December 13, 2017
Beware of Black Ice on the Roads

Black ice forms on roads and pavements, so-called black because of the colour of the road it forms on. The coat of frozen water is transparent because it is so thin and therefore almost impossible to see.

Black ice typically occurs when the temperature rises above freezing and snow on the ground melts, making road surfaces wet. The temperature then drops below freezing, turning this moisture on the road to ice.

Overpasses and bridges are common places for black ice to form because of cold air flowing under the road, lowering the temperature of the surface. Also parts of the road that are shaded by trees or other objects can typical areas for black ice.

On encountering black ice, keep your steering wheel straight. Turning the wheel increases the chance of sliding and losing control of your vehicle. Also, braking hard will cause your vehicle to slide. Reduce your speed by taking your foot off the accelerator – it’s best to let your vehicle stop by itself, providing you have enough room in front of you.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 12, 2017
Driving in Icy Weather and Avoiding Fines

Driving at this time of year when the temperature drops can be very daunting! Increased winds, rain, snow and other unpleasant weather can affect the way your car behaves and make the roads hugely hazardous. On top of which, having less daylight heightens the difficulty drivers face on the roads.

On approaching the coldest nights of the year, it’s important that drivers ensure that their vehicles are road safe before they head off, to minimise the risk of damaging their vehicles or endangering their lives.

Your car’s windscreen washer fluid contains anti-freeze that stops the water from freezing when the temperature drops. Make sure your fluid is topped up before your journey – running out on your journey not only proves hazardous but according to the Road Vehicles Regulations 1986 it is illegal to not have fluid in your car’s screen washer bottle.

Having incorrect tyre pressure will not only cost you money as it reduces your car’s fuel efficiency, but it can also be dangerous especially if you’re travelling long distance. Be sure that each tyre meets the legal tread depth guidelines of 1.6mm.

Make sure your wiper blades are fully functional and can deal with the grit, snow and ice that is likely to occur during the winter months. Blades should be changed every 12 months, as the rubber can perish if exposed to extreme temperatures. And remember that when defrosting your windscreen before travelling, don’t leave the engine to idle as it could land you a £20 fine.

Your car battery can also become less efficient during the winter season. If it cuts out but doesn’t run flat, you can jump start it and then drive for at least 20 minutes to recharge it.

You should also never pour boiling water on the windscreen as it could cause it to crack, and ensure that you completely clear the car’s windows of ice before driving off or you could risk a £60 fine.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 11, 2017
Clear the Snow off Your Car to Avoid Fines!

If you don’t clear the snow from your vehicle before driving off, you could land yourself a hefty fine.
Motorists could also be hit with points on their licence – even if there is snow on their car roof that doesn’t obscure windows.

Those caught driving without clearing their car sufficiently are in breach of Rule 229 of the The Highway Code, stating that all windows, lights and number plates on your vehicle must be clear of snow.

Failure to do so will result in a £60 fine and three penalty points on your licence. However, the rule also requires motorists to remove any snow that could fall from their car and into the path of other road users.

An AA spokesman stated that when driving around with 12 inches of snow on your car, there is the possibility it will fall off at some stage, which is going to pose a danger to other road users – if snow falls off the roof it could obscure another driver’s vision, which can get serious for you if it causes an accident.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 8, 2017
The Law About Hands-Free When Driving

A woman was jailed for three years after hitting and killing a motorcyclist while making a hands-free call. She was travelling on the wrong side of the road before colliding head-on with the motorcyclist.

The driver of the car was convicted of dangerous driving after prosecutors argued that she was distracted while driving. She was also given a four-year driving ban.

Lincoln Crown Court heard the motorist was in mid-conversation on a long call with her friend when she veered across the road and hit the 26-year-old man on 7th November, 2016. She denied that she had been distracted after claiming she had hit a pothole, which had caused her to lose control – but police found no evidence to support this.

It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile phone while driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This also applies if you are waiting at traffic lights or queuing in traffic. It is also illegal to use a mobile phone while supervising a learner driver.

While using hands-free is not illegal, it can cause a distraction and affect your ability to drive safely, meaning you can still be prosecuted. Research reveals that drivers are nine times more likely to be involved in a collision while using hands-free phones at the wheel.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 7, 2017
Is it Safe/Legal to Decorate Your Car at Christmas?

This is the questions that many British motorists are asking this festive season! By all means, there is no harm in adding a little Christmas cheer to your vehicle – but within reason. For instance, no decorations should obscure the view of the driver, and any exterior modifications must not endanger the driver, any passengers or other road users.

By shining multi-coloured lights from the front and/or rear of your vehicle you run the risk of confusing or dazzling other road users, and being pulled over by the police for dangerous driving. Fairy lights are therefore not recommended for displaying in the car!

A front-mounted wreath or any decorations fixed to the bonnet or roof of your car could come unattached and pose a hazard if, heaven forbid, you are involved in an accident. Remember, a safe vehicle means a sensible driver.

A solar-powered Santa or Rudolph on your dashboard should certainly suffice without causing any unnecessary distraction or danger! If you’re unsure which festive decoration ideas are deemed safe and legal for displaying in your vehicle, do a little homework before you go driving!

