FAQs

I would like to improve my driving skills can Derby Advanced Motorists help me?

Yes, of course! Any qualified driver who wants to improve their driving skills is an ideal candidate for RoadSmart, our Advanced Driving Course.

I am a disabled driver. Can I become an advanced driver?

There is absolutely no reason why you should not achieve our highest driving test awards. We welcome qualified drivers with any disability who enjoy a challenge! If you drive an adapted car, that’s just fine.

I’ve just passed my driving test; can I join the Derby Group of Advanced Motorists?

Yes, you can, but the group would prefer you to have a few months experience of driving on your own and clocking up a reasonable number of road miles before joining. The RoadSmart course is a great way to develop your driving skills and gain confidence.

How much will the course cost?

At the moment the RoadSmart driving course costs £149 all in and it is very good value for money!

You will get the RoadSmart course manual, a current copy of the Highway Code, a copy of Know Your Traffic Signs, sessions with our advanced drivers who will give advice on how to improve your driving skills, the cost of the Advanced Driving Test itself and a year’s membership of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and Derby Advanced Motorists Group.

In addition, you will have access to competitive insurance from IAM Surety, a year’s subscription to the members’ magazine Advanced Driving, the Derby Group newsletter and any activities we may organise.

Will I drive a dual controlled car with an instructor?

No, you will drive your own car but it must be taxed, insured for you to drive and, if applicable, have a current MOT certificate. You must hold a full driving license for the class of vehicle. You will drive with a qualified advanced driver, who will observe the way you drive and offer suggestions and tips for improvement. The observer will not attempt to operate any controls or make any driving decisions for you.

How long will it take me to achieve the advanced driving test standard?

This much depends on you! If you are an experienced, confident driver with few bad driving habits, then you should be test ready fairly quickly. For some drivers it takes a little longer. Derby Advanced Motorists cannot guarantee everyone will reach the required standard but if you take on board the advice given and are able to put it into practice, then three to six months should see the job done! Be aware that there are no additional fees for the first year no matter how many sessions you want to take.

What does the Advanced Driving Test involve?

To become one of the most skilled drivers on the road is quite an achievement. The test takes around 60 to 90 minutes, covering a number of different routes and scenarios, including country roads and, if possible, motorway driving. To pass, you will demonstrate your awareness of other road users and how to adapt to different conditions and hazards showing such skills as optimum road positioning and an ability to deal with situations as they occur.

How do I join?

The national group of the Institute of Advanced Motorists:

Click: www.iamroadsmart.com

Call: 0300 303 1134

To find out more about the Derby Group of Advanced Motorists please contact:

The Group Secretary: John Butler (reltubj1b@gmail.com)

or phone 01773 824822

or you can drop by at our next Sunday run. We’d love to meet you!

Derby Advanced Motorists is a Registered Charity – Number 1057462

 

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Rainy Day Driving

Rainy Day Driving

The wettest parts of the UK are concentrated in mountainous regions with observation sites in Snowdonia, the Lake District and the Scottish Highlands all receiving more than 4 metres of rainfall in a year.

Other rainy parts of the UK include:

  • North west England – especially the Lake District in Cumbria and western facing slopes of the Pennines.

  • Western and central Wales – particularly the mountainous Snowdonia region in the north.

  • South west England – mainly the higher elevation areas of Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor.

  • Parts of Northern Ireland.

For us in the Watnall weather station region, we are likely to get 20 to 25 days rain annually that is greater than 10mm, according to the weather records. There might be 130 to 140 days rain that is greater than 1mm. https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/climate/gcrje93b8

So, in this country, it is going to be difficult to avoid those rainy days when driving.

Driving in heavy rain and flooding can be hazardous. Here are some useful hints and tips to help you prepare for a wet weather drive.

It is always advisable to consider before you set off whether your journey is essential. Of course, one has to get to work or drive the children to school and cannot really delay the time of travel.

