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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Truck driver boards ferry over plank 'bridge'

Truck driver boards ferry over plank 'bridge' (video)
Never mind walking the plank, one motorist decided to drive the plank to board a ferry in his truck.

The driver can be seen inching the vehicle onto two decidedly unsafe-looking wobbly planks in order to board the waiting ferry.

Undeterred by the unnerving lack of sturdiness, the man continues with his bid in front of a crowd of people, and amazingly manages to make it onto the boat without damaging the car - or himself.

Dog spotted on motorbike at 70mph

Dog spotted on motorbike at 70mph (video)
It's not every day you see a pet dog strapped to the back of a motorbike going 70mph along the motorway.

That's why a car passenger decided to catch the scene on his mobile phone as the female rider whizzed past with a super-cute schnauzer strapped to the back of her bike.

The woman waves and gives a thumbs up as she passes by back-to-back with her dog strapped in on the bike.

No leathers but at least the dog appears to be wearing googles!!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Bystanders hit by car in Volvo safety demonstration

Volvo demonstation accident

Carmakers are currently ploughing countless millions into the development of advanced safety technology in a bid to make sure their products are as safe as possible. However, for all their sensors and autonomous braking capabilities, cars are still unable to account for one thing: the idiot behind the wheel.

And so it turned out for Volvo this month, at a recent demonstration of its 'City-Safety' technology. In theory, the system is designed to detect objects in front of it and apply the brakes automatically in the event of an impending collision.

Such kit has been available for some time, though Volvo's latest development is claimed to better recognise pedestrians and cyclists and act accordingly. That is, if it's turned on...

Embarrassingly for the Swedish brand – and unfortunately for the hapless volunteers stood in front of the XC60 test mule in this video – it seems the driver forgot to turn the system on before conducting the test. What happens next plays out with wince-inducing inevitability, though we're glad to report that no-one was seriously injured.

Volvo is at the forefront of developing advanced vehicle safety technology as part of its 'Vision 20:20', in which it aims to reduce the number of people killed or injured by a Volvo car to zero by the year 2020.

Yaya caught doing 124mph

Manchester City player Yaya Toure has allegedly been caught speeding at 124mph by police in Staffordshire.

The Ivory Coast international is believed to have been traveling along the M6 motorway near Stoke-on-Trent on Wednesday evening, when police stopped his Porsche 911.

A spokeswoman for Staffordshire Police said: "At around 8.40pm on Wednesday 20 May, officers stopped a vehicle traveling at 124mph on the northbound carriageway of the M6 between junctions 15 and 16,"

"The driver, a 32-year-old man from Cheshire, will be reported for summons to appear at court on a future date."

Toure was allowed to continue on his way but will have to provide police with his driving licence and insurance details within a week of being stopped. He will then be summonsed to appear before magistrates.

The midfielder earns £210,000 a week at the Manchester team,

Yaya's brother, Kolo Toure, escaped a driving ban this month for being caught speeding twice in one week, after his legal representatives argued that his life would be put in danger by traveling on public transport.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Avoid a ruck with a truck

This week's driving tips from the IAM's head of driving standards, Peter Rodger, are looking at how to handle overtaking lorries on the motorway. Many people feel intimidated when dealing with large trucks on motorways, however, with careful planning this needn't be a problem.
  • Be aware that all lorries based within the EU are restricted to driving at 56mph; so their speed is relatively predictable.
  • In essence, you shouldn't drive at 50mph in a lane to the right of a truck as it cannot overtake you, but the driver may be trying to keep to a tight delivery timetable and need to maintain the higher speed at 56mph.
  • Be careful when overtaking left-hand-drive lorries on UK roads as they will have very little visibility of you to their right – the blind spot can be quite big.
  • One of the ways to identify a foreign truck is if the registration plate of a lorry ahead of you is anything other than an amber-coloured UK plate. While the truck driver can see much further ahead of you, he can see less on either side of him.
  • If you can, try to see the driver's face before you overtake them. If you cannot see it, the driver will be unable to see you either.
  • Look out for the pattern of mirrors on a lorry – left-hand-drive lorries will usually have a mirror pointing downwards on the right-hand side which means you can identify them more easily (UK trucks have this mirror on the left.)
  • If you can, you should allow an additional lane when passing lorries (e.g. go into the third lane and not just the second lane.) This means you will be less likely to be "side swiped" by a truck driver who didn't see you. Trucks tend to create a lot of wind effect in front of and behind them causing passing vehicles to be blown around and this avoids that problem as well.
  • Avoid making last minute manoeuvres and leave plenty of room between you and the lorry to avoid any sudden collisions. Remember, trucks cannot react in the same way as a car can – give them space.

