Monthly Archives: July 2013

July 31, 2013
Man Calls 999 When Instructor Turns Up Late

West Midlands Police received a phone call from a learner driver complaining that his instructor turned up late. Upon arrival of his instructor, the learner had been involved in a confrontation with her after which she cancelled the lesson.

This prompted the learner’s call to 999 explaining that the instructor had asked him to get out of the car. The operator was less than sympathetic stating ‘Well, then you get out her car. That’s her right if it’s her car.’ Though the learner was persistent in his complaint, the operator warned him that 999 should not be used to complain about his instructor being late.

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July 30, 2013
Drive Better… And so will your children.

A senior driving instructor has suggested that bad driving habits picked up from years of driving will influence the way your children drive… and urged parents to become better drivers for the sake of their children.

Malcolm Hearsey, a retired instructor from Bolton, Greater Manchester, has said that poor behaviour behind the wheel, such as not completing the Cockpit Drill, or even driving on the phone or without a seatbelt, tend to influence the behaviour of children as passengers later into life when they themselves begin their lessons and start driving.

Hearsey has said that many of his former protégés would often question his instructions against the practices of their parents, with “Dad doesn’t do this” and other similar statements as a common phrase heard during his instructing years.

With more and more parents also opting to give their children driving lessons themselves to avoid the expense of driving lessons, young drivers are much more likely to absorb bad habits, with their parents as a stronger role model than a driving instructor.

Hearsey has implored parents to reconsider their behaviour behind the wheel, and to remember that they are supposed to be setting an example to their children.

Hearsey also praises individual stories of parents taking advanced driving courses in order for them to iron out their own bad habits before starting to teach their children.

So if you’re a parent planning to teach your offspring to drive… you should probably make sure you’re doing everything right first.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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July 29, 2013
Limited Parking To Be Allowed On Double Yellow Lines

A review is being considered on parking restrictions on double yellow lines. Currently, parking is prohibited, unless stated, on double yellow lines for all vehicles apart from blue badge holders, emergency services and those making commercial deliveries and pick-ups. It has now been suggested that unaffordable town centre parking is a significant contributor to the failing of the High Street.

The Conservatives are keen to issue new guidelines which would encourage councils to allow a grace period of between five and fifteen minutes on double yellow lines. Lib Dem ministers, on the other hand, have their reservations on interfering with councils’ parking policies but have confirmed that a review of the maximum and minimum fine levels set by the government will be made.

It is hoped that a slight lifting of restrictions on parking on double yellow lines will improve trade for stores on the high street as opposed to encouraging the public to shop online or in out-of-town shopping centres.

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July 26, 2013
How to Avoid Road Rage

Ever feel tense behind the wheel? Do other drivers annoy you, and you can feel your frustration growing and growing, ready to explode at any minute?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Road rage affects many drivers, and unfortunately it is just as much a part of today’s driving as the traffic jam. But there are ways in which you can avoid this. Here are Britannia’s top tips for avoiding road rage:

– Drive with manners. Allow other motorists sufficient time and courtesy, try not to pull out on anyone or rush any other drivers. Follow the rules of the road, and treat other drivers with respect, and you will get the same consideration.

– Make your car a happy place. It doesn’t matter if you’re into Death Metal or a bubblegum pop fan; listen to music that calms you down. In-car music has been proven to have an effect on the way you drive, with drivers that listen to more aggressive music becoming less safe on the roads, and therefore more likely to suffer road rage. Also keep your car clean and tidy- you need to feel relaxed in your own car to avoid road rage.

– Ignore other driver’s road rages. Don’t rise to them; if another driver swears at you or makes threatening gestures, simply drive on. Responding to their actions will only increase your stress behind the wheel, and higher your chances of suffering road rage and having an accident. It’s nothing personal – so don’t let it get to you.

– Plan ahead: one of the main factors in road rage is the driver in question rushing to get somewhere. The combination of rushing and stress very often leads to road rage and accidents, so give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to, and arrive at your destination calm and relaxed.