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 6, 2017
Prescribed Medicines Dangerous When Driving

UK motorists are being warned about drug driving as certain prescribed medication could potentially result in them receiving a driving ban, jail sentence and/or unlimited fines.

Official figures revealed nearly four motorists are being taken off the road every day in the UK for driving under the influence of drugs – meaning that an overall 1,440 motorists are being convicted every year for drug driving. March 2015 saw new road-side drug screening devices being introduced, along with new limits for a range of prescribed medication. This enables restrictions on the various forms of medication that drivers may take safely while behind the wheel.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesman Chief Constable stated that the change in the law has led to thousands more prosecutions of motorists who may well have previously escaped detection. Apparently, far too many people still attempt to drive under the influence of drugs.

The list of substances that police will now test for also include common medication/prescription drugs that people previously deemed completely innocuous. Illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin can see you banned immediately, but so can over-the-counter medication such as codeine. Furthermore, antihistamines can cause drowsiness, which in turn could impair and affect your driving.

Before taking any medication, people are reminded that they should always read the safety leaflet before driving. If unsure, they should ask the pharmacist whether or not they are safe to drive. Prescription drugs deemed impactful on driving by the DVLA include Amphetamine, Clonazepam, Diazepam, Flunitrazepam, Lorazepam, Methadone, Morphine or opiate and opioid-based drugs, eg Codeine, Tramadol or Fentanyl, Oxazepam and Temazepam.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 5, 2017
UK’s Drink Driving Capital 2017

New statistics reveal where to avoid when out on the road this festive period. For the past two years, Crewe has been shamefully crowned the UK city with the highest rate of drink and/or drug-driving offences. However, that’s not the case in 2017…

A review of more than 7 million insurance quotes has identified Sunderland as having the highest proportion of drivers convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to the review of insurance quotes, the haven from dangerous drink and drug-drivers is London – though that shouldn’t come as much a surprise considering the higher use of public transport and the introduction of the night tube on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 4, 2017
New Driving Test Prompts UK Examiners to go on Strike

The Public and Commercial Service union has warned that thousands of driving tests could be cancelled as a result of examiners beginning a 48-hour strike. The union says the new driving test means examiners will have to work longer and harder for no extra pay.

The chief executive of the DVSA stated the union was “trying to undermine” the new test. He said it showed a “shameful disregard for both road safety and learner drivers who have worked so hard”.

The DVSA said the new test offered a more realistic assessment of driving skills.

The PCS general secretary said his union had tried to negotiate: “No one takes strike action lightly and we acknowledge the disruption to the driving tests for learner drivers keen to pass their test.”

The union said examiners, who are employed by the DVSA, were being told to work harder as the tests come into force.

It said the tests were being accompanied by a “flexible working” regime, which gives managers the ability to deploy driving test examiners anywhere they choose without notice.

The PCS says this could mean staff working six days a week, but only being paid for five.

The DVSA said this was “simply not true”, adding that it had recruited more than 320 extra driving examiners in the past year.

What are your thoughts on the new test?

Safe driving from Britannia!

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December 1, 2017
Safe Ways of Restraining Your Dog in the Car While Driving

While many dogs will sit quietly on your back seat while you’re driving, others might move around, leap about and most likely cause a distraction. Even if your four-legged friend is well behaved in the car, it’s still vital to provide some means of restraint for them in case of an unexpected bump in the road or, heaven forbid, you are involved in an accident. The force of an impact could cause your dog to be thrown forwards in the car, resulting in serious injury or even death.

A dog should never sit on your lap while you are driving, or even on the laps of any passengers. It is generally safer for them to travel in the back of your vehicle as opposed to on the passenger seat. If your dog is happy to sit quietly in a crate or cage, then this is one potential option for restraining your dog when out driving. Alternatively, dog guards can be fitted in your vehicle, between the back seat and the boot area, providing a restricted area for your dog to be contained within.

For smaller dogs, it is possible to purchase a special “doggy booster seat” that ensures a comfortable seating position and safe attachment to the car. Harnesses are also available in most pet stores, and are generally considered to be the best and safest choice of restraint for your dog when travelling.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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November 30, 2017
“Hundreds” of Underage Drivers Caught Every Year in UK

A 15-year-old boy has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving after five people died after a car smashed into a tree.

Two men and three children all travelling in the same car, were instantly killed in the “catastrophic” crash on Saturday night in Leeds.

West Yorkshire Police said the suspect would appear at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning, charged with five counts of causing death by dangerous driving.

The crash happened just before 10pm when shocked neighbours reported hearing a “loud bang” and seeing a car “completely squashed”. A forensic investigator was later seen photographing debris next to yellow evidence markers.

Recent research by an insurance firm has shown that hundreds of underage drivers are being caught every year in the UK, and numbers are rising. Last year alone, 725 under 17s received a driving ban after being caught behind the wheel, before they’re even old enough to hold a licence.

This has prompted calls for tougher penalties to prevent underage driving. The number of repeat offenders suggests that the current system of disqualification is not proving an effective deterrent to underage drivers, with some children caught behind the wheel 15 times.

Safe driving from Britannia!

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