Lendrums Driving School Blog
Welcome to the Lendrums Driving School Blog
Learning to Drive In Later Life: Tips and Myths
Many people falsely assume that learning to drive later in life is more dangerous than learning as a teenager. In reality, while it takes older drivers some time to grow accustomed to the rules of the road, they are just as capable of learning to drive as teenage drivers. With some help from the right driving instructor, learning to drive as an OAP can open up a range of new, exciting paths without risking personal safety.
Benefits of New-Adult Driving
Driving can radically improve people’s daily lives for both convenience and peace of mind, regardless of age. Even if you don’t have regular access to a car, learning to drive and obtaining a driver’s license allows you to partake in one of the eco-car sharing networks across the UK. Driving also opens up the possibility of renting a car when you travel abroad, which is often essential for more remote travel destinations. And for UK citizens, obtaining a driver’s license is a good idea to secure proper identification without carrying around a passport during day-to-day activity.
Technology for New Drivers
Recent technological advances have broadened possibilities for new OAP drivers. A rush of new smartphone apps enables safe driving not only via GPS systems, but also with apps to curb bad driving habits and even find new parking spaces. New technologies are crucial to foster independence in senior citizens, and driving is no exception. Using a GPS, for instance, omits the necessity of having to ask someone for directions or even tuning the radio to check local traffic.
Driving Strategies and Preparation
Learning to drive as an OAP will change the way you perceive the roads around you. Begin by paying attention to the drivers you share rides with and noticing how they navigate traffic and the rules of the road. Next, familiarise yourself with the UK’s rules for new driving in regards to driving instructors and insurance policies. Family or friends can offer driving lessons, but it’s often a good idea to seek professional help from a driving instructor if the thought of learning to drive at an old age has you feeling apprehensive.
For older adults, learning to drive may feel like a daunting task, but it is certainly an attainable one. With the right preparation and technology, OAP’s can regain their independence through driving and choosing their own destination.
We would like to thank Jennifer Dawson for this article and also Simone Acquaroli for use of the picture.
NEARLY A FIFTH OF DRIVERS NEVER USE THE MOTORWAY
17% of drivers never use the motorway as a means of travel, according to a new OnePoll survey of 2,000 UK drivers.
The survey, commissioned by InsuretheGap.com, a new independent provider of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance, found that women (22%) were nearly twice as likely than men (12%) to stay away from motorways.
Of the respondents that said they never drive on motorways, 34% said they avoided the motorway because they didn’t feel safe driving on it. This is despite the fact that, statistically at least, motorways are safer than other roads.
26 to 35-year olds were most likely to cite safety concerns as the reason they didn’t use motorways (41%), followed by 60+ (36%) and 17 to 25-year olds (32%).
From the 4th June 2018, learner drivers in England, Scotland and Wales were allowed to take lessons on the motorway, giving them an early exposure of motorway driving, something that would previously happen only after you had passed your test.
According to the Government website, the idea behind this initiative is to ‘improve [drivers’] confidence to drive on the motorway unsupervised after passing their driving test’ and to ‘help to make sure more drivers know how to use motorways safely’.
Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Officer of InsuretheGap.com, said: “The change to allow learner drivers to drive on motorways whilst accompanied by a qualified instructor is a positive step to help them feel comfortable in what can be a challenging driving environment. The fact that over a third of people who avoided motorways said they did so due to safety concerns suggests this is something that is long overdue, despite motorways being some of the safest roads to drive on based on accident numbers. It will be interesting to see if these statistics change in a few years’ time once motorway lessons are established as a key part of learning to drive.”
You’ll Never Forget Your First Car - So Choose it Wisely
If you’ve just joined the 800,000 or so people who pass their driving test in the UK every year, then congratulations! You will be relishing the sense of freedom and independence that it gives, and will doubtless be impatient to get your very first set of wheels.
Anybody’s first car is a big deal, and whether it is brand new out of the showroom or it has already seen a great deal of life and bears the scars to prove it, one thing is for sure - it is a car that you will never forget!
Preparing for the road ahead
Passing your test is just the first step on the way to becoming a safe and accomplished driver, so before you sever your ties with the driving school, it’s worth having a chat with your driving instructor about the choice of vehicles on the market, and maybe even having some advanced tuition to really get the feel of your new wheels. First, however, you need to get those keys in your hand - so what are the factors you need to consider when choosing your car?
