Archive 31st May 2013

Tips on Preventing Drinking and Driving

The tips you’re about to read in the following words come two fold. First of all, you will learn how to become a responsible person when dealing with alcohol when YOU are driving. Secondly, you will learn how to prevent people who are drunk or suspected to be over the limit from driving.

The fact is that we’re all responsible at the end of the day. Tragically, there have been times when people have known someone shouldn’t have got into a car after they’ve had a couple of drinks and there is an accident as a result. Distressing as it is for the person that was behind the wheel, it doesn’t stop the person who knew they should have been stopped from feeling guilty as well.

So, let’s start with what you should do if you’re likely to be tempted by alcohol:

If Going Out in a Group

Before any of you get into the “party mood” you should always make sure you have a designated driver. Who you choose can depend on a few things. Do you know this person won’t throw caution to the wind and sneak a couple of drinks? Is this person known for being able to hold back when it comes to alcohol? Most importantly, can you trust them!

If these questions cannot be answered emphatically, GET A TAXI! This may add extra on to the cost of your night out but what would be worse – killing some poor unsuspecting other driver and or someone travelling with you or, spending a few extra pounds to make sure everyone is safe?

If You’re Not Driving But Someone-Else Is

You should keep your eyes peeled with this one. There are various ways you can make sure someone stays safe without having to hold vigil all night long. If you’re holding a party try a few of the points below:

  • Make sure there is plenty of food for people to eat.
  • Lay on plenty of tasty soft drinks. Try a non-alcoholic fruit punch so people don’t feel like they’re drinking something “boring”.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for car keys when people come through the door. Sure, you might get a few comments about the reasoning behind this but, by the next morning you’ll more than likely receive a phone call or two thanking you for making sure guests didn’t drive.
  • If you’re at a party and you know someone is over the legal limit and have their car keys on them, don’t be afraid to hide them away (they’ll thank you for it the next day).

How to Detect a Drunk Driver

When you’ve had a few drinks yourself and climb into a car, you may not have all of your faculties about you but, there are still some obvious signs that you should stop the person behind the wheel from driving:

  • Driving way below the speed limit.
  • Taking corners far too wide.
  • Swerving.
  • Unresponsive reactions to things like traffic light changes or stop signs.

These are just a selection of the things to look out for. The main point of this piece is to “drive” home how important it is that no-one drinks and drives. Laws are there for a reason and we all know the devastation an accident can cause.

Summer Might Just Be on the Way – Tips on Preparing Your Car

It may not seem like it so far this year but, at some point we will experience summer in the UK. We have posted many hints and tips over the past months on what you should do to keep you and your car safe when you’re out on the road and whilst we do place a heavy emphasis on winter driving, it’s just as important during the summer months.

In the following few words, you’re going to find come handy tips that will help keep your car in good condition when the temperatures are on the rise. These tips will also help to keep you safe as well.

The Windscreen

Having a clear windscreen is of vital importance and this doesn’t just mean the parts that your wiper blades reach, it means ALL of the windscreen. When the weather starts to warm up guess what we get? Yes! Flies! These pesky insects appear to actually make a “bee-line” for your windscreen, especially when you’re driving at high speeds.

There isn’t any driver on the road that hasn’t suffered that horrid splat sound only to find a fly squashed all over the one place on your windscreen you need to see through properly at all times. You can’t stop flies committing suicide on your windscreen of course but, you can make sure what remains of the poor creature comes away without too much trouble.

Make sure you replace your wipers regularly. It’s not always easy to tell when they’re starting to wear (until you hear that terrible squeak) so prevention is better than a cure. You should also make sure you keep the washer fluid well topped up and use a decent detergent that’s made for car windscreens.

Salt and Dust

Salt will be more prevalent during the winter months and we tend to leave washing our cars at this time of year until it gets a little warmer. After all, the rain will wash away the dirt right? Wrong! Your bodywork may look OK as far as the top of your car goes but, what’s going on underneath?

Salt is corrosive and when it gets into the underside of your car, it will quickly start to cause rust. Now is the time to give your car a good old scrub from top to bottom, making sure you pay particular attention to the bodywork underneath.

Dust is another problem. If you have air-conditioning this can get inside (not to mention all the pollen that’s floating around) so, it’s a good idea to make sure you clean any filters you have to ensure they’re free of dust and other small particles that can clog this part of your car up. In fact, this is something you should do on a regular basis throughout the year.


It doesn’t really matter what time of year it is, you should always make sure you keep your car clean on the outside and maintain any internal filters that can get clogged with dirt. The only difference in summer is you’re dealing with slightly different issues.

Nervous About Your Driving Test – We Can Help

So, you’ve been through all those gruelling driving lessons and then one day your instructor turns to you and says “you’re ready, let’s book the test”. What’s your first reaction? Well, it could be any number of things to start with.

You might feel very proud of yourself because the person sitting next to you in the car deems you to be a good enough student that you’re now ready to take your exam. Soon after, the nerves start to kick in and doubts start to make their way into your mind.

It’s very easy to start thinking about all the mistakes you’ve made whilst learning. But, this is not what you should focus on. A qualified driving instructor will NEVER put your forward for a test unless they think you’re ready to pass. It doesn’t do much good for their reputation for a start plus, people who teach others to drive do so for a reason – the sense of satisfaction that they’ve taught someone well enough to go out on the road safely.

When the Nerves Start to Creep In

This is when you should turn those butterflies you’re feeling into something positive. Fear can actually be a good thing (believe it or not). Your body produces more adrenalin when you’re afraid and, in turn, this makes you way more alert than normal.

