Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD

Lendrums Driving School Blog

Welcome to the Lendrums Driving School Blog

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in good driving

 

 

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

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/

 

 [embed=videolink]{"video":"

An infographic by the team at Hussey Fraser","width":"400","height":"225"}[/embed]

 

 

 

 How to make a learner THINK for themselves

Teaching is an art and a skill, which not everyone has the ability to do, as we are all good at different things in life, and teaching people to drive is rewarding aswell as having challenges along the way.

I recently undertook a small study with some of my clients, watching how they respond to the instructions I give them, how they process the information, and finally how they put that information into practice. Most of the pupils would process the information and speak out loud, some would be thinking quietly in their minds, but on the whole they both successfully completed the basic tasks. One of the area’s each pupil seemed to lack was forward planning, Observations of the new road they were entering and not taking in signs, which is quite a vital part of driving, for safety of everyone.

I put some thought into this, in my own private practice, wondering how they can miss such large signs when entering new roads or when approaching roundabouts. I listened to what I was hearing in my own head, and when approaching a roundabout I could hear in my sub conscious mind, “Where is the sign”, “What exit am I going to”, “What lane do I need”, “Can I go” and so on. It dawned on me I was self instructing in my head, all be it my subconscious mind. I wondered what would it be like to not have any questions in your mind or a quiet mind. After some thought the conclusion was clear, if you don’t talk through things you don’t get the answers, and then PANIC or get STRESSED.

In general there are 3 levels of learning,  Cognitive, Associative then Autonomous, and as a Driving Instructor we start by using command style teaching, then to Questioning and finally to letting the pupil do everything automatically with very little input from us, making them drive for life ready.

The Command style is straight forwards, as they do everything in a sequence that is given to them, therefore controlling what they do. The second stage is questioning using leading questions to help the think  “What gear will you need”, “what signs do you see up ahead” “What lane is…..” “What signs do you see” etc. Approaching a junction one day I asked my pupil what was coming up ahead, and she replied “A give way T Junction where would you like me to go” so I gave her the instruction to turn left, which was onto a 40 mph road. She approached the junction well, and looked and then drove out onto the main road safely making progress upto 30 mph!!!, but not to 40mph, and seemed to stop actively thinking, once she had entered the new road. I asked her “What is the speed limit on this road ?” and she replied “30mph” but there were signs at the end of the road, and repeaters frequently, so why was she not seeing them. After some thought it was clear that the pupil would think about what was needed to be done, as soon as they had heard an instruction, doing all the things they needed, but once they had done all the different parts and entering a new road, would be thinking the job was done until another instruction was given, so did not have to think anymore, so I asked myself, “How do I get them to think all of the time ?”


LEARNER TAKE CONTROL EXERCISE

This exercise has worked very well, but has to be carefully controlled, as the pupil will be nervous on the outset, so try on quieter roads first.

At the start of a driving lessons with one of the pupils, I said that today, she would inform me of what was approaching ie traffic lights, roundabouts or end of the road junctions, and once they tell me what was approaching,  I would then tell them which direction to go, which is similar to the independent driving, but with a twist. I asked her not to tell me about junctions approaching on the left or right as would be continually saying Junction, Junction & Junction. All she had to do was say “Roundabout” or “Traffic lights” or “End of Road” and a direction would then be given. As mentioned the pupil will feel a little nervous as they are worried they don’t know where they are going, however it is no different to you saying “Pull away when safe to do so and follow the road ahead”. My pupil prepared the car, did all the checks and pulled onto the road and drove the car in a nice fashion, about 200 metres ahead were some traffic lights and she immediately told me “Traffic lights” so I gave her an instruction to turn left at them, and did not say anything further, leaving her in control. On approaching the lights I was watching her, and she was looking everywhere, her eyes were dancing from the road ahead and in to the new road, and she told me “It’s a 40mph road and the road is clear” she continued upto 40 mph and I could see her continually looking everywhere, she then informed me “Roundabout” so I told her to follow the sign for X, she approached the junction nicely, spoke out loud it was the 2nd exit ahead, then saying “I can go” she entered the roundabout and then told me the road she was entering was a 30mph. After 20 minutes we stopped for a chat, and she was very tired.

I asked her how she felt the exercise had gone and did it help, she informed me that she was tired due to  actively thinking all of the time, in case anything was missed, and felt that in control of the drive, feeling as though she was alone in the car, even though knowing I was there. It was clear that in their mind they were 100% responsible for the car and all of the thinking, not waiting for instructions, therefore no Lull points between one junction and another, so not switching off, or relying on the instructor.

Over the next month this has been tasked onto most of the pupils even earlier stage drivers, and the result is quite amazing, resulting in  very few signs or junctions being missed, because they are “Actively” THINKING. The exercise is also an excellent tool for the independent drive, as one pupil was in an area on his test which he did not recognise , however he was looking for the “Traffic Lights”, “Roundabouts” and “Junctions” before the examiner was giving the instructions, so had already thought through where he was positioned and what was ahead, this gave him advantage, so when the examiner gave the instruction, all he had to do was put into action everything, look at the sign which had already been seen and do the activity. The stress on tests seems to have been reduced, and  a lot of the pupils are feeling more in control, and not relying on the instructor/examiner, which is exactly what they need to drive when they pass the test.

 

Try it for yourself and see, and feedback to me would be really appreciated.