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Monday, 27 June 2016

Tyre Safety Awareness

IAM RoadSmart (formerly The Institute of Advanced Motorists), the UK's leading road safety charity with a focus on improving driving and riding skills, has become an official supporter of TyreSafe, the UK's not-for-profit tyre safety awareness organisation.

Formed in 1956, IAM RoadSmart has 60 years' experience in making Britain's roads safer by improving driver and rider skills through coaching and education. With more than 200 groups nationwide and 7000 drivers and riders actively participating in its acclaimed and widely-recognised courses, IAM RoadSmart is considered the leading advanced driver training provider in the UK. Having direct contact with thousands of motorists every day, a significant presence in the media and being a respected source of information for road safety policymakers and stakeholders, TyreSafe is delighted to welcome IAM RoadSmart to its ever-expanding network of supporters.

IAM RoadSmart CEO, Sarah Sillars, OBE and Hon FIMI, said: "IAM RoadSmart's mission is to improve driving and riding skills to help reduce the number of accidents and incidents on Britain's roads. Over the course of the charity's illustrious 60-year history, our trainers and coaches have enhanced the skills of nearly half-a-million drivers, and with our recent relaunch, we have ambitions to increase the number of participants through a broader offering. Educating drivers and riders on all aspects of road safety will remain an essential part of that, and access to TyreSafe's expertise and materials will be a considerable asset."

Stuart Jackson, chairman, TyreSafe, said: "IAM RoadSmart is not only the pre-eminent provider of driver training in the UK, it's also one of the most respected names in the automotive industry. Its official support for TyreSafe reflects the growing number of organisations acknowledging the need to raise the tyre safety awareness agenda among Britain's motorists. Tyres are one of a vehicle's primary safety features and need regular maintenance checks to ensure they are roadworthy - we welcome IAM RoadSmart's support in spreading this message to Britain's motorists. "

In 2016, TyreSafe marks the tenth anniversary of its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of defective and illegal tyres. The not-for-profit organisation recommends drivers check their tyres' pressure, condition and tread depth at least once a month and before long journeys, and offers advice and information relevant to all motorists. For more information, please visit www.tyresafe.org. 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Chairman's Award 2016

Congratulations go to Trevor Cobb who really earned this Award
Thank you Trevor for all that you do for the Kent Car Group

National Observer Test Pass

Hearty Congratulations to Richard Hazell who has passed
The National Observer Test .... well done Richard!!

Test Pass

Congratulations to Chris Reynolds who passed the
Advanced Driving Test - well done Chris!!

Driving through roadworks

Driving through roadworks can be nerve wracking. Narrower lanes, slow traffic and fraying tempers all add to the challenge. But as long as you drive carefully and at a steady speed your journey needn't be stressful. Here's some advice from IAM RoadSmart's head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, to ensure your motorway journey through roadworks is as safe and stress-free as possible.
  • Ideally, you should check the status of any roads you plan to use beforehand. If there are significant amounts of repair works and you think you might get caught up in traffic consider taking a different route, even if it means covering a few more miles.

  • If there's no alternative route, give yourself more time to travel and ensure you have plenty of fuel. Running out of fuel is one of the most common reasons for a breakdown on the motorway, so don't risk running on a low tank.

  • Maintain a safe following distance of at least 2 seconds and if other traffic moves into your gap adjust it by slowing very slightly. You won't add more than a couple of seconds to your journey.

  • Try and look as far ahead as possible. There may be a lane that's restricted and marked off by cones. If it is safe to do so, merge in turn if vehicles are travelling at low speed.

  • Keep an eye out for any roadwork signs that give you particular instructions. There may also be a temporary maximum speed limit that you will need to adhere to.

  • Average speed cameras are also common where long term roadworks are in force – be prepared to slow down throughout. They are there for your safety and the safety of the workforce.

    Richard said: "If you can see traffic building up then avoid switching lanes too often. Changing lanes on extremely busy roads will increase your chances of being involved in a collision and also slows down traffic flow.

