Monthly Archives: March 2014

March 31, 2014
Spared Jail After Wrong-Way Drive

Katie Homer, who was spotted driving the wrong way down the M5, has been spared jail. CCTV footage showed her driving north up the southbound carriageway swerving into lorries and going round a roundabout twice.

She was given a four-month jail term, suspended for 12 months, at Wolverhampton Crown Court. She was also sentenced to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, banned from driving for three years, and ordered to pay £200 costs.

Homer has pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and dangerous driving at a previous hearing. The sentencing judge told her she had committed a ‘very serious driving offence’.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 28, 2014
How to Avoid Road Rage

With the release of a news story today detailing a woman’s filming of an aggressive road rage driver (resulting in a car crash), Britannia has decided to provide you with its list of the best tips to avoid Road Rage:

1.) Plan your journey. Try to avoid routes that will be crammed with high congestion, as this is a contributing cause of road rage. Stay to calmer roads, and you will find your attitude much more relaxed too.

2.) Play the correct music. Studies have shown that the music you play can severely affect the way that you drive. Avoid heavy metal or heavy bass, and try to play softer music whilst behind the wheel.

3.) Maintain steady breathing. When you feel the onset of Road Rage, take a step back from the situation, and breathe slowly, allowing yourself to calm down before you launch into a fury.

4.) Drive courteously. Just like many other drivers on the roads may annoy you, you could just as easily be annoying many other drivers, likely without realising it. Drive with respect to others, and they will be more likely to do the same to you.

5.) Finally remember, it is not personal. If somebody has cut you up, or caused you to swerve or brake sharply, the chances are that they have made a driving mistake, or perhaps they are just a bad driver. They almost certainly did not do it intentionally to aggravate you, so don’t take it personally.

Hopefully following these tips will help you to reduce that road rage, and stay calm in high-pressure driving situations.

Safe driving from Britannia!


March 27, 2014
Scotland Criticises Delay In Restrictions For New Drivers

Scotland’s transport minister, Keith Brown, has hit out at the UK government over a delay in proposals to restrict driving licences for young drivers. Brown is keen to press ahead with graduated driver licensing (GDL) which would place some restrictions on young drivers; however, the Scottish government cannot introduce its own legislation as driver licensing is reserved to the UK government.

The Scottish government claimed that, despite making up just 10% of licence holders, people ages 17 to 25 account for 23% of drivers involved in road accidents causing injury. GDL puts certain restrictions on newly qualified drivers and is already enforced in Australia, New Zealand and parts of the USA. Such restrictions include a ban on driving at night, lower maximum speed limits and limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle.

Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone argued: ‘the testing process appears incapable of identifying young drivers who are most at risk of being involved in accidents’. This is because those at risk were often the most confident during the testing process and suggested more training might be the answer. He argues that the minimum driving test age should remain at 17 but that people should be able to start learning at 16, giving them the opportunity of a full year under instruction before the practical test.

Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson has introduced his Graduated Driving Licence Scheme Bill at Westminster and the first reading in the Commons is now scheduled for June 2014.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 26, 2014
Foreign Language Driving Tests To Be Stopped

From the 7th April learners will not be able to take their car and motorcycle theory tests with a voiceover in 1 of 19 foreign languages. They will also not be able to use interpreters on theory tests and practical tests.

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) consulted earlier last year on a series of proposals reviewing the level of foreign language support available to candidates. More than 70% of the people who responded supported the withdrawal of foreign language voiceovers and interpreters on tests.

Many people agreed that a lack of understanding of the national language meant that some drivers may not be able to understand traffic signs, speak with traffic enforcement officers and read details of the road.

Candidates with dyslexia or other reading difficulties will still be able to take their theory test with an English or Welsh language voiceover. Candidates who are deaf or have hearing difficulties will still be able to take their theory test in British Sign Language (BSL) and take a BSL interpreter with them on their practical test.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 25, 2014
Posture When Driving

After startling figures were released this week revealing that 80% of Britons suffer from severe lower back pain when driving, Britannia has decided to emphasise the importance of correct posture when driving:

1.) Firstly reduce the seat to its lowest and farthest back point. Then from here, raise the height of the seat and inch it forward so that your knees and hips are level.

2.) You should be able to firmly press all of the pedals without your back leaving the seat. If you need to lean forward at all, your seat is too far back.

3.) Keep your back straight. Although many cars have a recline position for their driver’s seat, this is not the best position to use. The farther forward the better (not only for good posture, but also in the event of an accident).

4.) Adjust the head-rest and the seat-belts so both are firm, yet not too constricting. You should feel comfortable, yet safe when driving.

5.) Move the steering wheel into the optimum position. This is found when you can easily see over the top of the wheel, and can rest your wrists on the top of the wheel without it being too far down towards your legs.

If you’re going to be driving this spring, make sure that you have the correct posture, or you may regret it later!

Safe driving from Britannia!


March 24, 2014
Short-Notice Test Cancellations

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are to introduce a more flexible approach to the way it handles practical tests cancelled by candidates at short notice from 1st April 2014.

