Just passed your driving test? Why not visit the Paint the Town Red event

You may have only just passed your driving test but already beginning to become an enthusiastic car owner or driver, keen on all things motoring. Why not harness your enthusiasm and combine this with a wonderful day out in the lake district of England?\r\n\r\nA feast, on an action-fuelled day out, takes place on Saturday, August 30, as the West Cumbrian town of Workington lays on the inaugural Paint the Town Red event. The event will be kicked off by the actor comedian Ricky Tomlinson at 10.15 with the action being based in the town centre, Curwen Park and Vulcan Park. Lots of famous cars will be displayed including Herbie from the Love Bug, Postman Pat’s van, a range of vintage vehicles as well as a Go Cart display. There will be stunt driving, marching bands, made in Cumbria stalls, barbecues, a magic act, cookery demonstrations, a Jennings beer tent will be in attendance, with food stalls and daytime fireworks at around 4pm. Vulcan Park has all day performances from the Band of the King”s Division, junior activities and hot roast.

Reducing A Road Traffic Accident

When you drive it is your responsibility to make sure your car is in the best shape possible.  Accidents usually happen due to human error, but sometimes they are caused by a malfunction in your vehicle.  It is imperative that you maintain your vehicle so that you can avoid any equipment malfunctions that could inadvertently cause an accident.  Vehicle manufacturers are obliged to make sure the automobiles they make meet at least the minimum standards set out by the law.  This is one of the reasons why they are constantly making improvements to their product to make them easy and safe to drive, including safety measures such as airbags and safety belts.\r\n\r\nBrake systems are highly advanced dual circuit systems.  This keeps a complete brake failure from happening, but faulty brakes could keep a vehicle from slowing down or stopping properly.  Most vehicles are made with disc brakes and many have systems that keep them from the locking during an emergency.  Regardless of the type of transmission your car has, it should always hold the road.  Front wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles both handle differently on varied terrain, as does 4-wheel drive.  Know how your vehicle is supposed to handle before getting behind the wheel.\r\n\r\nThe inside of the vehicle is just as important.  Always make sure your seat is set so that you can easily reach the controls, see the road ahead, and are comfortable while driving.  Always use your safety restraints and make sure that any child that is traveling with you is also properly restrained, in a child safety seat if applicable, and away from air bags.  If your air bags do deploy due to an accident, make sure you have it replaced by a licensed technician.

Dangerous tactics

It is reported worldwide that some motorists are reverting to dangerous methods in order to try to save fuel. We will not repeat all of these idiotic measures as they can cost people their lives but include over inflating tyres, and rolling through stop signs, an illegal manoeuvre.\r\n\r\nHowever, some sensible and legal advice includes; fastening the seat belt and adjusting your seat and mirrors before starting the engine makes sense. Always brake and accelerate smoothly, consider your parking options to avoid driving round and around the streets. Take off your roof rack when not in use, and if fitted to your car turn off the air conditioning, keep your speed at or below the speed limit.\r\n\r\nDo not coast down hills; this is dangerous as is tailgating. Driving too slowly does not save fuel and over inflation of tyres and rolling though stop signs is just dangerous practice and illegal. Be sensible having an accident will certainly be more costly than any fuel saved and can be life threatening.

Being a Passenger Vehicle Driver

Professional bus drivers provide a huge service to the community by providing public transportation to and from the many destinations on their route.  If you are a people-person and enjoy driving – especially on a tour with the chance to see new places – then you may be interested in getting a driver’s license with the professional passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) driver specification. \r\n\r\nRegardless of whether you are driving a tour bus, a taxi cab, or limousine, your customer’s comfort will always come first.  You also have to be very up to date on your vehicle and ensure that it is in the best shape possible to traverse the many roads you will travel on.  You never want to risk the safety or lives of your passengers or yourself.  Before embarking on any trip, always make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good shape, that the engine has all the appropriate level of fluids in it, and that all of the lights, windshield wipers, and horn work.\r\n\r\nWhile you may get a bit of abuse about running late due to traffic if you are a bus driver, remind yourself that traffic conditions are beyond your control and that this is not your fault.  Always smile pleasantly at your customers and have patience.  A lot of elderly people use the bus and they do not move quite as fast as some others.  Always follow your company’s rules and regulations and if a passenger becomes unruly to the point that they could be dangerous, ask them to leave the bus as soon as possible.

Fiat triumphs again

The iconic Fiat 500 supermini which was launched earlier this year has just been crowned Best City Car in the 2008 Auto Express. The success of the Fiat 500 follows on from the consecutive 4 year run of its stable mate the Fiat Panda bringing to an end what can only be described as a remarkable run.\r\n\r\nThe Fiat 500, in a similar vein to the Mini, captures the spirit of a legend without coming across as forced or tacky.  Its low prices go hand in hand with the great looking exterior and interior styling to create an irresistible package. This remarkable retro style motor car is only in the early stages of alternative production models will many more versions waiting in the wings. An ultra efficient two cylinder engine, launch an estate version to rival the Mini Clubman as well as a 500 convertible.\r\n\r\nCurrently the Fiat 500 is available with a choice of three frugal, ultra-low emissions, Euro 5-ready engines: 69 bhp 1.2-litre and 100 bhp 1.4-litre petrol, or 75 bhp 1.3-litre MultiJet turbodiesel, the new Fiat 500 can be ordered in three different trim versions Pop, Sport and Lounge.