First and foremost: Using the car lights correctly when the roads are wet will ensure you can see and be seen. When the rain does start to fall, you should turn the headlights on. Don’t just assume they already are – many cars’ instruments light up even when the headlights are turned off these days, which can be misleading. If your car has daytime running lights you still should switch the dipped headlights on, so vehicles behind you can see the red tail lights. Don’t use rear fog lights unless visibility is less than 100 yards and you cannot see any vehicles behind. Fog lights can mask the brake lights and dazzle drivers behind you

If your car has automatic headlamps, make sure these have activated – or override them manually by turning the headlamp switch to the dipped beam setting.

Slow down! It takes longer to stop or adjust in wet weather and it’s more difficult to see the road ahead/behind. The gap between vehicles should be at least doubled on wet roads, according to the Highway Code – Rule 126 – Stopping Distances. This is because tyres have less grip on the road. In wet weather the rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen so the driver should keep well back from the vehicle in front. This will increase the ability to see and plan ahead.

Be aware of the dangers of spilt fuel that will make the surface very slippery. You should also try and avoid sudden moves that might unbalance the car, such as sharp steering or braking. Doing so increases the likelihood of your car skidding.

Driving too fast through standing water could lead to tyres losing contact with the road.  If your steering suddenly feels light you could be aquaplaning. To regain grip, ease off the accelerator, do not brake and allow your speed to reduce until you gain full control of the steering again, while keeping the steering pointing in the direction of travel. (The surface water builds up under the tyre, lifting it away from the road surface. Once it loses contact with the Tarmac, you’re effectively ‘surfing’ along on top of the water, with little or no grip.)

Driving through surface water and floods

Puddles may be a couple of centimetres deep, but some can develop into deep potholes of water. There is no way of knowing until it may be too late, so avoid them if possible. Driving through these potholes could cause serious damage to your car not to mention cost an extortionate amount to repair.

Should you come across a flooded road, first think about taking another route. If not, then you need to identify how deep the flood is. If the standing water is more than six inches deep, avoid driving through it. The water is often deeper than it looks and may be moving quite fast.  Your vehicle may be swept away or become stranded. Two feet of water will float your car. If you are familiar with the road, you may be able to judge the flood in relation to the kerb. Are there other vehicles similar to yours that are safely driving through? From this, make a judgement call as to whether it is safe to travel through or not.

If you are in the slightest doubt, then turn around and don’t go through the flood. Often modern saloon cars have the air intake in the wheel arch, which may be below the water level. If your engine should take in water, it will immediately hydro lock and the engine will stop. 

If you have taken everything into consideration and decide to drive through the flood, be sure to do so slowly. The best approach is to press lightly on your clutch and add gentle pressure on your accelerator to increase your engine revs. Do so without increasing your speed, in a similar way to how you would undertake a hill start. This will prevent water from entering your exhaust. If you are in an automatic car, accelerate slightly but control the speed with your brakes. When you have passed the flood, test your brakes to make sure they are dry and working properly.

Avoid splashing pedestrians. If this is done accidentally, you could receive a fixed penalty and three points on your license for driving without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other road users. If deliberately done, it could be a public order offence, a court appearance and a fine.

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Coping with Fog

All Fogged Up

The Met. Office gives out warnings of dense fog when visibility is expected to fall below 200 metres. Severe disruption to transport occurs when the visibility falls below 50 metres. Every driver knows or has known that travelling in fog can be extremely dangerous. Every driver knows or has known that fog can drift rapidly and is often patchy. Once through the DVSA practical driving test this knowledge can drift away from some drivers’ memories like the fog itself.

Here is a reminder from the Highway Code for all of us:

The Highway Code

Rule 226

You MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves.

Rule 234

Before entering fog check your mirrors then slow down. If the word ‘Fog’ is shown on a roadside signal but the road is clear, be prepared for a bank of fog or drifting patchy fog ahead. Even if it seems to be clearing, you can suddenly find yourself in thick fog.

