Monthly Archives: February 2014

February 28, 2014
Combat Driving Fatigue

With hints of the weather starting to improve as we edge ever-so-cautiously into spring, many of us will be tempted to load up the car and go for long drives into the country, or even on summer holiday trips away. But along with long journeys comes driving fatigue, a proven deadly hazard. Here are Britannia’s top tips to fight the tiredness:

– If you will be driving more than 2 hours, take a stop every two hours, just for fifteen minutes or so. Whilst this will length your journey time somewhat, it will dramatically improve your concentration when driving.

– If driving with a partner, friend or relative who is also able (legally) to drive your car, share the journey, so fatigue is only half as likely to set in.

– Stay hydrated. Lack of fluid in the body is a huge cause of tiredness.

– Avoid travelling late or in the dark, as this exacerbates fatigue.

– Be aware of your alertness – if you start to feel drowsy, pull over at the earliest opportunity and take a short walk around a service station. If in need, drink a cup of strong coffee or other caffeine-based beverage, but be wary that this will only work once in a journey.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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February 27, 2014
Drink-Driving The Wrong Way Up The M5

Katie Homer, 26, has been banned from the road after being caught on camera driving north up the hard shoulder of the southbound carriageway of the M5 for four miles until leaving the motorway at junction one for West Bromwich.

She also circled a roundabout twice before being finally stopped by police in the early hours of December 4 last year. She was spotted leaving the motorway up the entry slip road at 2.30am.

CCTV footage released by West Midlands Police shows Homer speeding down the wrong way, forcing vehicles, including a lorry driver, to swerve out of her way. She was recorded as having 79mcg of alcohol in 100 ml of breath – more than twice the legal limit of 35mcg.

She was given an interim disqualification from driving at her hearing last Thursday and was released on bail until her sentencing hearing on March 28.

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February 26, 2014
Speeding Fine On A Driving Lesson

A learner driver, 17-year-old Stacie Ralphes, was on a lesson in Weymouth, and was clocked travelling at 36mph through a 30mph zone. Stacie was shocked that she was liable for the incident rather than her driving instructor after receiving a speeding ticket from Dorset Police.

She was given the option of taking three penalty points or attending a driver awareness course. She opted for the driver awareness course but will have to fund the £110 course fee herself. She claims to have lost her confidence when driving through this and has said she does not want to go driving again after this fiasco.

Stacie and her mum are calling for awareness of learner drivers that they are liable for offences while on lessons.

Despite the disappointment expressed by Stacie, the law is clear that if a motoring offence is committed then the driver is liable for any penalty. It would be illegal for anyone other than the driver, including a driving instructor, to take the penalty.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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February 25, 2014
Deadly Driver Distractions

A new survey of 1500 drivers has found that UK drivers are easily distracted… with children in the car as the biggest culprit of driver distraction.

Almost a third of the drivers surveyed have admitted that their children proved the biggest disruption to their concentration whilst behind the wheel, with a variety of other interferences affecting their driving.

May drivers attributed a busy lifestyle to a need to use their mobile phones whilst driving (despite many admitting to using phones when driving purely for Social Media). Other interruptions to a normal flow of driving included changing the radio channel, paying attention to passenger’s instructions when driving, trying to comprehend the sat nav’s directions, or even ogling attractive pedestrians.

Whatever the cause of your distraction when driving, remember that the road requires your maximum concentration. Anything less is simply bad driving.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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February 24, 2014
Campaign For Practical Tests To Be Filmed

PoliceWitness.com is urging in-car cameras to be used to record practical tests in order to allow instructors and students to ensure that the test was carried out fairly.

Examiners should be accountable, and as highlighted by PoliceWitness.com, the examiner may have been having a bad day or are prejudiced in some way. Or perhaps they examiner may pass a student because of their gender or that the need to pass another pupil. These assertions may seem absurd but without evidence of how the test is conducted, there is no way of knowing whether these assertions are really that bizarre.

In addition, use of in-car cameras on a practical test would also be useful for instructors and pupils to see how the learner performed, what they struggled with as well as whether it was worthy of a fail.

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February 21, 2014
Teen Defies the Odds to Pass Driving Test

A teenager with learning difficulties, who was told aged just seven that she would never be able to drive – has defied the odds and passed her practical driving test… on her first time!

18-year old Abigail Elstone, who suffers from dyslexia and dyscalculia, which gives her problems with reading and writing and comprehending arithmetic, has recently passed her theory test on the ninth attempt, and her practical test on her first attempt.

The teenager, a hairdressing student from Cannock, West Midlands, has said:

“It feels so amazing to be able to drive. Even though it took nine times to pass the theory I did not want to give up. I am so happy to have passed. It is a big achievement for me and I am very proud.”

Abigail has been described as an inspiration by not giving up despite struggling with the theory tests, as well as by managing to pass her full practical test before she even turned eighteen.

What are your thoughts on this article? Do you know someone who overcame adversity to drive?

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February 20, 2014
Driving in Water

With the now infamous flooding pouring in all over the country, it is inevitable that our roads are soon to be swamped. Whilst here at Britannia we do advise against driving around any flooded areas, we do know that sometimes it can be unavoidable when you reach an unexpectedly waterlogged road.

Here are our top tips for driving in flood zones:

– Keep an eye as far ahead as possible. If the road ahead is even slightly flooded, approach with caution. Do not enter a flooded area if you are unsure where the flooding ends.

– Drive slowly to avoid soaking other cars and/or pedestrians.

– Drive on the highest section of the road you can to avoid submerging yourself in water unnecessarily.

– Ensure that you keep your revs high all the time whilst driving through water.

– When in deep water, keep your foot firmly on the accelerator at all times- this will help to prevent water from travelling up the exhaust of your car and causing damage.

If your local area is at risk of flooding, do try to avoid any journey at all, unless absolutely essential. Driving in flooding can only put both yourself and your car at risk.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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February 19, 2014
Speeding Fines From Black Box Covers

Black box covers are known to give motorists discounts on insurances which is why a lot of motorists, in particular young drivers, have opted for such covers. However, it has now been revealed that drivers who sign up for black box car cover can be hit with a £100 fine from their insurer if they speed.

Motorists who have opted for such policies are discovering that the reductions in insurance are impossible to get and that they are instead being subject to other fees. Sell your car, switch policy or breach the smallprint, and you could be hit with hefty penalties. Most insurers issue warnings if a motorist breaks rules such a regularly driving at 40mph in a 30mph zone. If these alerts are ignored and the driver carries on driving poorly, the insurer can fine them one a case-by-case basis. The fines can be as much as £100 and in the worst cases the insurer could cancel the policy altogether.

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February 18, 2014
Driving in Severe Winds

With the current threat of gale-force winds attacking our roads this season, safe driving has never been more important.

Here are our top tips for driving in severe winds:

Find an alternative route if possible. Find a route sheltered by buildings which can block dangerous wind, and way from trees which are a hazard of falling over. Although the urban roads may be busy with traffic, they will be much safer.

Be aware of other road users. Strong gusts of wind can cause unpredictable road behaviour, so be on your strongest guard.

Drive slowly. This will reduce the risk of losing control of your vehicle should a sudden gust of wind hit your car.

Allow yourself plenty of room. Do not get too close to buildings, pedestrians or other road users, as your close proximity is likely to exacerbate the strong wind and lead to a dangerous situation.

By following these simple instructions, you should be able to drive safely through the treacherous conditions and head straight on into summer driving.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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February 17, 2014
Motorway Closed Due To Sinkhole

A 10-mile section of the M2 in North Kent was closed for 2 days due to a 15ft-deep hole was discovered in the central reservation. This stretch of the motorway was closed in order for the Highways Agency to find out what caused the hole to open and also for safety reasons.

This only occurred on the central reservation; had this hole opened up on a carriageway, the consequences would have been much worse. The fact that it occurred on a busy motorway is a significant concern and by staying shut this has caused traffic problems.

Sinkholes have been a common problem recently. A giant sinkhole that opened up in a residential street in Hemel Hempstead caused more than a dozen houses to be evacuated whilst another sinkhole in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, swallowed a car earlier this month.

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