Dealing with the rain while driving

It seems never to have stopped raining for the last month and this has brought the usual crop of troubles suffered by some of the motoring public, how to deal with a flash flood. The first thing we would suggest is not to drive your vehicle unless it is absolutely necessary. Always avoid deep water and where possible find an alternative route. \r\n\r\nDriving through deep water may be necessary so always choose the highest section of the road and don”t set off if a vehicle is travelling in the opposite direction. Try to be sensible and leave time and space for each other, so you don”t swamp someone else. Drive slowly through the water and always use the lowest gear possible keeping your revs high and your speed low. Under no circumstances take your foot off the accelerator, as this could allow water to travel up the exhaust pipe and when you are out of the water hazard, dry the brakes do not wait until you might need them! Remember, close your windows and please in rain condition use your headlight when it is necessary to use your wipers.

Driving in the United Kingdom

Anyone who is not familiar with the way the British and residents of her former dominions drive will be shocked to see that they drive on the left-hand side of the road.  This is extremely surprising for Americans who have never been exposed to this before.  This left-hand driving side rule of the road has been in effect for decades and seeing vehicles with the steering wheel on the right-hand side of the car will be very confusing.\r\n\r\nDriving on the left-hand side of the road dates back to when people travelled by foot and by the horse and cart in feudal societies.  The sword hand of most men was the right hand, thereby keeping the weapon between themselves and any potential opponent or enemy that was walking towards you.  The same went for jousting knights and their lances.  No one went unarmed during those violent times.\r\n\r\nSome of this thinking changed when Napoleon Bonaparte took over as self-proclaimed emperor in Revolutionary France.  Napoleon was left-handed so he naturally made his army march on the right, once again keeping his weaponry between him and his enemy.  Because of Napoleon, any French colonized territory – and pretty much the rest of the world – took to travelling on the right-hand side of the road, while the United Kingdom and her followers continued to travel on the left.  The United States adopted the right hand driving system in an effort to show the rest of the world that they no longer followed British tradition.

Road Safety While At Work

Many people drive for a living, whether they are a courier for a firm or the driver of a large truck.  It has been estimated that close to one third of the traffic accidents that occur on the roads in the United Kingdom involve someone who is driving as part of their job.  With close to eight hundred collisions a year, and up to one thousand deaths because of it, job related driving is one of the riskiest activities a person could engage in while in employment.  In 2003, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) announced that all companies with five or more employees will be heavily investigated if any of their workers are involved in a motor accident.  Employers who cannot provide proof of adequate procedures and polices that are put in place by the company could risk prosecution and imprisonment.\r\n\r\nAccording to information released by the HSE, employers, managers, or supervisors that have staff that drive a vehicle for their job are responsible for ensuring that their employees understand road safety as it pertains to their job.  The employers must make sure the vehicles are in a safe working condition and complying with all laws.  They are also required to make sure their employees’ safety and the safety of others are not put at risk.  They must manage all health and safety issues effectively, and review, monitor, and assess how the policies and procedures are being followed.\r\n\r\nThe law is designed to protect any staff member who needs to drive as part of their everyday job.  This would include driving short distances for off-site meetings, site visits, and business travel, say to another city.  Both company and privately owned vehicles are covered.  By having an occupational road-risk management program in place, companies can do their part to reduce the number of serious accidents and fatalities.

Remember to stay alert

There can be no doubt that fatigue a silent killer and it works in similar way to alcohol. Drivers who are slightly tired will not drive as well or as safely as those who are alert. As tiredness increases, mental and physical performance drops until eventually the driver falls asleep, this is not opinion but fact. It is known that one in five motorway crashes are related to fatigue, statistics are hard to come by as drivers who are tired will rarely admit to it if involved in an accident.\r\n\r\nThere are ways that we can reduce fatigue by taking some simple steps, which includes firstly start your journey alert by getting plenty of rest before you begin your long journey, perhaps taking the family on holiday, which can be stressful if children are involved. Wear comfortable clothing, adjust the seat to an upright position, and keep the car cool, but definitely not cold. Try to avoid night driving when we should be asleep anyway and remember that afternoon driving is a high risk period. Take regular breaks and do not try to drive through a period when you feel fatigue coming on. There are no medals to be won driving when tired its better to be late than “dead on time”.

When should you use indicators?