Rule 235

When driving in fog you should

  • use your lights as required

  • keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. Rear lights can give a false sense of security

  • be able to pull up well within the distance you can see clearly. This is particularly important on motorways and dual carriageways, as vehicles are travelling faster

  • use your windscreen wipers and demisters

  • beware of other drivers not using headlights

  • not accelerate to get away from a vehicle which is too close behind you

  • check your mirrors before you slow down. Then use your brakes so that your brake lights warn drivers behind you that you are slowing down

  • stop in the correct position at a junction with limited visibility and listen for traffic. When you are sure it is safe to emerge, do so positively and do not hesitate in a position that puts you directly in the path of approaching vehicles.

Rule 236

You MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced as they dazzle other road users and can obscure your brake lights. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves.

Ah yes, we remember it well!

Some more advice from the Met. Office for road users when travelling in fog:

  • Avoid travel if possible

  • Drive carefully with dipped headlights, full-beam lights reflect off the fog causing a ‘white wall’ effect

  • Keep an eye on your speed, fog can give the illusion of moving in slow motion

  • Watch out for freezing fog which is made of water droplets that freeze on contact with objects such as the pavement, road, car, etc. It can quickly form a layer of ice.

How do the Met. Office forecast fog?

It can be very tricky to forecast fog. Fog forms when moisture in the air is cooled to its ‘dew point’. This is the temperature at which air will condense from water vapour into water droplets. This is the same effect you get when warm moist air comes into contact with a cold bathroom mirror. While vapour is relatively transparent, water droplets reflect light and therefore reduce visibility. When driving in fog one is actually driving in a cloud at ground level.

Fog usually occurs in the late autumn and winter months, when conditions tend to be colder, and nights are longer. This type of fog forms as a result of clear skies and light winds. The land cools overnight and this reduces the ability of the air to hold moisture, allowing condensation and fog to occur. The fog will often disperse after sunrise, but in some circumstances can last well into the afternoon, and even persist for days on end. This is most likely during January and February, and can cause severe disruption at airports, as well as on roads and for other types of transport.

Coastal fog is a regular occurrence along the eastern coast of the UK and is most common during Spring and Summer when warm air moves over the cool surface of the North Sea towards the coast. Many a day trip to Skegness has been ruined . . . “The weather was great when we set out from Derby this morning!”

 Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0.

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Driving Licenses in the EU after Brexit

Be Prepared! Travelling in the EU after Brexit.

The Government has confirmed that if there is no deal with the EU then mutual recognition of driving licences between the UK and EU may end. This would mean that UK drivers wishing to drive in the EU after 29 March 2019 would need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP). An International Driving Permit is a permit that allows you to drive in countries where a UK licence alone is not sufficient. It is basically an official, multi-language translation of your driving licence. You could be fined (or worse) for relying on just an IDP – so, you must carry your UK licence too. You can apply for an IDP 3 months before you travel, however, a permit cannot be backdated.

IDPs are valid for 1 to 3 years depending on the type required for your destination country. Whilst your IDP is valid it can be used in as many countries as you wish providing you have the correct version. You can purchase as many permits as required, as you may need more than one permit if you are travelling or driving through more than one country. You should check the requirements for each country.

  • A 1949 Convention IDP (Ireland, Iceland, Spain, Malta, Cyprus), or

  • A 1968 Convention IDP (all other EU countries, Norway and Switzerland)

  • A 1926 Convention IDP (Liechtenstein)

  • Ireland has ratified the 1949 Convention but doesn’t require foreign drivers to carry an IDP, so you won’t need an IDP to drive in Ireland after 29 March 2019.

Find out if you may need an IDP using the Post Office’s IDP Country Checker.

Find your nearest IDP issuing Post Office, and despite there being around 2,500 branches, the nearest issuing Post offices to Derby seem to be Nottingham, Sheffield, Leicester and Coventry! Refer to:

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-driving-permit (Where’s My Nearest Branch)

Number Plates and National Identifiers

Under international conventions, GB is the distinguishing sign to display on UK-registered vehicles when driving outside of the UK, including in the EU and the EEA. You will not need a GB sticker to drive outside the UK if you replace a Euro-plate with a number plate that features the GB sign without the EU flag.