Peter Rodger said: "There is no reason why dealing with lorries should be a cause for worry. What would make matters a lot easier for everyone is allowing space and time for the truck driver to react and do their thing. They will appreciate it if you show them this courtesy, and make your motorway journey a far sweeter experience. Happy motoring!"

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Women gets parking ticket after council moves her car onto double yellow lines

Council moves car onto double yellow lines then issues fine

The geniuses working for Manchester Council demonstrated some award-winning decision-making last week, when they moved a legally-parked car onto double yellow lines - and then slapped it with a parking ticket.

Clair Morris had parked her Mazda MX perfectly legally near her home in West Didsbury, but when the council wanted to paint brand new double yellow lines along that side of the road, they just picked her car up and moved it to the other side. The tiny flaw in their plan was to move it onto double yellow lines on the other side of the road - so she was promptly slapped with a parking ticket.

33-year-old Clair tweeted a photo of her car and the ticket, adding that it was 'Off the scale" and suggesting: "I'm going to paint some lines under your building and stick a ticket on you. SEE HOW YOU LIKE IT."

BBC News reported that when they were made aware of their mistake a council spokesman said: "The car should not have been moved to a location with double yellow lines, and this ticket should not have been issued and will be cancelled. Our contractors apologise for this error and we are now insisting that they follow our strict codes of conduct."

Monday, 11 May 2015

Why do our Motorways get closed?

185,000 broken down vehicles and 122 children – just two reasons why motorways were closed in 2014
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has discovered that more than 40% of all motorway and major A road lane closures in England in 2014 were caused by vehicle breakdowns – and 122 unsupervised children caused them to be shut too.

The information came from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request from the IAM, the biggest independent road safety charity in the UK, which asked for the number of incidences of lane closures on roads managed by Highways England's in 2014.

In total there were 443,590 lane closures on motorways and primary A roads in England last year for 44 defined reasons by Highways England.

Some of the major findings of the report were as follows:

•    12,759 pedestrians walking on a motorway live lane or active A road caused lane closures (three per cent of all incidences) in addition to the 122 unsupervised children.

•    There were also 7,446 cases of a 'non-legal' use of the hard shoulder – some two per cent of recorded incidences.

•    Other causes listed were 3,990 animals loose on the network; 2,598 abandoned vehicles and 6,742 shed tyres

•    6,288 injury collisions and 29,656 non-injury collisions also caused lane closures

•    856 suicides or attempted suicides caused roads to be shut on England's main routes.

•    There were also 152 cases of objects being thrown onto the roads, and 567 cases of a vehicle driving on the wrong side of the road causing roads to be closed.

The other top five reasons for road closures, apart from breakdowns were planned roadworks, assorted obstructions, non-injury accidents and administration (mainly police and VOSA checks).

The numbers of incidents are as follows:

1. Breakdown                     185,457    41%
2. Planned road works (definition 1 below)    61,587     14%
3. Obstruction – other             36,042     8%
4. Road traffic collision – no injury         29,656     7%
5. Administration (definition 2 below)        23,705     5%

Of the 185,457 breakdowns; 40,192 were in a 'live lane' i.e. a lane with other moving traffic around it.