As it stands, candidates automatically lose their fee if they cancel or change their test without giving DVSA 3 clear working days’ notice.

From 1st April, candidates will be able to rebook their test at short notice with no charge if they can’t take their test for the following reasons:

– A medically certified illness
– A bereavement
– School exams

DVSA will also continue to offer a refund or new test date to serving members of the armed forces who are called for duty.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 21, 2014
Spring Clean Your Car!

At last we have made it through the treacherous winter conditions, as we edge tentatively into the first few days of spring. Whilst that may put a spring in your step, remember that your car has probably seen much more of the abysmal weather than you have, and the start of this new fresh season does not just mean it is time to spring clean your house, but your car as well.

Here are Britannia’s top tips for spring cleaning your car:

– Check your tyres. After all those wet and icy roads, it is inevitable that your car will have used up some of the tread on its tyres. The road-legal limit is 1.6 mm, however most car manufacturers recommend replacing them at 3mm to be on the safe side.

– Remove any old junk. Bad weather may cause you to leave bits and bobs inside your car to save exposing them to the harsher elements, but improving weather means you can now de-clutter all that mess. Don’t forget to go through your boots and get rid of any non-essential items. This will also help you to drive more economically.

– Check your oil. Many drivers forget to check their oil and water levels in their car over winter, or are put off by poor weather, however there is no excuse now. Take a look, and don’t take a chance. Change your oil and oil filter!

– Recharge your battery. If your car is more for leisure, then you may have put it into storage over the colder months, meaning now you will have to charge it up again or even replace it.

– Clean the underside of the car. Snow and grit often collect in these parts of cars over winter and begin to eat away at the metal. Give this a good scrubbing down to remove any excess grit that could damage your engine and chassis.

Safe driving from Britannia!

What are your thoughts on this article? Sound off in the comments section below!


March 20, 2014
How Being Ill Can Affect Your Driving

According to Professor Russell Foster, a neuroscientist at Oxford University, an underlying health issue can seriously and dangerously compromise our concentration when driving.

People who snore in their sleep can nod off at the wheel. According to research, snoring is caused when the muscles in the throat relax. If the throat closes completely, you stop breathing for a couple of seconds, and the brain realising it is being starved of oxygen, forces you to wake up. this can happen up to 100 times a night disrupting the sleep cycle. This is termed sleep apnoea syndrome, the effect of which is feeling tired all day which can day make you fall asleep at the wheel, especially on long journeys.

A heavy cold or flu can drop our concentration when driving by more than 50% according to research at Cardiff University, which is equivalent to downing more than four double whiskies. Sneezing can also make a driver drive blind for up to 50 feet. An increasing number of adults are developing hay fever for the first time which may cause them to sneeze uncontrollably which is a driving hazard, in particular on a motorway, as we tend to close our eyes when we sneeze.

Medication can even affect driving – in particular, anti-histamine and codeine can cause drowsiness hence slow reaction times, low concentration levels and blurry eyesight.

If you have an accident and only discover afterwards it was due to an underlying health issue, you may lose your licence or worse. It is your responsibility to ensure you are healthy enough to drive.

Safe driving from Britannia!

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 19, 2014
Manual or Automatic?

One of the first decisions to make before starting lessons is whether to learn on a manual or automatic.

It is perceived easier to learn on an automatic car due to the lack of a clutch and gears. However, you must bear in mind that all the other complexities, apart from the clutch and gears, in driving still exist in an automatic. So, it is true that learning in an automatic is easier due to the absence of gears but everything else still remains the same.

The only downside to passing in an automatic is that it restricts you to only driving in an automatic car and you would need to take another practical test in order to be able to drive a manual car. Fortunately, more and more cars are automatic and so the availability of automatic cars is much higher than previously. So a lot of motorists are now finding no need to be able to drive in a manual car as automatic cars are more readily available.

Passing in a manual car entitles you to drive in both an automatic and manual car with no need for a further practical test. If you are looking to passing your test quickly, you may want to consider intensive driving courses which can see you taking your practical test within 2 weeks.

If you can’t make up your mind, it is best to take an introductory lesson on a manual car and an automatic car and see which one you prefer to learn on.

What are your thoughts on this article? Send your views to Britannia Driving School by using the comments link below:


March 18, 2014
Scottish Voted Worst UK Drivers

Scottish drivers are the worst on UK roads, a new survey has shown.

One and a half thousand Scottish motorists have broken a series of new laws issues by the government to clamp down on poor driving behaviour, such as lane-hogging and tailgating.

Since the changes were implemented in August last year, over 5,000 drivers were penalised for their bad driving habits, with a proportional majority of these on Scottish roads.

These driving transgressions included driving through puddles and drenching pedestrians, as well as mounting the pavement.

When proven to be guilty of the offences, the perpetrators were liable for on-the-spot fines of £100 and 3 points on their license, or the option to take a Safe Driving Course.

The issue seems much more significant when it is considered that the fatal crash rate was higher on Scottish roads than elsewhere in the UK.

What are your thoughts on this article? Sound off in the comments section below!

Safe (and considerate) driving from Britannia!