problems and trusts them to help in sorting a traffic problem in tight circumstances

·           To the everyday motorist….the bus driver is seen as a necessary evil and a problem that has to be dealt with, often in a not too nice way.  This is not so of all motorists; there are goodly number who will help a bus driver in time of need, at a the scene of an RTA or similar and in most traffic situations

·           THE BUS DRIVER……….the all time consummate professional, the all knowing person in the bus seat, the one who spends eight to ten hours a day driving a bus up to twelve tons (without passengers 15 to a ton) in town traffic and for that they get a 45 minute break

·           It is fair to say that not all Bus Drivers are as professional as they might be in their approach to the job inside or outside the vehicle.  Though all of them, throughout Great Britain are taught to drive a bus to the same high standards as that expected of an advanced driver and better

·           When dealing with traffic, the main source of a bus drivers work day, he / she is taught to drive with patience and consideration for other drivers and passengers.  In traffic situations they are taught simple things like…..if the gap looks too small…..it is.  Don’t become part of or create a traffic situation, better way is to hang back and see what develops.  If it turns good, fine, if it turns sour you have at minimum kept yourself, your vehicle and your passengers safe

·           Bus driver and lorry driver training from an Instructor’s point of view can be easy or can be hard, depending on how the person in the seat approaches the job.  As an Instructor I found part of my work was to re-educate a “licenced” driver how to think big and not take chances where they don’t really exist.  Also to get the “newbie bus driver / lorry driver” to realise that they have to be the eyes and ears and brain not only for their own drive but for that of other drivers too

·           Bus drivers have a lot to contend with in a day’s work. Sign on at 0500 hrs maybe, official vehicle checks before starting off. Set up destination blinds, set up ticket machine, consider diversions, make sure the wrist watch is right.  Follow a set route, know fares and bus stops, know traffic regulation surrounding bus drivers and driving, attend a 5 yearly refresher course to attain and retain the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence that gives the right to use the bus licence for gain.  So much more of a job than the travelling public and the motorist can imagine

 

To be a Bus Driver: Using the licence for gain (wage or otherwise)

 To drive a bus you must first have a full car driving licence and then obtain a provisional bus driving licence.   To start training for the bus licence a driver has to pass a two part theory test and also a two part driving test (ability and demonstration).  When completed the new bus driver, to retain his/her nice new licence has to achieve 35 hours Driver Certificate of Professional Competence over the next five years.  This is ongoing.  No CPC? You retain your bus licence but cannot drive for hire or reward

 The average training is two up for three weeks.  Some drivers need much less time and others a lot more.  Whatever the case in the training time for the licence they will learn how the vehicle works, the rules surrounding work hours, the use of a digital tachograph and do hours of practical driving in all types of traffic conditions and all types of road, including a fast road, town road and countryside roads

 Beyond the test training time the training continues.  In the post test training the “new bus driver” will learn further appropriate rules surrounding bus work, how to use the ticket machine, set up destination blinds, what duty cards are all about and how to read them, how to read timetables, rules for lost property, how to deal with unruly passengers, disabled passengers, children and others in general

 There is also a need to learn routes, time pinch points, where bus stops are, normal diversion routes, breakdown procedure, radio procedure, maintenance repairs reporting, the 24 hour clock and so much more, just to arrive at a bus stop at an appointed time and leave again to destination

 Practical driving development continues during the post test period and with all the other elements will last in general for around another three weeks.

 From the day of job application through interview, acceptance, licence application, theory and driving test training time to post-test training can be as much eight to twelve  weeks.  It’s a long haul but 98% will tell you initially at least that it has all been worthwhile.  Success, enjoyment and retention for a bus driver in particular will depend a lot on how the Instructor approached the training sessions with each individual, recognising individuals’ needs tied in with the common problems that are so often experienced

 Bus driving is not a job for the feint hearted and should not be in any way other than in a professional manner, both from the new driver and the Instructor

 

Problems in Bus Driving in Relation to Other Road Users

 

Passengers who become road users

It’s not unknown for a passenger to get off a bus and immediately cross in front of their bus and walk into the path of an oncoming vehicle.  If there is a collision of this manner the bus driver is automatically involved.  There have been many instances where a bus driver has stopped this happening by checking the offside mirror and sounding the bus horn

 Pulling into and out of Bus Bays

Probably one of the more hazardous parts of the job.  Pulling into a bus bay has to be done at low speed, as a result the back end of a bus seems to take so long in clearing a road.  The bus driver has to stop within 4 inches of a kerbside to accommodate safe entry and exit of the bus of passengers on foot or in a wheelchair.  Sometimes pulling into a bus stop or bay fully or at all is impossible due to cars or vans being parked where they should not.

