Don’t be a Space Invader

Don’t be a Space Invader’ – stay safe, stay back says Highways England.

That is the message from Highways England as it reveals the extent – and impact – of tailgating on the country’s major roads and motorways.

New figures show that one in eight of all road casualties are caused by people who drive too close to the vehicle in front, with more than 100 people killed or seriously injured each year.

While a small minority of tailgating is deliberate, most is unintentional by drivers who are simply unaware they are dangerously invading someone else’s space.

So, a safety campaign, launched 17th September, uses the well-known Space Invader video game character to alert drivers to the anti-social nature and risks of tailgating.

Highways England says good drivers leave plenty of safe space for themselves and others.

Richard Leonard, Head of Road Safety at Highways England, says:

If you get too close to the car in front, you won’t be able to react and stop in time if they suddenly brake.

Tailgating makes the driver in front feel targeted and victimised, distracting their attention from the road ahead and making them more likely to make a mistake.

It is intimidating and frightening if you’re on the receiving end. If that leads to a collision, then people in both vehicles could end up seriously injured or killed. We want everyone to travel safely, so the advice is – stay safe, stay back.”

If you wonder whether you are ‘space invading’, then remember the Highway Code, which says that drivers should allow at least a two second gap, which should be doubled on wet roads. If you are tailgated, then avoid speeding up, slowing down or staring in the rear-view mirror. Reduce the risk to yourself by driving normally, signalling clearly and allowing people to overtake.

Highways England has a dedicated webpage where drivers can find more information about tailgating and what they can do to stay safe.

Please let the world know:

Preparing for Winter

Image result for autumn driving ukIt’s that time of year. Too late for holiday advice, too early to panic about blizzards or shortage of road salt, so every motoring organisation and journal will be dusting off the “Prepare your car for winter” press release.

Check the lights, inspect the tyres, test the antifreeze… heard it all before?  Of course, you have; the same advice has been trotted out every year since the Cortina was a best seller and the Mini was a small car.

Cars change and technology moves on. Let’s assume you know how to check your lights and tyres; instead, here are a few tips to keep you and your 21st century car on the winter roads with everything working the way it should. 

SONY DSC

Washers. Yes, fill the washer reservoir with washer fluid and check the spray nozzles are clear, but don’t forget the headlamp washers. If your car has Xenon lights (also called HID), there will be high pressure washers, usually under a flap in the front bumper. These must be working, otherwise you risk dazzling other motorists when the lens gets dirty. To check them turn on the headlamps, operate the windscreen washers and get a friend to watch the lights or look for the spray which you’ll see over the front of the bonnet.

Light level switch.  Talking of dazzling other drivers, if you don’t have Xenon lamps, you will probably have a headlamp level switch, usually numbered 0 to 4. You’re supposed to turn the switch according to how the car is loaded. Many of the complaints about dazzling headlights are because people forget to adjust the level.  0 is usually just the driver and no luggage, 4 is for a full load, but check the handbook for your car.  

Leaves. Leaves never used to hurt a car but they can now! Lift the bonnet, look in the engine bay around the area of the bonnet hinges. You’ll see a chamber on each side that collects water as it drains from the windscreen. These chambers have drain holes in the bottom to keep them dry, but leaves can block the drains. If water stays in the chambers it can leak into the car, often soaking sensitive electronic bits, leading to very expensive repairs.  Get any leaves or other debris out of the chambers and if water is present, root around until you find the drain holes and unblock them.

Image result for steamy windowsSteamy windows. Get some soapy water and kitchen roll or a clean microfibre cloth and clean the insides of all the windows.  Getting them squeaky clean will dramatically reduce the glare from the low autumn sun on morning and evening drives and it will make the windows much less likely to mist up in damp weather. It also means you’ll waste less fuel because you won’t need to turn on heated windows and air conditioning in a bid to clear them.

Cabin air filter. Today’s cars have a filter for the air entering the car through the heater. Often called the pollen filter, it can often get overlooked at a service and if it’s full of dirt, your heater will be much less efficient. Worse still, if it’s wet – which can happen if you don’t clear those leaves out of the chambers – your windows will constantly mist up as the heater pumps damp air into them.  Changing the filter is usually a simple DIY job – look in the owner’s handbook – and the filters are quite cheap and widely available online.

By Tim Shallcross, IAM RoadSmart head of technical policy

Please let the world know:

Back to School

Image result for school runThe school summer holidays are at an end and for some parents not a moment too soon.  Order and normality will resume along with the dreaded school run which starts again for another year. Derby Advanced Motorists offer the following tips to drivers on how to survive the term time road rush.

Make sure everyone is in the right seat. If you use child or booster seats, make sure they are still fit for purpose and correctly secured.

Check out Good Egg for some top tips: http://www.goodeggcarsafety.com/

Pack for success. Dependent on the age of the little one pack some healthy treats to distract them and keep them engaged, even on a short journey

Leave enough time. Setting off for school can be frustrating and rushed experience with the constant reminding you have to do about PE kit, and other important forgotten or last-minute things.  A half-eaten breakfast and badly combed hair can put both you and your child in the wrong frame of mind for the start of the day

It’s not a race. In many areas with local schools the motto is ‘20’s plenty.’ Remember that this is limit, not a target. Always help out the school crossing patrol, you will get a friendly wave and a smile

Start them while they’re young. Teach your children about road safety so they know how to behave around moving traffic. Setting a good example while in the driving seat will stay with them in preparation for when they learn to drive. Parking in a safe place and walking the last few metres will not just help with congestion; it will also allow you to teach them the right way to cross a road looking left and right (then right again for us Green Cross code users). Teaching children to use the road sensibly will save lives

Remember, traffic always picks up again after the school holidays so journeys will take longer and potentially be more stressful.  Make sure the car is fuelled up and fit and ready for stop-start traffic so you have one less thing to worry about. Due to close supervision children are normally very safe around schools but you can help by taking care. Be aware that after school they are much more likely to be playing in and around the street and safety can be the last thing on their minds after a hard day in the classroom.

From an article by Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards

Please let the world know:

The Bank Holiday Get-away

If you’re planning a bank holiday getaway then be sure to read our tips on how you can make your journey a safe and stress-free one.

We asked IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, for some tips to help you prepare for your journey.

Richard said: “With so much planning involved in a holiday, many of us forget about the first bit – how we get to our destination.

“If your journey is a long one, take some time to plan where and when you will be taking a break – just so you can get a little rest and have some water to stay hydrated. Enjoy the journey and more importantly, enjoy the getaway.”

A little preparation goes a long way! Take some time to check your vehicle inside and out before you set off. Check the tyre pressure and fluid levels are right and make sure your car ancillaries are working properly.

Secure your luggage in your boot so it’s out of the way and doesn’t obstruct your view.

Give yourself plenty of time for the journey and check the news for any traffic updates and roadworks.
Traffic England:
http://www.trafficengland.com/
Weather Forecast:
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk

If you’re travelling during the early hours of the day or late in the evening make sure you take some rest beforehand and eat something light so you don’t feel sluggish before you leave.

If you plan on using a satnav don’t forget to programme in the destination before you leave and check it. Leave plenty of time for the journey so you don’t find yourself pushed for time.

Make sure you take regular rest breaks to split up the journey when driving on a long, boring stretch of a motorway. It’s good practise to stop at least every two hours.

(Photo courtesy www.plymouthherald.co.uk)

Please let the world know: