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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Manners Cost Nothing But Mean Everything

A little talked about element of advanced driving, but one that can make a huge day-to-day difference is "courtesy".

Think back on your last drive. Did you acknowledge the kindness of another driver who made way for you at a junction? Did you apologise when you made a mistake and caused another road-user to slow down or take avoiding action?  Did you hold back from a learner driver; giving them room so that they could perform their manoeuvres without feeling pressured?

During an associate's training for the advanced driving test, we stress the need for courtesy and highlight that, as advanced drivers, we should be setting the standard. However, courtesy is also much more than just saying thank-you (with your left-hand, rather than your right) or acknowledging your mistakes and apologising.  There are numerous actions, which we could all take each time we get behind the wheel, to make everyone's journey just a little bit more pleasant.  For example:
  • If you're in a queue of traffic, especially now the darker mornings and evenings are coming, don't sit there with your foot on the brake pedal. By applying the handbrake and removing your foot from the pedal, you'll  avoid blinding the driver behind with your brake lights. This is increasingly pertinent with the popularity of LED lights now.
  • In slow moving traffic, don't get fixated on the car in front but instead scan the road ahead and around you. Is there an action you could take which could help the traffic flow? Could you leave a bigger gap so that there is a safe area for a cyclist or motorcyclist to move into? Could you let the car, which is trying to join from a side-road out or, by not blocking a side road, help the flow of traffic in the opposite direction?  
  • When driving along motorways or dual carriageways always look out for slip roads or side turnings that join. If they are active then, by checking your mirrors and moving out to the right-hand lane, you will assist the person joining.
  • If, whilst driving in lane 2 with the aim of overtaking a vehicle in lane 1, you notice that it is itself closing up on a vehicle in front and you also see that lane 3 is free, consider moving into lane 3 to allow the vehicle in lane 1 to move into lane 2, rather than having to brake.
  • Stay alert at night when on unlit roads and driving on main-beam to pedestrians and other road users. Consider dipping your lights occasionally just to check that there is nothing coming (especially on bends or when cresting the brow of a hill) and avoid retaliating if someone is not as quick as you at dipping their lights - all this will result in is two drivers, travelling in opposite directions, being blinded.
A good habit to start to develop is to reflect, after each journey, on what you could have done differently. We know that there is no such thing as the perfect drive, or the perfect driver, but by being self-critical, committed to self-improvement and adopting the mantra that "priority should only ever given, never taken", we can go some way to making the roads a safer, friendlier place to be.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Motorway con man jailed for duping kind-hearted motorists

Warning from Wiltshire Police 

Scammers are always looking for new ways of relieving you of your money. For one man, that was preying on good Samaritans on the M4. 

He would loiter on motorway slip roads toting a green fuel can and flag down passing motorists. There he'd claim that his car had run out of fuel and request a lift to the nearest service station.

Of course along the way he'd then ask for money for the fuel, or for repairs to his vehicle - which was conspicuously absent. The technique netted him thousands of pounds from benevolent passers-by - and also a 2-year stretch in prison as he was jailed yesterday.

Motorway scams of this ilk seem to be on the rise. Other similar cons have been reported on the M40, M25, M6 and M56, often involving a 'broken down' vehicle, sometimes with children inside. The perpetrators will ask for money for repairs or petrol and in the most common version of the fraud they'll offer up jewellery as collateral for the money - which is, you guessed it, cheap and fake.

Don't be discouraged from stopping to help genuinely stranded motorists though, just keep your wits about you and never part with cash.

Monday, 16 November 2015

SFL test passes

  Hearty Congratulations to Alan Andrews



and Guy Bates for passing the Advanced

                       Driving test



                       Well done Guys !!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Severe weather warning driving tips from the IAM

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for heavy rain across the UK. The IAM are advising on how to keep safe in the storms. 

• Take care when setting your heater controls. Rain can cause windows to mist up in seconds – you don't want to be fiddling with the controls when you should be concentrating on the road so familiarise yourself with the fast demist and directional controls.
• Remember, always see and be seen at all times – as rule of thumb, whenever you need to use the wipers you should also make sure your dipped headlights are switched on, and before overtaking put your wipers on their fastest setting.
• Keep your eyes on the road ahead and plan your driving so that you can brake, accelerate and steer smoothly – harsh manoeuvres will unbalance the car.
• Slow down – in the rain stopping distance is at least doubled. Give yourself more space to help avoid spray, especially when following a large vehicle.
• If you have cruise control, avoid using it on wet roads – you need to pay more attention to road surface conditions and alter your speed gently.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Man caught 'grossly' speeding put behind bars

Emergency vehicle lighting
A man has been jailed, having been caught speeding at 192mph on a Northamptonshire road.