 Pulling out of a bus bay or away from a kerbside bus stop can be just as much of a problem.  If there is an obstruction in the bay or at the stop the driver has to apply more steering to get round the problem, the rear nearside on most modern buses will pivot quickly by about a metre and swipe anything too close, this includes cyclists.  More forward space is also needed to accommodate the length of a bus, so the driver may need to use the opposing carriageway to complete the moving off manoeuvre

 Normal Driving Needs

If normal exists!!  One of the things that is majored on in training is the use of mirrors. That is exterior and interior mirrors.  The internal mirrors have no use in road work, they are primarily for watching passenger movement.  This is something that has to be considered when braking accelerating and steering. How a bus driver reacts with controls can often be determined by the actions of another motorist and can have devastating effects on passenger safety.

 Most city type buses are either semi-automatic or fully automatic gearboxes.  As a result the delays between gear changes experienced in manual vehicles are non-existent in today’s buses.  This means that a lot of buses, on the flat, can be as fast as the average car when moving off.  It has been known to catch out some motorists who are “trying to beat the bus” away from traffic lights etc

 The use of mirrors in a bus driver’s day is crucial and has saved many problems. External mirrors are used when pulling into and out of bus bays.  Pulling in to ensure the back of the bus is clear of the kerb or any nearside obstruction, including a vehicle, cyclist, protruding kerb edge and so much more.  Pulling out of a bay or stop the mirrors have two uses.  One is to ensure there are no running passengers on the nearside which diverts the attention slightly as he/she then checks the offside for the gap in the traffic that is needed.  There is quite often a check back to the nearside before proceeding too far

 Normal forward driving for a Bus Driver is anything but, especially in towns and cities.  A lot depends on the behaviour of other road users and that includes cyclists, motorists of all types, wheelchair users, Motability scooters and pedestrians of all ages.  A special problem is the pedestrian who wants to end life and quite literally walks in front of an oncoming bus at the last moment.  The Driver has this to deal with for the rest of his/her life and as an Instructor it has been to down me or a colleague to pick up the mental pieces

  As well as dealing with other motorists, the bus driver’s work, “passengers,” can also create a problem either on the bus, getting on or off and running for the bus.  On the bus the passenger will get up and move around and this is where the actions of a motorist can create a problem.  Someone swerving in front of the bus or braking suddenly or harshly can have that concertina effect and can throw a passenger up into the bulkhead of the bus or up against hand support bars as the driver reacts

 At a bus stop a bus driver prepares to move into traffic….offside, glance forward on the sweep, nearside and offside mirrors again and one quick final check to the nearside as the bus enters the traffic flow for running passengers.  Imagine, you’re trying to break into traffic flow and someone is running alongside the bus and banging on the side for you to stop.  Instant decision time; do I stop or continue, will the passenger fall under the wheels, will I collide with a vehicle, has someone given way, will I create a traffic problem if I stop for the passenger?  You decide

 BUS LANES (or least that’s what they are called)

Bus lanes now accommodate not just buses, but cyclists, motor cyclists, emergency vehicles taxis and any bus type vehicle with more than 9 seats.  This list in itself creates so many extra problems for the bus driver.  Cyclists are the most vulnerable and quite often don’t consider their own safety when in a bus lane either by riding in an awkward position or sneaking up the nearside of a bus.  Because of the superb straight-line of a bus body, the mirrors give good rearward vision, even so a cyclist can easily be hidden and get crushed.  The rear of the bus is so remote from the driver, on newer coaches 15 metres away, it’s easy to hit something and not know it.  Nearly all buses now are fitted with active CCTV and often up to eight cameras on the outside of the bus and three or four per deck inside

 Motorcyclists pose a separate problem.  In Plymouth our motorcyclists not only use the bus lanes to beat traffic queues but also to do it at much higher speeds than the road speed limit

 Taxis.  The problem here is when a taxi pulls up in a bus lane to set down or pick up a fare or does their shopping etc it’s not unknown

 Emergency vehicles create a whole new set of problems. In Plymouth we have a special relationship with all of the emergency services.  There are times when bus drivers cannot make way for the emergency vehicle, but there are times when the bus driver can “rightly or wrongly” use his/her vehicle to create a gap for the emergency vehicle.  Bus drivers are mad aware of the national guidelines for dealing with emergency vehicles.