You will have received careful and skilful tuition from your qualified driving instructor on the correct use of your indicators notifying your intentions to turn or overtake when driving your vehicle, but are there times when it is not necessary or desirable to use indicators?\r\n\r\nAugust bodies such as the Institute of Advance Motorists, RoSPA and Police Driving Instructors support straight forward common sense in the use if indicators. What is the point of signalling if there is no one to signal to? However, we should never forget that pedestrians and cyclist is a road user as well. For instance pedestrian crossings are often sited near the entrance and exits to roundabouts and vehicle positioning may not give a pedestrian a clue about your intentions. The road may be clear of cars, but a turning vehicle can pose a danger to a pedestrian or cyclist who may not have been seen. Remember that pedestrians have the right of way at most road junctions.

Important new motoring legislation

New laws come into effect from Monday the 17th August 2008 meaning those motorists who kill while using a mobile phone will face prison. Currently drivers who kill can walk away from court with a £5,000 fine and points on their licence, but under the new laws, careless or distracted drivers could be given a custodial sentence of up to five years.\r\n\r\nThese penalties apply to those who were “avoidably distracted” and by this it is meant for example, using a mobile phone, drinking or eating at the wheel, adjusting a car stereo or applying make-up. The Ministry of Justice claims that 150 motorists will be jailed every year under the “death by careless” offence. Further legislation includes jailing those motorists who drive uninsured, or who are unlicensed and they can expect a two year custodial sentence as well.\r\n\r\nDrivers who kill through carelessness will no longer be able to walk away from court with just a fine.

Fuel is still expensive so save it

Petrol and diesel fuel has been falling from its all time high in recent weeks but it still horrendously expensive so it is still worth hearing of methods by which this precious commodity can be saved.\r\n\r\nA simple way is to reverse into a parking space in order that you drive out of it in a forwards direction. Not only is your vehicle in a safer position, you will remember this from your driving lessons; there are benefits to your car too. It is known that it takes an average five year old car a minute and a half for the engine to warm up and the most efficient way to warm it up is by driving it. Reversing out of a space when the car’s engine is cold uses around 20 to 25 times more petrol in the first few seconds than it does when warm. If you do this several times a week the cost savings in fuel and wear and tear on your vehicle engine can be huge.\r\n\r\nYou will have been taught the reasons for reversing by your qualified driving instructor, practiced it many time during your driving lessons and had to perform this in the practical driving test, why stop now? Be safe and save money.

Towing a caravan or trailer

Towing a caravan or trailer is no more difficult than driving solo as long as you remember that you are aware of the additional length, you have something at the back! There is no earthly reason why your caravan or trailer should not dutifully follow your car but it is important to remember you will need to allow more time and space to stop safely, overtake and corner.\r\n\r\nWhen turning, you will need to turn later and harder than you usually would as the caravan or trailer does not follow the exact path of your car.\r\n\r\nWhen applying your brakes you should remember that the distance needed may increase by 20 percent, depending on the road conditions. You should never slam on your brakes, to do so can cause the trailer to jack-knife, always allow more distance than normal from the vehicle in front.\r\n\r\nOccasionally a caravan or trailer can become instable or “snake and this is often due to bad loading or excessive speed. Not always though, snaking can occur due to air from passing lorries or coaches. Pitching or vertical instability may occur should you hit a pothole if you suffer either of these brake gently slowing down by gradually by easing off the accelerator.

Teenage Drivers

It is a sad fact that young males between the ages of 17 and 20 years of age are ten times more likely to be killed or injured than their older counterparts, so what can we do about it? In spite of the individual attention and training that they will have received from one the team qualified instructors at the Bill Plant School of Motoring, once they have successfully passed their two part driving test they are out of the Driving School’s hands.\r\n\r\nOnce a new driver is qualified they should seriously consider enrolling on a pass plus course which will not just make them better drivers, but will in most cases qualify them for lower insurance premiums, itself a tremendous bonus. Government is considering legislation to reform the driving test and safety organisations such as “Brake” advocate a provisional period after the test restricting the new driver to day time driving and not carrying passengers. Until reform is brought in the statistics will unfortunately continue.

Is Age An Issue?

By the time we reach our sixties and seventies, most of us have been driving for at least forty years.  We will have built up a lifetime of driving experience which will give us the honour of being able to say that we get into fewer accidents.  Unfortunately, most people at this stage of life are also experiencing a variety of effects, both physical and mental, that are caused by aging.  The question then becomes, “is age an issue when driving?”\r\n\r\nPeople in their sixties and seventies will notice that their senses are not as sharp as they used to be.  They fade gradually and most people won’t even notice it until someone points it out to them.  Drivers must be able to read a license plate number at 67 feet, the length of a cricket pitch.  If corrective lenses are needed to accomplish this, then they should be worn when driving.  Some eye problems, like cataracts or glaucoma, may end a driving career completely.\r\n\r\nArthritis and general stiffness of the body restricts your range of motion, making it difficult for a person to move, see over their shoulder, shift gears or even just turn the steering wheel.  Some older drivers may need special devices and accessories from their doctor to help them.  Also, older drivers should always check with their doctors about the prescription medicine they take to ensure it won’t effect their driving.\r\n\r\nOlder drivers who wish to continue driving after the age of seventy will need to renew their driving license every three years.