Almost half a million incidents took place in 2014 that led to a lane closure costing the economy an estimated £1 billion a year (based on existing government data – reference 1) in terms of lost man hours on motorways alone.

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: "There are many worrying things that emerge from this information. Firstly, people are putting their own lives at risk and those of others by not maintaining their vehicles properly to the point they break down on our busiest roads.

"While we appreciate that a few breakdowns are unavoidable, such as a tyre blow out, the vast majority can be avoided or dealt with before taking a vehicle onto a key route. 

"It also shows people do not treat our key economic arteries with the respect they deserve. Pedestrians, unsupervised children and objects thrown on the road should never be happening. It is clear an education and awareness campaign starting at school age is badly needed."

She added: "Investment in our roads would also play a big part in reducing some of those sorry statistics - having more than 5,700 pothole incidences causing road closures is not something England can be proud of."

The IAM also advocates continual training and development to improve the skills of drivers on our roads, which would go some way to tackling the nearly 30,000 non-injury collisions on our roads identified in this survey (reference 2).

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Parking madness: Are these the UK's shortest yellow lines?

A set of double yellow lines on Leigh Road in Bristol as a council has defended painting the set of double yellow lines measuring less than a metre long on a residential street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 5, 2015. Elected mayor George Ferguson introduced the controversial plans to combat parking problems in parts of the city. Residents have poked fun at the lines - which are more than 50cm shorter than the front of a Smart car - on social media. See PA story SOCIAL Lines. Photo credit should read: Claire Hayhurst/PA Wire

A council has defended painting a set of double yellow lines measuring less than a metre long on a residential street.

The lines appear on Leigh Road in the Clifton area of Bristol, as part of a new residents' parking scheme.

Elected mayor George Ferguson introduced the controversial plans to combat parkingproblems in parts of the city. 

Residents have poked fun at the lines - which are more than 50cm shorter than the front of a Smart car - on social media.

But a spokeswoman for Bristol City Council said they had been installed for a "very good reason" and prevented bad parking.

"Our intention is to optimise the available parking capacity in Bristol's residents' parking scheme areas," she said.

A set of double yellow lines on Leigh Road in Bristol as a council has defended painting the set of double yellow lines measuring less than a metre long on a residential street. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 5, 2015. Elected mayor George Ferguson introduced the controversial plans to combat parking problems in parts of the city. Residents have poked fun at the lines - which are more than 50cm shorter than the front of a Smart car - on social media. See PA story SOCIAL Lines. Photo credit should read: Claire Hayhurst/PA Wire

There is a very good reason why these short sections of double yellow lines are installed and that is to prevent inconsiderate parking.

"We are ensuring residents with driveways and garages have enough space to get in and out of them; if, instead of being prevented from gaining access by motorists parking too close to or even over the entrance, they can actually use their driveways and garages it will create more space on the street for those without them."

Road safety group slams new HGV speed limits

HGV stock

Hauliers across the country may be celebrating new higher speed limits for HGVs, but the move has been criticised by road safety campaigners who claim that lives are being put at risk.

A change in legislation sees the speed limit for heavy goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes rise from 40mph to 50mph on single-lane roads, and from 50mph to 60mph on dual carriageways.

The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the move, claiming that it will reduce the occurrence of hasty overtaking moves by frustrated motorists stuck behind lorries, therefore improving overall road safety.

Highlighting the benefit to haulage firms, FTA spokesman Malcolm Bingham said: "We believe that it will benefit industry as it will allow operators to use the additional speed, where it is safe to do so, and gain running cost benefits," the Press Association reports.

However, road safety charity Brake has been quick to condemn the move as hasty, and claims that road users are being subjected to needless additional risk.

Brake's campaigns manager Gary Rae told the Press Association: "The decision to increase HGV speed limits is short-sighted and runs against work to more effectively manage traffic speeds and reduce casualties on our roads.