 

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Driving and Drowsiness – A Dangerous Combination

 

Being drowsy whilst driving is a major problem in the UK, and it’s enough to test even the safest and most experienced of drivers. Drowsy driving usually happens when you have not slept enough, but can also occur due to untreated sleep disorders, taking medications, or even shift work. It can affect you at any time, as it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when sleep comes over the body. Just as driving while intoxicated is risky and dangerous, not to mention illegal, drowsiness makes you less able to pay attention to the road, slows your reaction time particularly if you need to break or steer abruptly, and affects your ability to make sound driving decisions. We are all aware of the common dangers associated with driving while alert, such as other cars failing to signal and low visibility, but drowsiness is an equally dangerous way to hurt yourself and other drivers around you. A lack of sleep accounts for approximately 20% of all crashes on main roads here in the UK, so don’t be a statistic, pull over to rest or change drivers if you feel any warning signs coming on. 

Legally Responsible

In the UK, if you have a car accident whilst sleep deprived, the law will make you accountable. Although the courts have some deal of flexibility on this matter, if you are charged with dangerous driving, and by definition this means driving in a way that is below the minimum acceptable standard and poses a risk to personal injury or safety, then you will be charged. While a judge’s sentence may vary depending on the amount of damage caused by an accident, at the very minimum your license will be revoked. A prison sentence of up to five years is also possible, even if no serious injury or harm has been done. It is clear to see that the UK judicial system takes driving whilst drowsy very seriously.

 

Is It That Common?

Surprisingly, driving whilst tired is more common than one would think. What would seem as something that is easily avoidable by following a regular pattern of sleep and ensuring your energy levels are stable, driving whilst tired happens more often than imagined. For example, if you are looking forward to an event or a special occasion and are unable to sleep through the night, you may well find yourself sleep deprived in the morning. This poses potential risks to your driving skills, including excessive speeding, or worse, nodding off at the wheel.

Most accidents occur between the hours of 2-6am, even amongst those who are sober. At this time of the day, most people are relaxed and a bit more carefree with their driving as the roads are generally quieter. This is when drivers lose control of their vehicles and crash as their focus is not on other vehicles around them.  

 

Commercial drivers – those who operate tow trucks and buses, for example, are particularly vulnerable during this time of the day, and for two main reasons. Firstly, commercial drivers tend to either be on a delivery deadline or need to return to their base depot, and because of this, they rarely break through the night and get the rest they need. Secondly, and as the Freight Transport Association points out, there is a lack of rest-stop facilities for commercial drivers on UK motorways. The Association describes this shortage as a mistake and an example of how money and business will always win over common sense and personal safety.

The Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

There is a difference between being tired and being too tired to drive, and it’s something that can hit you at any time. You may start on an all-day car journey perfectly fine and alert, but as the journey progresses you can easily start to feel tired.

The National Sleep Foundation has identified a few symptoms to watch out for which can help you determine when to take a rest break. Some of these symptoms include:

·         - Struggling to focus accompanied by frequent blinking and heavy eyelids

·         - Daydreaming and keeping your focus

·        -  Difficulty remembering the last distances driven

·        -  Missing your exit and drifting from your lane

·        -  Repeated yawning and irritability

 

If it feels as though you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms, find a safe place to pull off on the side of the road, such as a resting spot. If you have another person in the vehicle who is licensed and insured to drive, ask them to take over. Just remember not to panic if you feel any of these symptoms as increased fear means there is a generally a higher risk of crash.

Although drinking coffee can help in small doses, it is best not to rely on it as a solution to your drowsiness as too much caffeine can make a driver experience lapses in concentration and slower reaction times. Coffee consumption is only to be used as a quick fix and not as a substitute for regular breaks. The best advice is to stay calm and exercise caution and good judgement so you can get to your destination safely and securely.

