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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.”

Key Things to Remember Legally When Involved in a Car Accident

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Benjamin Washington

 

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

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Smart Motorway Map Of The UK

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

Jump To Our Smart Motorway Map

Smart Motorway Stats and Facts

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

What Are Smart Motorways?

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

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

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

Different Types of Smart Motorways

Controlled

smart motorway variable speed limit

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

Hard Shoulder Running

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

All Lanes Running

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

How To Use Smart Motorways

Speed Limits

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

Red Xs

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

Hard Shoulders

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

What happens if I break down or have an accident?

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

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

What are Hadecs 3 cameras?

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

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

”Smart”Smart

Smart Motorways in London

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

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

Hard Shoulder running 
M1 J10-13

Smart Motorways in Birmingham

All Lanes Running
M6 J10a-13

Controlled
M42 J3a-M40 J16

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

 

Smart Motorways in Manchester

All Lanes Running
M62 J18-20

Controlled
M60 J8-18

Smart Motorways in Bristol

Hard shoulder running
M4 J19-20
M5 J15-17

 

Smart Motorways in the North

All lanes running

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

Controlled

M1 J25-28

Hard Shoulder Running

M62 J25-30

 smart motorway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

1)      Speeding Fines Based On Your Means

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

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

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

A Note About European Speeding Fines

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

 

2)      Car Tax Now Based On Value AND CO2 Emissions

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

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

 

3)      “Toxin Tax” for Diesel Vehicles

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

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

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

 

4)      Stricter Phone Laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

5)      New Booster Seat Rules

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

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

 

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

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

Find out more about the new car tax bands.

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

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

Ensure you know your legal obligations as a driver.

Find out how to fit a child car seat correctly.               

 

Test your knowledge of common driving misconceptions.

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

A day in the life of a Bus Driver

 

What is a Bus Driver?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Problems in Bus Driving in Relation to Other Road Users

 

Passengers who become road users

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

 Pulling into and out of Bus Bays

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

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

 Normal Driving Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Driving and Drowsiness – A Dangerous Combination

 

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

Legally Responsible

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

 

Is It That Common?

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

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

 

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

The Warning Signs of Drowsy Driving

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

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

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

·         - Daydreaming and keeping your focus

·        -  Difficulty remembering the last distances driven

·        -  Missing your exit and drifting from your lane

·        -  Repeated yawning and irritability

 

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

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

Article written and kindly supplied to us by Justin Fox

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

 

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A very interesting Infographic sent to us by http://www.tyre-shopper.co.uk 

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When you pass your driving test, there’s an awful lot to think about. Obviously, finding a new car, getting used to the rules of the road and building confidence in your motoring capabilities are going to be at the top of your list. However, you’re probably also going to want to take advantage of the very reason you learnt to drive in the first place – complete freedom.

The likelihood is that you’re feeling ambitious, right? You want to get out there and take on the road. The world is your oyster. You’re probably looking to plan a road trip here and a road trip there. There’s no doubting it, it’s a great way of seeing the world. However, before you take on the roads of faraway lands, you should consider that the rules of the road are different the world over. Even in Europe. Carspring is an online dealership, based in both London and Berlin. Their experiences of the differences between England and Germany have clearly formed the basis of this intriguing infographic. It shows us how driving habits are different all over the continent. Not just when it comes to the rules of the road, but which cars people are likely to drive and what each car means for bumping up your social status.

  

 

 

Before you get planning your own tour of Europe, it might be a good idea to get yourself a car sorted that’s going to get you where you need to be. For your first car, it makes a lot of sense buying used. If you do, it’s well worth taking a look at the Carspring website to check out their new approach to used car sales. Simply log-on, browse their models, find your ideal car and choose how you want to pay. The company will deliver your new car to your door. For that added peace of mind, all the cars they sell on their site are inspected by the AA and come fully-guaranteed. Then, it’s time to book your ferry tickets, fill the boot and get exploring.