Coping with Road Rage

Road rage affects drivers all over the world, making them act irrationally when they are normally very level headed drivers.  While we all want to put rude drivers in their place, we should always pay attention to our driving first and our emotions second.  Never retaliate against another driver who is driving badly.  That could lead to an accident or a confrontation outside the vehicle that you least expect.  If another driver is harassing you on the road – honking the horn, tailgating, making rude gestures, etc. – don’t react.  Instead, calmly drive to a busy place or if you are able to get their license plate number, the nearest police station to get help and report their dangerous driving.\r\n\r\nOf course road rage can also happen when you are stopped.  A rude driver who may have it out for you for some perceived ill, may try to do something to you while you are at a stop light, stop sign, or in stopped traffic.  Leave yourself an escape route if possible in case of aggressiveness on the part of the other driver.  If someone should try to gain access to your vehicle, keep your doors locked and honk your horn over and over.  Never carry a weapon in your vehicle.  It may be illegal and your attacker may see it as an aggressive tactic and get it away from you to use against you.\r\n\r\nIf you are the victim of road rage, seek help immediately and report the violator.  If you are driving and someone triggers your own temper, pull over and calm down.  The last thing you want to do is cause an accident.

Not Your Grandfather’s Car

Cars today are built differently then they were in our grandfather’s day.  Today they are an engineering masterpiece of at least 15,000 different parts and moving pieces.  They still use the standard combustion engine, have four rubber tires and metal bodies, but of course the design of the vehicle’s body have changed considerably.  All vehicles need energy to run and they may still use gasoline or diesel fuel, and of course oil to keep all the parts lubricated and moving smoothly.\r\n\r\nThere are cars today that run on a combination of gasoline and electricity.  These hybrid vehicles work in tandem, running on electric until the special battery winds down and then switching over to gasoline as the battery charges back up.  Hybrids are helping to keep the pollution level down, but they are still expensive to buy and the way the vehicles are made makes them heavy.  Some countries offer owners of hybrid vehicles tax breaks for purchasing them.\r\n\r\nAnother alternative power source for vehicles that is being tested is fuel cells.  These are composite membranes, wires, and a box that is combined together to hold fresh supplies of hydrogen.  It mixes with oxygen with the aid of a catalyst to make the chemical energy that drives the motor.  The only by-product of fuel cell energy is water.  While fuel cells may be the most economically sound energy for a vehicle, it is still only in prototype and testing stages.

What the green light really means

When the traffic lights are set to green as you approach them, do you really know what it means? You may think it means all clear to go and this is only half right because in truth it means you can go if it is safe to do so. How long has it been green? The longer that it has of course the more likely it is to change to amber and that means stop and not I think I can get through!\r\n\r\nWhen the lights are at green, or in your favour, look both ways as you approach the junction, to satisfy yourself that you can get across safely, some joker might be taking a chance the other way. As always keep your eye on your rear view mirror as someone may be following you too closely, allowing you to slow carefully if the light changes to amber. All traffic lights are set according to the speed zones in which they are placed. If you are doing the correct speed limit, you will have adequate time to stop if the lights change to amber.

It Wasn’t My Fault

Accidents happen and who is at fault for the accident should be decided by the police and the insurance company.  While it’s hard not to say ‘I’m sorry’ when things of this nature happen, never admit to liability.  Let the professionals sort that out.  So what exactly causes a motor accident?  Some people will blame their vehicle.  Some will blame the weather and the traffic environment, and, as always, some will blame the other driver.  Occasionally, all three of those are to blame.\r\n\r\nWe can all blame our vehicles for our driving problems but in reality human error is the reason traffic accidents happen most of the time.  While things can go wrong with our vehicles when we are driving that could cause an accident, sometimes we will overcompensate and make matters worse.  Obviously we don’t mean to, but sometimes a person’s driving experience may be such that they don’t know how to handle, say, a blown out tire.  No matter who is to blame for an accident, remember that you and the other driver – if another is involved – will ultimately be the one that takes the blame for the accident, not your vehicle.\r\n\r\nPersonal attitude is a big factor when driving and you should never drive aggressively.  Always drive defensively with a proactive attitude when it comes to potential road hazards.  Never overestimate you driving abilities because we are all fallible at some point and certainly none of us are perfect drivers.  Never think that just because you are in your car that you are not vulnerable to injury.  Accidents can and do happen, and some of them are of course fatal.