Article written and kindly supplied to us by Justin Fox

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Unusual driving laws from around the world

During Road Safety week, road safety charity Brake and insurance firm Aviva brought to light the dangers we face while driving every day. According to a recent survey from Aviva, four in five drivers think they’re a safe driver, although more than a third don’t recognise basic road signs, and a third of drivers still use their phones behind the wheel.

Richard Coteau, Corporate Fundraising Manager from Brake highlighted that: “From our research and surveys, we know that driver distraction affects people, even more with many admitting that the temptation to update social media is too much to resist.”

Aviva conducted some research, looking into road safety around the world, highlighting what the safest countries are doing, such as Sweden and Finland – two countries which have some of the safest roads in the world. With the help of Aviva, we looked at how other countries around the world keep their roads and road users safe, and picked out some of the most unusual road rules.

 

Russia: Keep your car clean

Drivers have to keep up their vehicle’s appearances in Russia, as it could lead to a 2,000 ruble fine. This was originally set up so license plates are always visible.

Mind the gap in Singapore

Watch out for pedestrians, as it’s against the law for drivers to come within 50 metres of them.

In South Africa give way to herds

Herds have as much right to the roads as drivers and other road users. Drivers could face a stiff fine if they don’t give way to passing livestock.

Safety first in Turkey

It’s important drivers carry a fire extinguisher, reflective triangle and first aid kit, otherwise there’s risk of a fine.

Italy’s increased nighttime fines

Drivers caught committing serious driving offences between 10pm and 7am could find themselves being fined an extra third of the daytime fine.

No topless driving in Thailand

Try to keep your clothes on in Thailand! It’s illegal and drivers could face a fine if they don’t have a top on.

France: Slow down when it rains

When the heavens open in France, drivers are required to reduce their speed by 10km/hour on rural and dual carriageways, and a 20km/hour reduction on motorways.

To find out more about road safety around the world, read through Aviva’s Safe Driving hub, with useful guides and expert opinions.

 

Kindly supplied to us by Aviva Insurance

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We hope you enjoy this Infographic which has been kindly given to us by Insure the Learner, and a link to their website is https://www.insurelearnerdriver.co.uk/

 

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FOMO is influencing dangerous driving on UK roads

kindly supplied by Laura of Aviva Insurance

Social media and FOMO, which is the Fear Of Missing Out, could be putting road-users at risk, as motorists admit to checking social networking sites and reading messages on their phones while driving.

A recent survey by Aviva Insurance  unveiled that more than four in 10 drivers admit to using their mobile phones while driving, putting themselves and other road users at risk. Last year, the UK Department for Transport reported that almost 500 incidents involved a driving being distracted by their mobile phones, and the numbers are on the rise.

The results from the survey also revealed bad habits across different age groups. Over two thirds of drivers aged over 55 who use their mobiles answer phone calls without a hands-free kit, compared to 41% aged 18-34. Road users aged between 18-24 - who admit to using their mobiles - are more likely to be using a messenger app (61%), Instagram (32%) and Snapchat (29%).

Aviva’s research also showed us that over half of drivers have typed something, such as a text, email or comment on social media. One in eight drivers have admitted to uploading an image or video to their mobiles behind the wheel. Sgt Neil Dewson-Smyth from Cheshire Police commented on the findings:

“The livestream behaviour, for me, adds additional load on the driver. Holding the phone, reading comments and performing all mean the driver is focused far too much on what they are doing and who they can entertain or impress and not on their driving. That puts them, passengers, other drivers and pedestrians at hugely increased risk.”

“To look away from the road, read a comment, look back and regain full awareness takes about 5 seconds. At 40mph the distance covered is equivalent to the length of a football pitch.. blindfolded.”

Dewson-Smyth also highlighted that “the whole concept of the danger is that the drivers’ attention should be on the road and those around them. When it's half focused on their phone then tragedy is a heartbeat away.” There’s several ways you can reduce the ‘FOMO’ distraction while you’re driving: 

1:Put your mobile phone on silent

2:  Turn off notifications

3;  Pre-plan journeys if it’s somewhere new  - so you know where you’re going 

4:  Keep you mobile out of sight

 

 

Britain’s a nation of angry drivers

Every week, 30 million car drivers are left raging on the roads, according to research conducted on behalf of Ocean Finance.