"The relationship between speed and casualties is a proven one, so allowing the largest vehicles on our roads to reach higher speeds more often risks more deaths, serious injuries, and additional cost to the taxpayer."

Do you think increased speed limits for HGVs will improve road safety?

DVLA set to make millions from premium rate phone line

UK driving licence replacement costs

The DVLA is set to raise millions of pounds through premium rate telephone lines, following the scrapping of the counterpart paper driving licence on June 08.

After that date, care hire companies, garages and anyone else needing to check a driver's details will need to ring a new premium rate phone number operated by the DVLA, provided the driver in question hasn't shared their details online.

Licence holders themselves will be forced to use a new online code system, which requires them to supply their national insurance number, postcode and driving licence number, whenever they need to share their licence record with a third party.

Motoring Research reports that around 10,000 test drives and courtesy car loans take place each day in the UK – something which could dramatically increase revenue for the DVLA, with each phone call costing 51p per minute. The number of calls received annually is expected to rise from 2.5 million to 10 million.

The scrapping of the counterpart driving licence follows the abolition of the in-car tax disc, as the DVLA restructures its services. Drivers are urged to ensure their vehicles are taxed, particularly if they have recently purchased it, to avoid the possibility of having their car clamped.

Do you think abolishing the counterpart driving licence is a good idea?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Congratulations Goes Too...

 (from left to right) Ian Sladden, Dave Nichson, Caroline McAteer, Ann Witherden,
Bob Broad and Matthew Nott. 

A busy morning at the Kent Group of Advanced Motorists today.  Chairman Linda Davies presented no less then six test pass certificates. Ian Sladden, Dave Nichson, Caroline McAteer, Ann Witherden, Bob Broad and Matthew Nott.  (Pictured above)

A big congratulations to them all for passing the challenge of becoming an Advanced Motorist.

If you wish to become an advanced motorist and join Ian, Dave, Caroline, Ann, Bob, Matthew and countless others please visit our website for more details.

Friday, 1 May 2015

IAM warns of manufacturers turning cars into living rooms

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has warned that car manufacturers are building high-tech distractions into their new vehicles and have made interiors so comfortable they are being turned into living rooms.

The warning came from IAM chief executive officer Sarah Sillars, who said efforts to reduce distraction factors for motorists are being undone by the relentless pace of technology and eagerness of car makers to pack more gadgets onto dashboards.

She said the main areas of concern were highly sophisticated satellite-navigation and GPS systems, smartphones that mirror tablets and easy connectivity of internet and social media.

The IAM has suggested the UK should adopt guidelines suggested by the US Department of Transportation and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

They say drivers should be restricted from using certain non-essential forms of technology while the vehicle is in motion, and car makers should not introduce any technological development which takes the driver's attention off the road for longer than two seconds (reference 1).

These voluntary guidelines are to be phased in over the next three years to address this large-scale problem in the USA.

US Federal data figures showed in 2011 that accidents involving a distracted driver killed 3,331 people and injured another 387,000 (reference 2).

And for younger drivers the problem is worse. Car accidents are the main cause of death of teenagers (as it is for all people aged between five and 34), and a quarter of all teen-driving crashes in the US are attributed to distracted driving (reference 3).

Sarah said: "We cannot allow the same trends in the USA to happen here. While car makers work constantly to incorporate active and passive safety features into vehicles, making us safer than ever before, they are also guilty of making us too comfortable and making us feel more cosseted – like we were in our own living rooms."

The IAM says as technology constantly changes, continued education campaigns are required to reinforce and update the current laws (reference 4).

Sarah concluded: "Technology could be a great way of helping to cut the numbers of people killed and seriously injured on our roads. It would be a tragedy if technology became a reason why more, rather than less, people lose their lives."

National Observer Pass

Hearty Congratulations to David Ibbott who proudly shows off his newly earned National Observer Certificate.  Well done that man!!