More pre-test driver training is needed

It is a fact, maybe unpopular with some, but safe drivers are made, not born. Statistics that have been gathered prove beyond reasonable doubt that the more pre-test training that a novice driver, particularly young males, is given the less chance there is of them being killed or seriously injured. As an example of this, in Sweden 50 hours is the recommended number of pre driving test tuition, but if 120 hours is given the number of crashes involving these novice drivers reduces by a massive 40% in the following two years.\r\n\r\nNovice drivers, particularly the under 20s, are most at risk in the early weeks and months after they pass their driving test, the likely causes are using an old car, driving on Friday and Saturday nights, on rural roads, running off the road, skidding and losing control, in fog or poor visibility, and on bends, particularly rural roads. All of this points to what has been known for many years that there is no substitute for good tuition and lots of practice.

Overseas Driving

If you planning on travelling overseas to the United States, Europe, or Canada, you need to be prepared to drive on the opposite side of the road than what you are used to.  With careful planning and a lot of concentration, you can easily navigate the roads of another country without problems. \r\n\r\nIf you land in a foreign country and hire a rental car, you are immediately faced with the reality of driving on the opposite side of the road.  When visiting the United States and Canada, you will be driving a vehicle on the right-hand side of the road with the driver’s seat, steering wheel, and pedals on the left-hand side of the car.  This will seem strange at first, but with patience, you will get used to it.  Regardless of what the car you drive looks like or which side the steering wheel is on, always check out the fluids and tire pressure before you off on a trip.  Vehicles overseas have the same dipsticks for checking oil, compartment for distributing gas, and so on.\r\n\r\nMake sure you pay attention to the many different road signs in the country you are in.  The pictures on the traffic signs are usually all you need to understand the message the country is trying to convey.  Traffic lights are different in each country, with amber meaning to go with caution, in most places.  One of the biggest differences between driving in the United Kingdom and the United States is the way pedestrian crossing systems work.  In the UK, when approaching a crossing you are expected to slow down and stop if there are pedestrians in the walkway.  The pedestrian crossings in the United States are not like this, so you need to be aware of people crossing the road at traffic lights.

Heavy rain cancels classic motoring event

An event much looked forward to by motoring enthusiasts’ and the public alike was cancelled due to heavy rains over the weekend. The events were the annual Coventry Festival of Motoring on Saturday and Sunday, and the Classic Car Show at Himley Hall, Dudley, on Sunday which would have been an undoubted success with more than 500 cars entered for the Coventry event alone.\r\n\r\nBoth venues were completely waterlogged before the weekend rains making it impossible to hold this part of the festival. Part of the weekend was to include a parade around Warwickshire, and was organised by the Coventry Transport Museum. For those of you who have not paid a visit to this motoring museum, it is something that is to be recommended with over 240 cars, commercial vehicles and buses as well as around 100 motor cycles, which is the largest collection of British road transport with admission being free of charge.

Why are fuel prices still high?

Motorists are still being hit by rises in petrol prices even though oil is up to 25 per cent cheaper than in it was mid-July. Motorist throughout Britain are asking the question, “when oil increases in price, why do fuel prices react with amazing speed, but when the oil price falls, reaction to this is at a snails pace? Yet the AA reported that the average price at the pumps has actually risen by 0.5p a litre – to 112.72p – since the end of last week.\r\n\r\nThe motoring organisation said an 18 per cent drop in the wholesale price of petrol has not been fully passed on and that this reduction in price should represent a reduction of 8.5p per litre at the pump. Fuel prices hit a peak in July and they have been dropping from their peak on the 17th of that month at 119.7 for petro; and 133.25 for diesel, although not at the rate that they increased.