With as many as 10 million Brits getting agitated behind the wheel every day, it would seem the streets of the UK are a major cause of anger.

Those living in Wales were most likely to keep their cool when faced with driving annoyances. Comparatively, the North East comes out as the hotspot for hotheads, with 92% admitting to losing their rag on the road at least once a week.

Furthermore, men (88%) were marginally more likely to see red than women (84%).

Tailgating, people not indicating and people who use their mobile phone behind the wheel came out as the top pet peeves for most drivers. Other common irritations include:

Bad habits on the road  Number of people who say they get annoyed by others doing this

Not indicating

6.6m

Tailgaters

6.6m

Using a mobile phone

6.5m

Being cut-up

2.6m

Speeding

2.6m

Not saying ‘thank you’

2.4m

Driving below the speed limit

2m

Blocking junctions

2m

Jumping traffic lights

1.2m

Drifting out of lanes

0.9m

 

When faced with people who annoy them on the road, 8 million Brits swear to release their frustration and a further 4.5 million use hand gestures to make their anger known.

As many as half a million Brits say that they would go to the length of following the car until it stops so they can tell the driver off – 18 to 24-year-olds were twice as likely to do this than any other age group.

Worryingly, one in three drivers say they have been in an incident as a result of someone’s careless, bad driving habits. While most (8 million) got away with just a minor incident, 2.5 million were caught up in a more serious accident.

Ian Williams, Ocean’s spokesperson, said: “The vast majority of drivers are careful, polite and considerate.  However, when we do encounter one that isn’t it seems that many of us struggle to keep our cool.  We’d urge drivers who encounter some dodgy driving to stay calm – getting stressed isn’t going to help.”

Editors’ notes

* Red Dot questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 14th March 2016 – 17th March 2016, of whom 636 were Scottish residents. Figures have been extrapolated to fit ONS 2013 population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.

About Ocean Finance

Established in 1991, Ocean Finance is one of the UK’s leading loan and mortgage brokers. The company works with many of the UK’s leading loan and mortgage lenders to help people find the right deal.

Website: www.oceanfinance.co.uk

For further information please contact:

Ian Williams

Ian.williams@thinkmoneygroup.com

@iwill41

 

Tel: 0161 605 6005 / Mob: 07855 214851

The information below was kindly sent to us for publication by Derek Eastwood, who is the  Business Development Manager at Hussey Fraser Solicitors in Dublin http://www.injury-solicitors.ie/

 

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This is a contributed post kindly written by Emma Wortley

Top 5 Cars For Young Drivers

Looking for your first car can be an incredibly exciting experience! However, many young drivers face the difficult challenge of choosing a suitable vehicle that will suit their style preferences and bank balance. So regardless of whether you are currently learning to drive, or if you have just passed your test and are looking for a new car to hone your motoring skills, here are some of our top recommendations on the best cars for young drivers;

1 - Hyundai i10

Since 2014, the Hyundai i10 has been hailed as the Best City Car in the What Car? Car Of The Year awards. The same traits which make the Hyundai i10 an exceptional city car also make it an ideal first car for young drivers. It is easy to park, affordable to run (with its 1.2 litre engine edition offering a fuel efficiency of 57.6mpg) and comes equipped with a wide range of technological additions alongside ample storage space.

2 - Fiat 500

For many decades the Fiat 500 has been a popular automotive choice for young drivers and city motorists alike. This is due to the fact that the standard 1.2lite 68bhp engine edition emits less than 90g/km of CO2 emissions and a fuel efficiency of 74.3mpg combined. As such , you will be able to benefit from road tax exemptions and cost-effective fuel prices as you refine your driving skills on the open roads. What's more, the Fiat 500 is constantly reinventing itself with new trim levels, such as 'Pop', 'Pop Star' and 'Lounge', which offer new colours, start/stop technology, six-speaker audio systems and steering wheel mounted controls amongst other stylish and practical additions. What more could you ask for?

3 - Ford Fiesta ST

When it comes to selecting a reliable yet stylish first car you cannot go wrong with a Ford Fiesta ST. Popular amongst young drivers and motoring critics alike, the 2014 model of the Ford Fiesta ST is officially Britain's biggest selling car of all time and accrued over 22 awards in its debut season for its exceptional performance, compact dimensions and affordability. Opt for the 1.0 EcoBoost engine edition and you will benefit from a fuel efficiency of 65.7mpg; perfect for testing your driving capabilities without draining your bank balance!