    "So long as you stay alert and plan ahead, your journey should be a safe and stress free one

Top Gear presenters confirmed as special guests at IAM RoadSmart 60th anniversa

Two of the longest serving presenters of popular BBC motoring show Top Gear have been confirmed as panel guests for the IAM/IAM RoadSmart 60th anniversary car party on 9 July. And they will be joined by one of the organisation's youngest representatives on the panel, who is just 18.

Chris Goffey, who co-presented from 1981-2000 and Sue Baker, who co-presented from 1980-91, will be at IAM RoadSmart's birthday event at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.

They will be joined on the panel by Paddy Hopkirk, legendary rally and race driver; and winner of the 1964 Monte Carlo and 1967 Acropolis Rallies.

The trio will talk about their long and successful careers, share their views on current motoring and motorsport topics and take questions from the audience.

In addition, the viewpoint of the young driver will be given by our fourth panellist - 18-year-old advanced driver and IAM RoadSmart Young Driver Ambassador Eloise Peabody-Rolf.

The event will be a celebration of all things motoring, while looking at the many highlights of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and now IAM RoadSmart's 60 years. In that time, the charity has remained dedicated to promoting safer driving initiatives and making better drivers and riders through advanced driving and riding techniques.

Established in 1956, the Institute of Advanced Motorists came onto the motoring landscape at a time when there were more than 5,000 deaths a year on UK roads.

By 1994, 250,000 people had taken and passed their advanced test. Today the numbers of people killed on UK roads stands at slightly over 1,700.

To date more than 400,000 people have passed the advanced test for drivers and riders, which is delivered by over 200 local groups around the country. Those groups are ably manned by a network of more than 5,000 volunteers.

Chris said: "I am delighted to be a part of IAM RoadSmart's 60th anniversary. I also look forward to meeting so many real enthusiasts who know so much about the UK motoring scene over the years. I'm sure myself and Sue sharing our tales of our Top Gear years will be a lot of fun."

Added Sue, who takes her advanced test every decade to ensure her skills are up-to-date, said: "I really enjoyed my time on Top Gear, and alongside Chris and Paddy it should be a lively discussion with a lot of laughs. I am looking forward to celebrating IAM RoadSmart's 60 years on the day."

Eloise said: "I am happy to be a part of IAM RoadSmart's birthday party. It'll be great to bring a different perspective to the panel, and shows that the organisation welcomes the opinions of young people."

For more information about the event and to book tickets online (at £10 a person), click here: https://www.iamroadsmart.com/carparty  

Or you can book over the phone on 0300 303 1134.

IAM RoadSmart has a similar party a week earlier for biking enthusiasts. Taking place at the National Motor Museum on 2 July 2, more information can be obtained here: https://www.iamroadsmart.com/bikeparty

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Driver battles council over 'confusing' road sign - and wins

Now thousands more may claim

Mr Mustoe standing by the sign.

A Bristol motorist has won a legal battle over a No Entry sign that he claimed was tricking drivers.

Eddie Mustoe, 54, was caught driving past the sign and given a £60 fine and three penalty points.

But, he says, it was an honest mistake - and he's spent a year proving his case. He's now been cleared of failing to comply with a lawfully placed road sign by magistrates in Yate, South Gloucestershire.

"I was stuck in the lane not knowing what to do and I could not reverse, so I had to drive down it," Mr Mustoe said

"The police followed me and pulled me over and when I looked at the sign I thought it was like no other I had seen before and so it just did not make sense to me."

The grey, rectangular sign carries the standard circular red and white 'no entry' sign above the words 'Except buses, coaches, taxis and cyclists' in black and white.

However, by law, such signs should instead show images of the permitted vehicles and the single word 'except'.

While Avon and Somerset police say that they haven't issued any tickets to motorists for for contravening the sign in the past 12 months, it has been in place for 30 years.

Mr Mustoe describes it as a 'cash cow' - and his solicitor, Marcus Lavell, says he believes large numbers of motorists may have been caught out.

"Given the duration of the sign's use and the fact that this is a major junction in the centre of Bristol I would have thought several thousand motorists would have been caught over the years," he says.

Motorists caught out by the sign may now come forward to take action against the council.