Work out your budget
It sounds boring, but we are all subject to budgetary constraints. You can get a good car for £800 and you can get a good car for £8,000. But until you know exactly what your budget is, it’s pointless to even start looking.
Of course, purchase price is only the first part of the cost. You’ve also got to factor in road tax, maintenance and that subject that is most feared by new drivers, insurance cost.
How to minimise insurance cost
Don’t underestimate how much insurance can come to. A teenager could go out and buy that £800 car, only to find the insurance will cost them another £2,000 or more. However, there are ways to keep the cost down. Taking that advanced driving course will show insurers you are serious, and they will see you as a lower risk and adjust your premium accordingly. You could also look into companies that provide reduced rates for young drivers who agree to having a black box in their car, or to follow a “curfew” whereby they will not drive during certain hours, typically in the middle of the night.
Choose a car that will keep on teaching you
As a new driver, you will still be learning every day. Choose a car that will help you do just that. Don’t go for something with power-everything and lots of driver aids. Simple doesn’t have to mean boring, however. One of the best learning experiences you can have is by driving an older car, and many new drivers choose a popular classic such as a VW Beetle, Morris Minor or classic Mini.
One thing is for sure, you will stand out from your friends, and you will definitely have a first car you will never forget. Drive safely out there.
Kindly written and supplied by JENNIFER DAWSON.
Could Hypnotherapy help you ?
You know you have learnt the theory, and that you can drive. Your instructor is amazing and knows you can drive, that’s why the test is booked, theory or practical.
Then it creeps in, the anxiety, often it fades away but sometimes it starts as a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach, nausea, racing heartbeat and sweating – and ends up as a paralysing phobia; worse than any movie. It’s really common but that doesn’t help - no matter how often well-meaning family and friends try to reassure you, telling you it’s irrational.
How can you learn to control your anxiety and nerves like you have learnt to control your car?
In many ways it’s mind over matter – however that classic- “fear or flight” response isn’t very helpful (unless you’re living in cave and needing to fight a woolly mammoth).
So here are some simple tips to start you on the road to confidence.
The Basics: Eat and drink rubbish and you won’t feel great. Take care of yourself, avoid skipping meals and choose foods that make you feel good. Alcohol the night before can also trigger blood sugar imbalance.
Caffeine: A known trigger for anxiety. Give the latte and cappuccino a swerve – it can benefit your anxiety, as well as boosting your bank balance.
Manage your stress levels: A common cause for anxiety is long exposure to stress. Do what you can to lower your stress levels: exercise, take more breaks, meditation, mindfulness yoga, etc…
Affirmations: Hand write (yes with a pen and not on a keyboard!) – some positive affirmations about your driving skills. Your ability to drive calmly and confidently, staying relaxed. For example. “I’m calm, comfortable and relaxed while driving and I have the skills I need to pass” Read them before you go to sleep and, in the morning, whilst you clean your teeth. Say them aloud and imagine yourself driving while feeling calm and relaxed. Don’t underestimate the power of this simple exercise (even if you feel a bit ridiculous, if you really want to go for it look in the mirror right at yourself whilst you say it).
If you’re really struggling you might want to consider getting professional help. Hypnotherapy can achieve great results in just a few sessions. Negative thoughts trigger the anxiety emotion and hypnosis can help your unconscious to relax, reduce anxiety and become more confident.
Here’s a little of what two terrified learner drivers said after a couple of one hour sessions, Full review on my website email@example.com
“…… I felt like a completely different person, my driving instructor said the same and I passed 6TH time, wish I would have gone sooner…”
“………Diane really helped me get over my anxiety with driving, without her, I would not have passed my test….” This client had already failed four times.
To discuss how hypnotherapy can work alongside your instructor to help drive your anxiety away, call 07808 395651 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out my website www.dianetaylor.co.uk and FB page Diane Taylor, The Counselling Room.
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.
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:
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.
● 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 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 Motorways in London
All lanes running
Hard Shoulder running
Smart Motorways in Birmingham
All Lanes Running
M42 J3a-M40 J16
Hard shoulder running
M42 J3a-7 (pilot)
Smart Motorways in Manchester
All Lanes Running
Smart Motorways in Bristol
Hard shoulder running
Smart Motorways in the North
All lanes running
Hard Shoulder Running
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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