4 - Vauxhall Corsa

The new Vauxhall Corsa has been designed with young drivers in mind. Not only will you benefit from low running costs, but Vauxhall also offer promotions for young drivers including discounts off the dealership listing price and reduced insurance costs. You can also rest assured that you will be safe and secure within this spacious city car because the Vauxhall Corsa has been accredited with five stars following its European NCAP crash tests.

 5 - Toyota Aygo X-Play

If you want your first car to be cost-effective whilst still retaining an air of personalisation then the second generation Toyota Aygo X-Play is the ideal first car for you. The rear bumper inserts, wing mirror caps, nose cone and even the signature 'X' on the front can be finished in your choice of black, white or silver. You can also personalise the interior with stylish revisions to the dashboard trim, centre console and steering wheel. Combine these customisation properties with a fuel efficiency of 68.9mpg, and a 4.8m turning circle which ideal for getting to grips with parallel parking and 3-point-turns, and you have yourself a great first car!

Purchasing Advice & Industry Insights

Once you've decided which vehicle you'd like to own as your first car you can begin to shop around for it! First and foremost, it is important that you ascertain the exact make and model of vehicle that you would like to buy and that you investigate the different avenues from which you can purchase it. Whether you intend to buy a new or used car, you should contact all manner of local private sellers, car auctions, franchised and independent dealers as well as online vehicle dealerships and automotive discussion forums. Carrying out this essential research will enable you to assess an average price for your chosen vehicle. By doing so, you can pay a fair and reasonable price for your first car and set aside the remainder of your budget for covering road tax, maintenance costs, insurance coverage and all the other expensive additions that accompany buying your first car.

Furthermore, it is also crucial that you arrange a test drive to check the general condition of the vehicle you intend to buy. If you do not feel confident assessing the mechanics of a vehicle on your own then it can prove extremely helpful to have a close friend or relative accompany you in order to offer their objective opinion. During this test drive you should scrutinise the condition of the vehicle's engine, brakes, its handling and acceleration capabilities, as well as the general condition of its exterior and interior.

 

If you plan to purchase a used car then you should also take this opportunity to check with the seller when it was last serviced. Every vehicle manufactured has a recommended servicing schedule that owners should follow. Automotive mechanics advise that if a car has not been serviced in the last 12 months then it could be masking an undiagnosed problem that will cost you substantially in the long term. If you are satisfied with these vehicular checks then all that is left to do is verify the information on the vehicle's V5C registration document is in order, certify that the vehicle carries an official MOT certificate, and you will be able to take legal ownership of your first car!

https://www.aviva.co.uk/car-insurance/motor-advice/safe-driving/

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Additional stats

·         24,582 people were killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in 2014 alone.  

·         According to a report from the Department for Transport, in 2014 there were a staggering 194,477 casualties in reported road traffic accidents in Britain.

80% of all respondents rated themselves as an 8/10 or above in terms of road safety.

·         63.9% of the self-proclaimed safe drivers admit to eating or drinking when driving, 57.4% confess to texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel, 53.4% admit to struggling to stay awake, 7.2% said they smoke.

·         80% said that they do their best to follow the rules of the road, and 79% expressed that stiffer penalties should be enforced for people caught using mobile phones whilst driving.

·         Only 7% of respondents believe mobile phones have the most negative effect on their driving safety.

·         Texting can increase our reaction times by 37%, and reaction times can increase by up to 50% when talking on the phone.

·         99% of UK drivers don’t think smoking makes their driving less safe.

·         According to the Thames Valley Police, “95% of all road crashes are due to human error.”

The survey revealed that only 7% of drivers think their own emotional state has the most negative effect on how they drive.

·         Nearly two thirds of respondents believe anger has the worst influence on driving safety.

·         A staggering 92% admit to feeling angry with other road users at some point when driving.

·         Just over a quarter of us sometimes get stressed when driving.

·         Only 19% of people believe that stress has the worst influence on driving safety.

The survey exposed that nearly 1 in 10 admitted that they often get nervous or fearful whilst driving, with only 4% believing it had the worst influence on driving safety.