You can display the distinguishing sign as either a GB sticker or a GB sign on your number plate.

From 29 March 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need a GB sticker even if your vehicle has a Euro-plate (a number plate displaying both the EU flag and a GB sign).

All things considered, a staycation may be a better option!

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Road Safety Awareness Event

On Wednesday 6 February 2019 Derbyshire Police will be giving Road Safety advice to the students at The University of Derby and Buxton and Leek college .

Derbyshire Police will be working with our partners from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and East Midlands Ambulance service.We are being supported by officers from the Roads Policing Unit and Derby and Derbyshire Road Safety Partnership.

Students from the college studying public services will be assisting officers in a mock Road Traffic Collision on Devonshire Road .

Students from other ateas are aldo involved with officers setting the scene .

They will be given advice on how best not to become a casualty on our roads and see the consequences that Emergency services deal with following Road Traffic collisions .

Officers will be availble to answer any questions that drivers may have .

The event will commence around 10.15 on Wednesday 6 February 2019.

2017 Saw the lowest levels of injuries on our Roads but sadly a rise in 2018 ,our aim is to give our young drivers some accurate information so they will make better choices especially when behind the wheel of a car .

#Drive Wise Stay Alive

Pcso Lee Baker
HIGH PEAK
Youth Engagement Team
Glossop

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Lee Baker (Police, PCSO, New Mills)
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Snowing me, snowing you

Snowing me, snowing you … there is something we CAN do!

IAM RoadSmart brings you expert advice on driving in snow from its Head of Driving and Riding Standards, Richard Gladman.

The best advice is to avoid travelling in extreme weather. If no one is moving, you just add to the problem – so listen to travel advice.

If you do have to travel in bad weather, plan your journey thoroughly. Think about where you are going and what it will be like all the way along the journey. If you can, avoid travelling on less-used roads or country lanes as these are less likely to be gritted.

Before setting off, clear all your windows and mirrors fully. Clear off snow piled on the roof of your car and the bonnet too, as it can fall and blow on to the windscreen. Don’t leave anything obscured.

Start your car gently from stationary and avoid high revs. If road conditions are extremely icy and you drive a manual car, you should move off in a higher gear rather than first gear. You should stay in a higher gear to avoid wheel spin.

It’s important you get your speed right when travelling in snow. Never drive too fast that you risk losing control, and don’t drive so slowly that you risk losing momentum for getting up a slope.

Increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you. It may take up to 10 times as long to stop on snow or ice build this into your following distance – this will give you more time to slow down using engine braking which is less likely to induce a skid.

Make sure you slow down sufficiently before reaching a bend so you have enough time to react to any hazards that appear as you go around it – and so you do not skid as well. You should have finished slowing down before you start to turn the steering wheel.

If you break down or have to pull over on a motorway or dual carriageway, you should leave your vehicle and stand to the safe side of it – ideally well over the armco to the nearside of the road, but not in front of it, when waiting for help.

Richard said: “Many of the problems associated with travel during snow could be avoided if people planned in advance. People routinely travel with only the minimum of safety equipment, without realising their journey could be a lot longer than expected. At the very least you should have a shovel, torch, blanket, jump-leads and tow rope. You should ensure your mobile phone is fully charged, and the number of your recovery organisation is saved into it. A bottle of water and a snack may also prove useful and don’t set out without knowing the locations of petrol stations on your way. This all might sound obvious, but too many of us forget to do any of this. Don’t be one of the ill-prepared, and listen to the weather forecast for the whole length of a winter journey to help you prepare for it.”

