Monthly Archives: November 2010

November 30, 2010
Petrol prices to rocket, warns motoring group

Petrol pump prices have risen sharply after falling back during the summer, prompting fresh warnings from motoring organisations over the impact of increased costs for drivers.

A monthly index published by the Automobile Association today shows unleaded at an average of 117.75p a litre – a 2.5p rise on the mid-September price – while diesel has gone up even more, rising from 3.28p to stand at an average of 121.30p a litre.

With the price of oil and wholesale petrol prices threatening to hit a high point last seen in April, motorists may yet see sharper increases in fuel prices, the AA warned.

However, it said a stronger pound would mean it was less likely that a record of 121.61p for a litre of unleaded would be breached again.

The latest increase follows a Government pledge to introduce a pilot scheme to discount the cost of petrol in the Highlands and islands by 5p a litre.

Though the average cost of petrol and diesel in Scotland is marginally lower than the UK as a whole, rural areas and islands have been subject to some of the highest prices, due to the added cost of transporting fuel.

On Islay, for instance, a litre of diesel can be as high as 133.3p, while a litre of unleaded is 132.1p.

The pilot scheme announced by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, earlier this month will result in a maximum 5p discount on petrol and diesel in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, and the Isles of Scilly. The Treasury is currently discussing the proposal with the European Commission to finalise the implementation and design of the scheme.


November 29, 2010

Nissan car makers have introduced a new concept whereby technology combined with radar sensors will work alongside the driver in order to reduce accidents.

We already have parking sensors in order to help us get into those small spaces. They act like having somebody beside the car telling you when you are about to hit the kerb. Yet the new computer system offered by Nissan will exceed this.

The vehicle will be able to assess the car’s speed and produce information about the distance between the driver and the car in front.

It will also react to the driver’s movement, whereby if they lift their foot from the accelerator, the car will automatically begin to slow down. When the driver touches the accelerator again, the car will keep going.

Even more impressive is the sensors in the car which can gage the drivers alcohol levels. The gear stick will measure the alcohol in the driver’s sweat and will warn the driver that they are over the limit and should not drive.

Drink-driving and tiredness make up a large percentage or car accidents each year and Nissan are trying to find ways to combat this. They also plan to introduce a camera which will monitor the driver’s tiredness levels and will recognise if the car is drifting between lanes.

Emily Smith of Britannia Driving School said: “This all sounds pretty extraordinary and in hindsight it is a good idea, yet who would purchase such a car. It is thought that the average driver would find all these functions intrusive. Perhaps large commercial vehicles and taxi drivers would benefit from such technology, only time will tell.”

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November 28, 2010

When you drive a car, it is important to be in proper control of the vehicle and this includes wearing the correct shoes.

Driving footwear should be comfortable and provide adequate ankle support but at the same time allow ankle flexibility.

It is often hard to get the correct thickness of the sole. Too thin or no shoes at all will reduce braking force, yet a thick sole may reduce the pedal pressure, it can often be hard to judge how much pressure you are applying.

Flip flops and other slip-on shoes are not a good idea as your foot may slip off the pedal. The same thing may happen even if you are wearing the correct shoes but they are slippery due to wet weather, so ensure you dry them before setting off.

Women leave the heels at home or at least swap them when you arrive at your destination. Wearing heels whilst driving is dangerous, the heel can become jammed and trapped under the pedal, this time delay could potentially cause an accident. Just as importantly you may break the heel and then you would have a ruined pair of shoes!

Emily Smith of Britannia Driving School said: “Keep a spare pair of shoes in the car, you don’t want to be caught out. Quick reactions whilst driving can be the different between life and death.”

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November 25, 2010
Speed cameras to be turned back ON in Oxfordshire due to rise in motoring offences

One of the first counties in Britain to switch off its speed cameras is to turn them back on again – after speeding offences soared.

Oxfordshire deactivated its 72 cameras and 89 mobile units on August 1.

The move came after Oxfordshire County Council withdrew its funding to Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership, which co-ordinates speed enforcement.

Shortly afterwards the Partnership claimed the number of drivers speeding past the deactivated cameras had increased by up to 88 per cent.

The switch-off brought a storm of protest from road safety groups and residents who warned it would lead to an increase in accidents.

But on Tuesday it was revealed that the police and council were nearing a deal to turn all the cameras back on.

A county council spokesman said: “We’ve been in discussion with our partners at Thames Valley Police and we’re close to an agreement to have the cameras switched back on in the future.

“We look forward to being able to reveal the detail of that agreement in future weeks.”  The county had withdrawn £600,000 in funding to the Safer Roads Partnership – an organisation of the police and local roads authorities – because of Government cuts.

Oxfordshire switched off its cameras shortly after Swindon announced it was switching off its cameras from July 31.


November 24, 2010

A man from Lancaster admitted to driving his car whilst over the drink drive limit for more than three miles.