The forty-two year-old from Northampton, was convicted after police found footage that had been recorded on his mobile phone, showing him driving multiple performance cars at excessive speeds, when he was arrested for an unrelated reason. 

One video shows him hitting a speed of 192mph in a Nissan GT-R.

According to the BBC, he was sentenced to 28 months behind bars, after being found guilty of four counts of dangerous driving.

Northampton Crown Court heard that he had displayed 'no regard for the safety of other motorists, pedestrians or himself.'

He had filmed his speeding on several occasions in Northamptonshire, including the A45, between 2012 and 2014, the court was told.

He denied all the charges levelled against him.

Northamptonshire Police, said officers discovered "multiple videos" on his mobile phone after he was taken under arrest earlier this year.

He said the videos depicted him "driving grossly in excess of the maximum national speed limit with no regard for the safety of other motorists, pedestrians or himself".

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), described the man's driving as "criminally dangerous".

He was also handed a 10-year driving ban and will have to sit an extended re-test to regain his license.

His daughter aged 23, was also found guilty, with the offence of encouraging dangerous driving. She was given a two-year driving disqualification and an 18-month conditional discharge.

Police said the footage showed his daughter encouraging her father to drive at high speed.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


The Aston Martin DB10 that features in the James Bond movie Spectre has begun a tour of dealerships, beginning with Newport Pagnell.

More than 500 people turned up to visit the Aston Martin Works to see the sport car manufacturer's newest creation. 

Premiering in cinemas on Monday October 26, Spectre features an iconic car chase between the DB10 and a Jaguar C-X75.

Stunt driver Mark Higgins, who drove the DB10 for the film also attended the event, and was able to impart some of his experiences of the making of Spectre to the crowd.

The new DB10 was shown alongside a classic Aston Martin DB5, which had previously been used in the film Skyfall.

Guests were also challenged to test their own driving skills – though in a virtual reality. Asked to post their quickest times on a Playstation 4 simulator, guests were later given prizes.

Paul Spires, Aston Martin Works Managing Director said: "The whole day was a superb occasion. I was thrilled to see so many of our customers come along to see for themselves the incredible DB10.

"It was also a real delight to see so many youngsters – potential Aston Martin customers of the future – join us on the day."

The DB10 will now continue its tour throughout the country, visiting Aston Martin dealerships throughout the country. A specially-made car, the DB10 is limited to just ten examples – a run that increases the exclusivity and theatre that already surrounds the car.

Devon drivers can park on double yellows for £5 a day

Kerb Side...
Devon County Council has been criticised for a new parking permit system that allows some drivers to park on double yellow lines for £5 a day.

In the past, like many councils, it has allowed people to apply for a permit to park in areas where it's usually banned, for example when work is being carried out on a property.

Now, though, it's to allow business owners, landlords and contractors to pre-purchase a book of dispensation permits. They can be used almost anywhere and any time, though not at the owner's home or business address.

There's a £5 charge for signing up to the scheme, with each daily permit costing the same.

But some locals are concerned that the permits could be sold on or lent to family and friends - particularly as most legitimate parking in the area costs more. The council has been accused of compromising safety in order to make more money.

A council source said "Almost anyone can apply and there will be little to no checks made – it's all just about money."

However, Devon County Council has promised to police the system carefully.

"The usage of the dispensation permits, as with all permits issued by the county council, are monitored by our civil enforcement officers," said a spokesman
"All dispensation permits require the display of contact telephone numbers and our team will make contact with the permit holder should there be an issue or concerns over their use."

Councils are increasingly being accused of using parking as a cash cow, with residents complaining that the price of parking outside their own home goes up every year.

Earlier this year, one man took the extreme step of forging a permit to park in his street, attempting to save himself £160 for the year.

In some cases, parking permit systems have been ruled unlawful by the courts. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that Barnet council in north London acted unlawfully when it put up the cost of residents' parking permits and visitor vouchers in controlled parking zones from £40 to £100.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Kent Group Test Passes


        Hearty congratulations go to

   Sam Pickard & Peter Dommett for

   passing their Advanced Driving Test

                  Well done Guys !!