– Drive safe: Stay focused on the roads, don’t mess about with passengers in the car, talk on the phone, or eat or drink. These factors will only contribute to a higher likelihood of accidents and increase your risk of road rage.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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July 25, 2013
Over Half of Motorists Drive Tired

A recent survey has shown that over half of motorists on UK road are driving when tired, a common cause for road traffic accidents.

55% of the 1,000 drivers questioned admitted to operating a vehicle when fatigued – with many even conceding that they drive for endless hours without rest.

Basic advice is to take regular breaks when on long journeys, with a break of ten to fifteen minutes every two hours being the recommended amount. However 14% of male drivers have admitted to driving for more than six hours without a single break, compared to just 3% of female drivers.

A startling 35% of drivers admitted to feeling tired behind the wheel, and even refusing to pull over and “push through” the tiredness – even when they feel drowsy through fatigue.

The director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister, has reported that in terms of official figures, as little as 2% of reported accidents are attributed to tiredness. However experts estimate that the actual figure could be a shocking amount higher – even up to as much as 10 times the actual figure.

Professor Glaister also added as a warning: “Tiredness-related crashes tend to be more severe as drivers are unable to take evasive action.”

Arguments are currently underway to introduce additional rest areas to UK motorways, which are already in action in most of Europe. Unlike full service stations, these would be smaller rest stops that drivers can easily access to take a short break or a nap.

So if you’re going on a long journey, think ahead – take a short break every two hours at maximum, and pull over as soon as you feel tired.

This could save yours and your loved ones lives.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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July 24, 2013
Driving Abroad

Planning your summer holiday? Will you be taking the car with you as you go abroad, or will you be driving a rental once you get to your sunny destination? Either way, there are a few points to consider if you intend to drive abroad this summer:

– Know what you need, pay for nothing more. Many car rental services will try to dazzle the unwary motorist with elaborate acronyms such as CDW (Collision Damage Waiver), SCDW (Super Collision Damage Waiver), LDW (Loss Damage Waiver), PEP (Personal Effects Protection), TP (Theft Protection), STP (Super Theft Protection) and more. Adding these onto your rental agreement will incur additional charges, which you may not even require, depending on your own personal requirements. Avoid the cons, and book these extras before you leave to save your money.

– If you’re taking your own car, breakdown cover is a necessity. Look around for the best deals relative to where you are going and what your needs will be, but always make sure you read the small print to ensure that you are covered as much as possible.

– Plan ahead. If you are a frequent traveller, it may be a good idea to simply have European Cover included in your normal breakdown cover. This could save you a lot of time, trouble and money in the long run.

– Consider your insurance. Not all insurance policies will cover you abroad, so it would be wise to check with your provider before beginning your journey to see exactly what eventuality you are protected against, and paying extra beforehand rather than afterwards.

– Remember, the rules are different out of the UK. For example, high visibility jackets are a necessity for truck drivers in various parts of Europe, and many places even make it a necessity to have a full first-aid kit within the vehicle. GB plates are an absolute must in the entire EU, and make sure your car is fully MOT’d and serviced before taking it anywhere.

– Drive safely. Respect the other countries road rules, and try not to draw unwanted attention to yourself in the event of being caught out for a minor mishap you never expected…

Safe driving this summer from Britannia!

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July 23, 2013
Driving in the Dark

Most of us motorists are far more used to driving in daylight than being behind the wheel after dark. But what do you do if you are new to driving at night time? Here are some of Britannia’s top tips for driving in the dark:

–          Drive slower than usual. As always, stay below the speed limit, however this becomes especially important at night time. With your vision of the distance obscured by the darkness ahead, it will become increasingly harder to see further ahead of you, and when driving at high speeds your stopping distance is increased when driving at high speeds. Drive slower than you are normally used to, even if this means holding other cars up behind you. They will overtake you if they need to, but just make sure you give yourself enough space and time to react to whatever may come out of the darkness.