The man remembers drinking alcohol but then going to sleep with no intention to drive. He told magistrates that he had no memory of getting in his car and all he remembers is waking up in the back of an ambulance.

The man was clearly going through the motions when driving, as he got in the car, switched his lights on and drove more than three miles before hitting any bother or a wall!

A psychologist involved in the case said it is possible to sleep-walk whilst under the influence of alcohol and that he believes the man did not plan to drive and that it was an involuntary action. The man was cleared of the charge and no further action was taken.

This is an extraordinary case and one that anti drink-drive campaigners are appalled by.

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November 23, 2010
Fuel Card News Motoring Updates: Super speed cameras

Fleet drivers are being warned about a new speed camera, designed to detect motorists who are committing up to five different driving offences, which could soon be appearing on Britain’s roads.

The Asset camera will be able to catch drivers who are speeding, measure distances between vehicles, pick out drivers who aren’t wearing seatbelts and identify vehicles without insurance or valid tax disks.

The European Commission has funded the new super speed camera, which is named Asset; advanced safety and driver support for essential road transport, and is currently being developed by a number of European institutions.

It has been reported that researchers hope to have the camera set up across Europe by 2013.

Senior research scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland, Matti Kutila, said: “The intention is to support traffic police to supervise that the drivers follow traffic rules such as wearing seat belts, preventing over-speeding and maintaining sufficient distance to the front vehicle. This, of course, is beneficial for road safety.”


November 22, 2010

Drivers in parts of Scotland have been warned about driving in the month of November after statistics show that November is the most dangerous month.

Scottish government records shows that the most road casualties are recorded in the month of November. It is thought that as the nights get darker more quickly and the weather conditions can change from day to day, drivers need to be more vigilant.

As we head further into the winter season, icy roads, fallen leaves and darker roads can all contribute to car accidents.

Demist the inside of your car thoroughly before setting off. It can often look misleading in the morning with the sun shining however, take extra care before setting off and leave yourself plenty of time to de-ice the car if necessary.

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November 19, 2010

Different vehicles require different category entitlements on the licence and the minimum age will vary depending on the vehicle.

Most people will hold a category B licence. This entitles them to drive a motor vehicle with no more than eight passenger seats and with or without a trailer weighing no more than 750kg.What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:

Some will hold a category B auto licence this is the same as above however they are not allowed to drive a manual transmission.

B + E category allows you to drive with a heavier trailer than category B.

B1 category refers to motor tricycles and three or four wheeled vehicles.

The general rule is you must be a minimum of 17 years of age to hold any of the licences above. However, you are entitled to drive at 16 if you receive Disability Living Allowance.

To drive a motorcycle the age requirements are slightly different.

P category refers to a moped with a maximum speed of 50mph and an engine size no more than 50cc. You are allowed to possess this licence at just 16 years of age.

A1 refers to a motorbike with an engine size of up to 125cc and will require you to be 17 years of age.

A bus (more than eight passenger seats) with a trailer no heavier than 750kg holds the D category and you must be 21 years of age. With a trailer heavier than 750kg the category falls under D + E.

There are often exemptions and different age restrictions for those in the Armed Forces and for those that may hold a permit. The same is to be said for those that passed their test before January 1997 the category codes will differ on their licence, so please contact the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) for clarification if you are unsure.

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November 18, 2010
Rising fuel prices, reducing speed

Speed cameras are not as effective as the cost of filling up your vehicle at reducing motorists’ speed, new research by RoadPilot has revealed.

Almost half of UK motorists claim to have reduced their average speed in the past 12 months, with concern over rising fuel prices being the main motivation.

Thirty-three per cent of those questioned in the survey said fuel prices had caused them to slow down, and only 13 per cent claimed traffic enforcement was the reason.

Meanwhile, environmental concerns caused only ten per cent of motorists to reduce their speed.


November 17, 2010

Learner drivers not only have to contend with the theory test, practical test and basic knowledge of how the car works and how to spot problems with the vehicle, but how to save the environment too.

Cars, mobile phones and the like are a part of our society and people won’t stop using them. So let’s at least try to reduce out carbon footprint and educate the next generation.

It is easier to start with learner drivers, we can mould their driving and outlook and not only teach them techniques that will allow them to drive in a low-emission way but also how to save them some money.

Its small things like; planning ahead not just on long journeys but looking at your surroundings and making a decision earlier rather than later.

Limiting the number of gear changes and allowing the car to do most of the work. If you are travelling downhill or slowing down ease of the accelerator.

Checking tyre pressure and ditching any excess weight whether it be bags in the boot or a fuel tank of petrol (yes its more eco-friendly to have no more than half a tank of fuel) will help the environment and should allow you to have a more relaxing drive knowing your saving the pounds.

Emily Smith of Britannia Driving School said: “It is not just learners that can learn these skills, it’s never too late for the rest of the driving population to take refresher lessons and change their ways. Help save the planet and save yourself money too.”

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