Derbyshire women-only advanced riders Skills Day

Female observers wanted for group event
 
Linda Ashmore, national observer and Masters mentor for Dorchester and West Dorset Advanced Motorcyclists, is looking for female observers for a women-only Skills Day on Tuesday 13 August in Derbyshire to introduce women riders to advanced skills and IAM RoadSmart. The event will take place during the week of the Women’s International Motorcycle Association’s International Rally taking place at the YHA Castleton, S33 8WB from 11 to 17 August. The group has had up to 50 women bikers on previous female Skills Days. If you would like further information e-mail Linda direct at linda.ashmore@hotmail.co.uk. Supplied by Linda Ashmore

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Driving Tips: Get Caravanning: Tips from IAM RoadSmart

With holidays on the horizon, there will be more people dusting off their caravan and packing for the long weekends. IAM RoadSmart has partnered up with the Caravan and Motorhome Club to offer some advice for a successful holiday trip.

Going away with the whole family and the caravan, trailer tent or camping trailer is a great experience. By ensuring that you load the caravan or trailer correctly, and deal appropriately with other traffic, you can help ease the stress levels, especially if you lack towing experience.

With the south west of England being a very popular place to visit, it is not surprising that the South West has some of the highest incident rates for caravans. Between January 2017 and May 2018 there have been 850 caravan or trailer incidents on main roads in the South West region, with 460 of those occurring in the summer months of May to September last year – a sure way to put a sudden end to a lovely holiday. With the majority of caravans only being used over the summer months, this figure needs to be reduced.

Most incidents happen around the weekend. Nearly a third of all incidents occur on Saturdays and Sundays, with Mondays and Fridays not too far behind.

Caravan and trailer road-worthiness is just as important as your car’s, and particular care is needed for that first summer outing, as many are parked up and unused over the winter.

We recommend that before you start your trip you make sure you have checked both your car and caravan or trailer. Especially check your tyres as they should be inflated to the correct pressure, have a good amount of tread (no lower than 1.6mm) and be free from damage.

The caravan breakaway cable (or safety chain on smaller unbraked trailers) should be in good condition and connected correctly. If you have a caravan or a large box-shaped trailer you will almost always need to fit extension mirrors – these will help make sure you have a good view behind you and comply with the law.

Remember when loading your caravan or trailer to make sure it is not overloaded as this can put you at additional risk of instability, and mean you’re breaking the law. Ensure your heavy items are positioned correctly over the axle, low to the floor with lighter items higher up.

A quick refresher of the Highway Code will remind you that travelling in the right-hand lane of a motorway with three or more lanes is not allowed and your speed limit when towing is 60 mph on dual carriageways and motorways and 50 mph on single carriageways, unless a lower overall limit is applies.

Be extra vigilant on downhill stretches as your speed can easily creep up and get too high – this is a common contributory factor to your caravan/trailer losing stability. Remember, you will need more room to stop when towing and you should always have a big enough gap to be able to slow down and stop in an emergency.

Towing in high winds needs additional care and perhaps a change of route should be considered. However, it’s not just windy days you need to be mindful of. Overtaking large vehicles can place you in their “bow wave” and this can cause instability of caravans which are badly loaded and/or being towed too fast.

Martin Spencer, technical manager at the Caravan and Motorhome Club says: “Towing a caravan or other trailer can be unfamiliar, but doesn’t need to be intimidating. By getting the basic set-up right, then following straightforward advice over issues such as speed and safety around other vehicles, towing can be relaxed, easy and comfortable. Above all, it will be safe.

In almost all cases, serious incidents only occur because inexperienced drivers have not taken the right advice, or experienced ones have become complacent. The Club has 15 training centres across the country* so anyone just starting out, or those needing some refresher training can receive the best possible guidance.”

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM RoadSmart says: “The advanced driving skills of observation, anticipation and planning are key to good towing. They will keep you a safe distance from the vehicle in front and help you predict problems ahead and around you. If you prepare yourself, your family and your vehicles for the road ahead your trip will be as relaxing as possible.”

* https://www.caravanclub.co.uk/advice-and-training/training-courses/

Of the fifteen training centres, the nearest to our area are:

Diamond Driver Training, Newark, Nottingham

Towing Solutions Macclesfield, Cheshire

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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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