–          Keep your windscreen clean. This goes for headlights too, your aim is to maximise visibility as much as possible to counteract the detrimental effects of the dark.

–          Stay alert. At night people and animals can seem to appear out of nowhere, so stay focused, exercise your peripheral vision, and keep an eye on everything as far as you can see around you.

–          Keep your headlights on dipped beam. Only use the main beam when in rural areas to avoid blinding other drivers. If other drivers behind you have made this mistake, simply find a safe place to pull over and allow them to pass you, returning yourself to a safer state of driving.

–          Pull over if tired. If you are driving long distances or on monotonous stretches of anonymous motorways, tiredness can set in very quickly. Pull over to a service station or another safe place, drink a cup of strong coffee and have a nap of 20 minutes or so to replenish yourself before continuing your journey.

–          Finally, driver normally. Whilst it might be nerve-racking to drive in darkness, if you continue to drive as safely as you do in broad daylight, you will avoid any problems.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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July 22, 2013
Drivers Urged to Watch Out for Children

UK Drivers are being urged to take extra caution this summer, due to the increase of children on the road now that schools have broken up for the six-week holidays.

Motorists are advised to ensure they stay well within the recommended speed limit, especially when driving in residential, built-up areas and on main roads.

Nottingham City Council road safety manager Pam Shaw has said of the issue: “With the long six-week school holidays now upon us there will, naturally, be an increase in the number of children out playing… All road users need to take extra care, not only on main roads but, especially, in built-up residential areas.”

Authorities are also stressing the importance of educating young children about the dangers of playing by roads, and encouraging the use of correct road usage, such as the green cross code.

Around 5,000 children under the age of 16 are injured or killed on British roads every year, with nearly two out of three accidents occurring whilst children are playing. With a little extra care this summer, we can reduce that figure as much as possible.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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July 22, 2013
Driving Test Retake For Older Drivers

Motorists should have to retake their driving tests after they reach the age of 65, according to a survey from Auto Trader.

About 4000 people took part in the survey, and 73% said that they were concerned about older drivers. More than 60% of respondents said that older drivers should have to prove their fitness to drive on a regular basis.

Emily Smith of Britannia Driving School said: “Older drivers must be given support and facts to assess whether they are fit and safe enough to continue driving and provided with additional training and information which could make driving easier and safer.”

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July 22, 2013
Driving with Sun-Strike

Whilst driving in the sun might seem all fun, it comes with is inherent dangers too. Problems such as your car overheating can be annoying; however the most prevalent threat comes in the form of the dreaded sun strike.

The glare from the sun is caused when the sun’s rays hit your windscreen at a low angle, causing a blinding light across the front of the vehicle. However this is more than just a nuisance – due to its nature of obscuring the vision of drivers, it can become a highly dangerous situation to be in when behind the wheel. Here are some top tips to avoid sun-strike when driving:

– Use your sun visor – This often overlooked tool, when utilised properly, really does help to block out excess light. Use it to shield yourself from dangerous glare, and continue driving safely.

– Ensure your windscreen is clean – smudges, smears and other blemishes across the windscreen can exacerbate the already dangerous glare – clean your windscreen at least once a week to reduce the risk of obscured vision behind the wheel.

– If you are driving around roads you know well, you will be familiar with the areas where sun-strike occurs most. Try to avoid these if the sun seems a bit harsh today, take a different route or prepare yourself for being momentarily short-sighted.

– Keep the dashboard clear – Reflections of bits of paper, old receipts and parking tickets will obscure your vision even more, an unnecessary handicap. Don’t increase your chances of driving headfirst into disaster.

– Finally, drive safely – Whilst driving safely is always recommended, it is especially important with sun-strike. Kill your speed, and maximise the distance between yourself and the car in front. In the event of having to break sharply, you will be glad you allowed yourself more stopping distance.

Take it easy out there drivers – the sun is great while it is here, but it make sure you always drive safely.

Safe Summer Driving from Britannia!

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