This means that when you actually take your test, you’ll be far more aware of other road users and what they’re up to. It will also mean you can take things in far quicker which will help.

So, this is the first thing, embrace those nerves!

Leading Up to Your Test

These days, you have to take a theory test before you’re allowed to drive on your own. One of the biggest mistakes people make is to study like mad and try to cram in as much as they can. What you have to remember is you should rely on what your brain has absorbed, even if you can’t recall something right away.

Going mad and asking everyone you know to test you isn’t going to help really. Of course, you should do this but don’t overdo it. Instead, pace yourself. If you know you have say, a couple of weeks before your test, just take a few minutes each day to go over certain things you’re not confident about.

The Night Before

This is possibly the hardest part. The reality that you’re going to be sat next to someone that’s watching your every move can be incredibly daunting so, below are a few points you should consider:

  • Don’t skimp on sleep, if you’re tired the next day, it won’t help.
  • Imagine you’re going out for a drive and if it helps, pretend your instructor is sat next to you.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the test centre and aim to be there at least 15 minutes before the test is due to start.

Finally, if you’ve failed before FORGET about it. Remember, thousands of people take driving tests each day and pass with flying colours and you can be one of them!

Dealing With Panic Attacks While Driving

This is actually quite a serious issue and, many people who suffer from panic attacks when driving have ended up giving up using their car altogether because it’s just too stressful an ordeal. This is why we have decided to bring you some information that might help. There are all sorts of reasons why you will suffer a panic attack when you’re driving but, first you should understand how and why this happens.

How to Recognise a Panic Attack

This is possibly one of the strangest things your body and mind will go through. First of all, there are the physical symptoms. You may notice that you start to feel hot and begin to sweat. As the attack worsens your heart rate will go up which also causes your blood pressure to rise. Other physical symptoms you may suffer include shaking and a general feeling of weakness.

Mentally, it’s a pretty frightening experience and we ask you to remember the word “mental” here. You may feel like everything is closing in around you and you have no control over what’s happening. This brings on the “fight or flee” feeling which every human being is programmed with. Once you reach this stage in your mind, it can be pretty difficult to stop the whole chain of events.

What You Can Do

If you think you’re about to suffer a panic attack (and once you’ve had this happen once, you will know when it’s going to happen again) there are a number of things you can do:

  • Don’t forget to breathe slowly and deeply. At this point you may start to experience the onset of your panic and your senses will be heightened which means you’re probably more aware of potential dangers on the road than most people. So, try not to worry too much and (as hard as it may seem), stay calm.
  • If you’ve had this happen to you before try a distraction when you’re driving. This doesn’t mean hang loads of weird looking toys on your rear view mirror (that will just take your eyes off the road). Instead, try putting some soothing music on or, one of the best things to do is get an audio book. These are things that will take your mind off the stress that can start an attack.
  • Stay safe! If you drive recklessly, this will raise your blood pressure and that’s not a good sign as we have explained. Stick to the speed limit, and don’t get upset about what others are doing on the road.

If All Else Fails

If you’re already at that point where you feel you can’t get into your car again, you have to understand that panic attacks occur as a state of mind. This takes us back to the word “mental”. It’s not all in your head, the symptoms you experience are very real but, panic attacks are brought on by association.

For example, if you experienced your first attack because someone suddenly pulled out of a side road, this sort of thing can trigger the same experience again. If you’re truly at the end of your tether, try talking to a professional.

The one thing to remember is all is not lost and you CAN get over this!

Costs of Owning a Car

When we reach the age of 17, we all dream of owning our own car. Not only does it give us a sense of freedom, it’s a bit like one more step towards becoming an adult. The fact is, this is one of the biggest expenses you’re going to undertake at this stage in your life, and whilst many of us have Mum and Dad behind us to help with paying for our first vehicle, it’s wise to consider what you’ll have to pay on your own.

Driving Lessons

This is where it all starts. Driving lessons are something you should think about using a professional for. There are a couple of reasons for this. One: You will have someone sat beside you who knows how to keep their cool, no matter what mistakes you make. Two: They’re properly trained to teach you how to handle a car so you’ll pass your test with flying colours.

You can try and save a bit of money by asking a friend or relative to teach you but, honestly, this will come with its stresses and it will probably take you a lot longer to learn (not to mention the bad habits you might pick-up on the way).

Buying a Car

Unless you’re really lucky and your parents are prepared to buy you a brand new car at their expense, thinking about the deposit you’ll have to pay is something-else to consider. Of course, many of us decide to go “second-hand” with our first car (I know I did). If you decide to do this, the chances are you’ll have to pay for it outright and there are pitfalls. Below are some tips that will help you avoid them.

  • Make sure you take an older person with you when you go to view the car. Unfortunately, even though you think you’re an adult being in your late teens does still mean many people will think you’re a little “green” behind the ears.
  • When you have decided on the car you would like, make sure it’s looked over by a professional mechanic. In fact, certain organizations that offer vehicle insurance will arrange for one of their people to do it for you.
  • Don’t make a snap decision, and don’t be dazzled by all that fancy chrome and large exhaust pipes.


This is something that will dictate what type of car you have. Again, I’m afraid your age goes against you here. Many insurance companies see young people as a risk on the roads which pushes the premium up. Make sure you do some research and choose a car in an insurance bracket that you can afford.


This is possibly the biggest expense these days. We all know how much fuel costs at the pump so; you should try and make sure you know how much you’ll be using each week. Obviously, the more you “cruise” around, the more it will cost you in fuel.

In Conclusion

Having a car is probably the first asset you will ever purchase as a teenager. If you follow some of the tips above, you won’t find your-self not being able to drive because you haven’t got the money!