Lendrums Driving School Blog
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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.
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.
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
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
Using a mobile phone
Not saying ‘thank you’
Driving below the speed limit
Jumping traffic lights
Drifting out of lanes
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.”
* 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.
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