 

Interview with Nick Lloyd, Road Safety Manager at Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA)

According to you, what’s the worst type of distraction and why?

Objects, events, or activities both inside and outside the vehicle can cause distraction. In-vehicle distractions can be caused by technology, or by other sources inside the vehicle such as passengers. External distractions may be when a driver concentrates on unimportant events or objects, or when another person does something unusual.

It is difficult to say which is the most distracting as this may be determined by the distractive activity being undertaken and the cognitive complexity of the task. It is also important to recognise that some activities such as using a hand held mobile phone (which is obviously illegal) can create multiple types of distraction, in this case biomechanical, auditory and cognitive distraction. Using a hands-free phone whilst eliminating the biomechanical distraction will still involve an auditory distraction, and potentially a significant cognitive distraction, depending upon the subject of the conversation.

All driver distraction is potentially dangerous and RoSPA is not in a position to say which the worst is. However, it is vital that drivers realise that cognitive distraction occurs when a driver is thinking about something not related to driving the vehicle. Whilst performing a demanding cognitive task a driver’s visual field narrows both vertically and horizontally – meaning that rather than scanning the road for hazards, much more time is spent staring ahead than usual; in other words, tunnel vision. This means that drivers who are cognitively impaired will spend less time checking mirrors or looking around for hazards.

Do you think some people are more easily distracted than others? 

There is no evidence to prove whether some people are more easily distracted than others. It may be more linked to individual personal awareness of the danger of distraction, levels of self control and willingness to break the law (in relation to using a handheld mobile phone which is a major form of driver distraction).

Pedestrian failed to look properly was the most common contributory factor allocated to pedestrian injuries (59%) in 2014. In a YouGov survey carried out in September 2014, 31% of those interviewed said that they have been distracted from looking for traffic as they were using their mobile phone. Anecdotally, this seems to be a particular issue associated with teenagers and young adults. 

Interview with Mike Fisher, founder of The British Association of Anger Management and author of ‘Beating Anger’

What might cause someone to feel angry when in their car?

Many things cause people to be angry when in their car, whilst driving or as a passenger.

 

Usually the person who becomes angry is already feeling some form of irritation or stressor. All that happens in our vehicles is that everything becomes exaggerated and amplified. This often happens when some insensitive driver or person puts your life in danger, and this leads to you to justify being angry or expressing anger in that moment.

 

I often suggest that I did not become angry when someone cut me off, but perhaps it started a week ago when I argued with my wife or was told off by my boss, and this reflects an accumulation of stress and anger that’s often the main cause. 

Interview with Neil Shah, director of The Stress Management Society and author of ‘The 10-Step Stress Solution’

What might cause someone to feel stressed when in their car?

There’s a broad variety of things which cause us to feel stressed – whether it’s spilling coffee down ourselves, being stuck in traffic, thinking about something that happened last night, or even driving to an interview or presentation.

Feeling stressed is a reaction to modern life. Nowadays we are overloaded with an overwhelming excess of demands, and if we reach a pressure point, it may be a case of ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’. 

Technology is one cause of this; with a constant flow of communication and information. Work used to start when you arrived at work and stop when you left, however due to our current use of technology, work begins the moment you open your eyes and check your device, through to when you go to sleep.

We have so much to absorb and think about during our time stuck in the car, and can feel stressed by the external factors of a commute, on top of everything else. 

Interview with Laura Whitehurst at Anxiety UK

What might cause someone to feel anxious when in their car?

There are many reasons why somebody may feel anxious when in their car. For some, they may have had a negative experience when driving in the past – perhaps an accident – and as such the anxiety is caused by the notion of getting in another accident, or brings up frightening flashbacks of the accident whenever they go to get behind the wheel again.

Some people who are already living with a panic disorder, or have experienced panic attacks in the past, may be anxious about having a panic attack behind the wheel. Some may experience agoraphobia, and therefore may feel anxious about getting lost whilst driving, and driving outside of their ‘safe zone’, or some people may experience claustrophobia and find being stuck in traffic whilst driving very triggering of their own phobia.

There are a variety of different reasons why somebody may experience anxiety, and they will all experience their anxiety differently, however ultimately what it means for this person is that their anxiety could be interfering with their daily life, and this is when it needs to be addressed.