Last summer, a similar minor blunder in signage allowed hundreds of people to claim a refund of parking fines, after a warning sign was found to be positioned three inches too low.

When Swansea councillor Sybil Crouch received a fine after parking in a loading bay by mistake, she challenged her ticket and won. It emerged that 320 people had made the same mistake in the previous nine months; all were promised their money back

Friday, 17 June 2016

Rally ace Hopkirk passes advanced driving assessment – for the second time

Rally legend Paddy Hopkirk has taken and passed his IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driver Course for the second time – 27 years after he took it originally.

Paddy was appointed IAM RoadSmart's Mature Driver Ambassador earlier in the year, and has been promoting the charity's work during his many public appearances up and down the UK.

In a 15 year professional racing career in which he has become a household name, Paddy, now 83, won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally and 1967 Acropolis Rally in a Mini – one of few UK drivers to have won a rally at world level.

He finished second in the fearsome London to Sydney marathon in 1968 – giving up a certain win when he and his co-driver rescued a fellow competitor from their burning car. He also won the Circuit of Ireland Rally five times and was an accomplished circuit racer too, competing at Le Mans and Sebring in the USA.

Paddy has now put his money where his mouth is – and in spite of his vast experience and success behind the wheel, has had his driving assessed twice by IAM RoadSmart recently.

He has taken the organisation's Mature Driver Assessment (MDA), a one-hour lesson aimed at giving older drivers the assurance they need to maintain their driving careers long into the future, as well as pointing out any areas that could be improved upon. The MDA is not a test and there is no pass or fail grading at the end.

In Paddy's own inimitable style he wanted to go one stage further and retook his Advanced Driver Course – passing with flying colours.

He said: "I took the test again as an encouragement to older drivers. Anyone can benefit from a little extra advice, as a way of becoming a safer and more confident driver on today's roads."

Paddy talked about what he learnt this time round taking the Advanced Driver Course, saying: "Having taken the course I think about my driving more, rather than it being automatic."

"For instance, I really learnt a lot about the useful information conveyed by road signs and painted lines on the road.  They really do make life easier!"

For more information about IAM RoadSmart courses please call 0300 303 1134.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Drink driving - UEFA Euro 2016

With UEFA Euro 2016 all set to start this weekend, the likelihood of football fans enjoying a couple more drinks than usual are pretty high. Here's some advice from IAM RoadSmart's Driver Retraining Academy project leader, Chris Davies, to guide you through safe drink-driving this football season.
  • Did you know that an average strength pint of beer (four per cent) can take at least two hours to leave your blood stream? This means four pints of average strength beer would take more than eight hours to leave your system. Think carefully about how much you plan on drinking beforehand as overdoing it can have severe consequences the next morning.

  • Don't forget that the legal limit in England and Wales is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, while the limit in Scotland is lower at 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. So even though you might think you're under the limit you may be well over – drink with caution, stay safe and leave the car at home.

  • Knowing what you're drinking will give you a better idea of how many units you're consuming – so certainly avoid mixing your drinks at all costs.

  • If you must drink then alternate alcoholic beverages with soft drinks and water to give your body more of a chance to flush out the alcohol from your system. And when you do choose to have an alcoholic drink try to opt for lower strength one's of four per cent ABV or lower.

  • Definitely avoid drinking alcohol well before the end of the night so you can give your body more time to process any alcohol left in your blood stream the following morning. If in doubt do not drive under any circumstances.

Chris said: "We understand that fans will want to enjoy a football match over a fresh pint of beer, but taking more than the recommended guidelines will put your health and that of others at severe risk.

"Certainly avoid drinking at all costs if you will be getting behind the wheel – you will only end up putting your licence, livelihood and liberty at stake, so simply don't risk it!"

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

25 years of Observing

Hearty congratulations to Trish Weston who has
completed 25 years of Observing for the
Kent Group of Advanced Motorists - thank you Trish!!

test pass

Well done to Bryan Wilson for achieving a F1rst Class
IAM Advanced Driving Test Certificate

Test Pass

Congratulations to Brian Payne on passing his IAM Advanced Test