Car ownership increases

There are now only 25% of households without a car, according to the Department for Transport and people over the age of 70 years of age holding a full license has also increased to 52%. This rise in the elderly motoring population has led to calls from the RAC Foundation for road signs to have larger lettering and the Government is shortly to unveil proposals for how to improve the assessment of older drivers.\r\n\r\nMore females are driving now than ever before, it was once considered that it was not necessary for a woman to drive, as the husband saw to that! Of course times have moved on since the Second World War and women now represent a major proportion of the workforce and driving a car is an essential part of life, as seen by the fact that buses were used mainly by people under 30 and over 60, with 28 per cent of the population making at least one such journey every week.\r\n\r\nThe increase in the number of households that own, or have use of a car, has given rise to concern about safety on the roads. This is reflected in the travel pattern of children with the number of 7-10 year olds accompanied to school rising to 85 per cent last year, with the once common sight of children crossing the road dropping to 13 %. Times have indeed changed.

Shop around for your insurance

If you are young you should always shop around for your motor insurance cover, sensible no matter what age you are. Whether you”re a student, in your first job, or starting a young family it is pretty much guaranteed that if you are in your twenties and you will find most car insurers will hike up your premium because of your age. It doesn”t matter whether you have a no claims bonus, or if you”ve been in a few accidents, the majority of insurers will make anyone in their twenties pay over the odds for their insurance. \r\n\r\nThere are many insurers that will offer cover to the younger driver at competitive rates, but you must be prepared to accept that the premium will be higher than that paid by your parents. It clearly pays to look around for the best deal, because the insurance premium will possible be around 50% of your annual motoring costs, this compares with of around just 6% for an older an experienced driver. One way to reduce your motor insurance premium is to accept a relatively high excess in the event of an accident, but do not forget this must be paid irrespective of the circumstances of the accident. It pays to shop around either by telephone or internet, so go for it!

The DSA Multiple Choice Section

The Driving Standard Agency requires every citizen wishing to get a driver’s license to pass two tests: the theory test and the practical driving exam.  The theory test is based on what is learned during the classroom instruction of a citizen’s driver education course.  It is broken down into two sections, the multiple choice section which is based on book knowledge, and the hazard perception clip test, which requires the student to identify potential driving hazards in fourteen presented scenarios.  Both tests must be passed before the person can move on and take the driving test.\r\n\r\nThe multiple choice section of the DSA theory test is made up of thirty-five questions.  It is administered on a computer with a touch screen where the student would select their answer.  The student needs to correctly answer thirty of the thirty-five questions in order to pass.  If you need to give more than one answer to a question, the computer will alert you by flashing the text at the upper left hand corner.  Students have forty minutes to complete the test and it will end automatically at the end of that time period.\r\n\r\nIf the student finishes the test before the end of the forty minutes, they have the opportunity to review their test and to make sure they have submitted thirty-five answers.  The student will then be given a three minute break before starting the other part of the DSA theory examination, the hazard-perception test.  If the student passes both portions of the test, they will be allowed to schedule the driving portion in order to get their drivers license.

New careless driving laws in force

All drivers should be reminded that new careless driving laws are now in force and conviction under these can in certain cases mean a lengthy jail sentence. An example is of a driver who was in a conversation on his mobile ‘phone with his mother for a staggering 23 minutes, was inevitably in collision with other vehicles resulting in a death and serious injuries to others. As a result of his misdemeanors he received a prison sentence of four and a half years.\r\n\r\nTalking, or using text messaging on your mobile telephone is not the only offence for which you could be imprisoned, others are drinking and eating, applying make-up or anything else which takes your concentrations away from the road will now be considered by courts. The example given highlights just how important it is for drivers to concentrate on the road ahead at all times.