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The Designated Driver – Super Star

We know that being the designated driver can feel like a sacrifice. And at this time of the year, when the drinks are flowing, sometimes from dawn ‘till midnight, staying sober isn’t always the most popular option. But getting your colleagues, friends and family home safely is one of the most important things you’ll do this festive season.

Derby Advanced Motorists can’t stress this enough, but please try to develop a ‘none for the road’ mentality. Bubbly will be flowing throughout this season and you may think that one couldn’t hurt, but you couldn’t be more wrong.

Very often people just want their transport arranged and don’t mind who drives as long as it’s not them! In which case it might be worth pre-arranging a cab or minibus – don’t leave it too late as these things are best booked and paid for in advance. Research shows that women are much better at this, so gentlemen take at leaf out of their book and plan ahead!

What about public transport? For many people taking a journey on public transport is the best option, especially if there are only one or two of you going in the same direction. But if you are in a larger group then a taxi might even work out cheaper per person.

Remember if you are the Designated Driver it’s best to have no alcohol at all, even one drink will affect the way you drive without you being aware of it. Your passengers should value you as their designated driver and not try to encourage you to have ‘just one to be sociable.’ You are the one who could be saving them from a driving ban. You are the one who will get them home safely.

Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Make sure your friends are not so tipsy that they are no longer controllable in your car. The last thing you need is a drunk friend giving you driving advice. Having someone behaving badly in a vehicle can be dangerous, and, if a passenger is proving too much of a distraction, you should pull over and stop as soon as it is safe to do so.

  2. Agree a leaving time with your friends and ask them to cover the parking charges (technically you may invalidate your insurance if you take any ‘petrol money’).

Being the Designated Driver can have its benefits, some places offer free soft drinks on a buy one get one free basis, so check out this website to see if any of your local haunts are included.

https://www.cocacola.co.uk/en/coca-cola/designateddriver/

There are more than 10 pubs in the Derby area offering free soft drinks to the Designated Driver.

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The Seasonal Getaway

In interview for the BBC Radio 4 programme Today in 2009 Chris Rea said he wrote “Driving Home for Christmas” many years before its first recording; this was in 1978, and Rea needed to get home to Middlesbrough from Abbey Road Studios in London. His wife had come down to drive him home in her Austin Mini to save money because it was cheaper to drive than travel by train. The inspiration for the song came as they were getting stuck in heavy traffic, while the snow was falling. He started looking at the other drivers, who “all looked so miserable. Jokingly, I started singing: “We’re driving home for Christmas …”

(From Wikipedia)

Most of us travel at some stage over the festive period, and sharing the road with what can feel like the entire population can be stressful, as Chris Rea discovered.

So, here are some tips to help make your journey less stressful.

Plan your journey before you set off. Having a full understanding of your route allows the drive to be smoother and also lets you know where you can take breaks. If you’re too tired to drive then delay your journey. And if you begin to feel tired on the way, then take a rest break. A coffee and a 20-minute stop are the bare minimum to help you stay alert. In any case, your journey should be planned with breaks every 2 hours. It’s not a good idea to rely on caffeine or energy drinks alone. Caffeine based products are a temporary fix that will only allow you to stay awake for a short period of time.

Check the weather forecast. The weather, especially British weather, can be unpredictable in winter. Relying on the roads being gritted can sometimes prove to be a disappointment but main routes do tend to be treated first, so stick to them. Don’t forget to check for weather or traffic-related updates so you can allow more time to travel.

Packing the car can leave you fraught. Make a check list of everything you need and try to ensure there are no loose parcels that could turn into missiles in the event of having to brake in an emergency. Leave all your presents and electrical items out of sight. Don’t give the thieves something to be happy about this season! Carry an emergency pack with some food and drink, a fully charged mobile and basic tools such as an ice scraper, shovel and a high-visibility jacket.

Try and avoid setting off at peak times which includes early afternoon on Christmas Eve as this is when many motorists will start their journey. With Christmas Eve falling on a Monday this year, you might be able to travel on a different day. But remember, there’s a chance some filling stations will be closed over the Christmas period. Make sure you have all the fuel you need for a long journey plus a bit more in case you get held up. Top up all key fluids and check tyres, wipers and lights well before you set off.

One final thought:

If the festive party went on into the early hours of the day of travel, then make sure you are not over the limit ‘the morning after’. Don’t risk it! As a rough guide it takes the body one hour to rid itself of one unit of alcohol (a strong pint of lager or 250ml glass of wine may contain 3 units each). And the clock starts from when you finish drinking, not when you start!

If you can remember what you had, you can always get a rough calculation by CLICKING HERE but it should only be used as a guide.

It’s better to ask someone else to drive or take public transport as opposed to putting yours and other lives at risk by being on the road.

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The Advanced Driving Test

Want to know what the test is all about. Read the following handout. The test is well within the reach of most drivers. It takes concentration, knowledge, skill and practice. You need to demonstrate that you are observing everything that could affect your progress, you are aware of what could happen, you can anticipate the actions of other road users and you can plan your progress. You must drive legally (speed limits!) and you must not drive in a way that relies on, or causes, another road user to take avoiding action. You should make adequate progress for the circumstances and drive smoothly with appropriate use of the throttle and brake. If the examiner enjoys the drive, you will more than likely pass!

driver-the-test-v1-0416

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Winter Car Washing

Image result for car wash dirtThe season of mists and sprinkling saltiness is now upon us. This time of year, mud, drizzle and the start of the road-salting season all prove a challenge to keeping the paintwork of our vehicles shiny. There are good practical reasons to keep your car looking like your pride and joy.

That layer of grime, salt, tree sap and road grease will dull the paintwork if left undisturbed.  The caked-on chemicals gradually eat into the ultra-smooth top layer, making it rougher at a microscopic level, which stops that glossy showroom sheen.  The move to eco-friendly paints used by the car manufacturers these days are low odour and the ingredients much less harmful.  However, they are also softer than their toxic predecessors and very prone to being permanently marked by bird droppings that are left on for any more than a couple of days and the build-up of dried on road spray.

A thorough wash will stop that action and even if the car gets covered in road dirt the following day, the dulling process will take time to re-start.  If you polish it as well, the new look will last even longer as the polish acts as a barrier between the paint and the dirt.  Regular washing will keep the car looking new underneath the dirt for much longer! Perhaps your car has had a ceramic-coat paint protection professionally applied to your vehicle when first registered. (A ceramic-coat paint sealant leaves an extremely durable and high-gloss finish which prevents pollutants from impacting the car’s paintwork and does make cleaning much easier.)

Image result for car washSo, you face two choices. If you really can’t stand the thought of getting a bucket and sponge out, a hand car wash near you is one of the best value things a fiver will buy these days; maybe a couple of quid more if you have an SUV. They often do an excellent and thorough job – wheels, door shuts, tyre shine and all. And, of course, there is always the local automated car wash technology which has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years.

Alternatively, the bucket-and-sponge option can be satisfying and it is very healthy exercise!  Various estimates fly around the internet, but burning about 300 calories by washing a car and anything up to 1,000 if you polish it as well, seems a common view. (Isn’t it amazing the information that is available on the internet!)   

Use a proper car shampoo, NOT washing up liquid.  Fill a bucket with hot water (and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the cold.) and don’t overdo the shampoo – too much and you’ll have lots of streaks. Wet the car body all over first, to soften the dirt, then plunge in with the sponge.  Start with the roof and end with the wheels, then rinse off, stand back and admire your work.  Use a leather or microfibre cloth to dry it – or just go for a drive for a couple of miles. Finally, get a cloth, open the doors, wipe the sills and door shut areas and enjoy the smug feeling as you look at your gleaming pride next to all the mud spattered, salt encrusted neighbours . . . until the next day, of course, when your car will be indistinguishable from the rest.  But you had some healthy exercise, the dirt isn’t eating away at the shine and anyway, you know it’s gleaming underneath the dirt.


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