Archive 28th June 2013

Speeding Myths for New Drivers

When you first start to learn how to drive, the biggest telling off you’ll more than likely get from your instructor is NOT to speed. When you’ve passed your test and you’re deemed fit to drive a car on your own, what’s the first lesson you forget? Yes! Sticking to the speed limit, even if you’re shaking your head as you read these words, just think about it for a moment? There are times when you will have broken the limit even if you’re not being reckless.

Today, as a new driver, you’re going to learn about some of the things you think might get you off the hook when in fact they definitely won’t!

1. There Were No Signs Indicating a 30 MPH Speed Limit

The only time 30mph speed limit signs are required is when it may change along a particular road. For example, if you’re allowed to drive at 50mph but then it’s reduced to 30mph you will know this by a sign. However, this lower limit is in place when there are street lights at the side of the road and they’re at least 200 yards apart so don’t think you’ll get away with this excuse if you’re stopped!

2.The Police Officer Was Not Wearing a High-Viz Jacket

This really is pushing it a bit far. If you receive a fine through the post telling you that you were caught speeding when a police officer was using detection equipment and he/she was not wearing a high-viz jacket, this will not go down well with the court. There are recommendations in place about this but it won’t stop you being fined.

3. The Picture Taken by a Speed Camera Wasn’t Me

This is probably one of the most common excuses the courts receive when drivers are contesting a speeding fine. It might be true, you could have leant your car to someone-else and they were photographed speeding. However, this system is in place purely to measure the speed at which a vehicle is travelling and not to identify who it was.

No matter who was behind the wheel, the registered keeper will be responsible for paying the fine. So, for all you youngsters out there, watch out when Dad says you can take his car for a “spin”!

4. There Should be Two Police Officers Present

This is NOT the case (except when you’re on the motorway). You may think that it’s your word against theirs but, the law is there for a reason and becoming a police officer takes a lot of training and hard work. Once they are qualified, the law is on their side. This means a speeding offence can be handed out by just one officer by simply corroborating what he/she has to say by looking at their speedometer.

So, there you have it….

There are loads of other reasons that people think they can’t be “done” for speeding and nearly all of them will not hold any weight in court. The fact is, if you know you’ve broken the law by speeding, you should accept your punishment and be more careful in future.

Beating Road Rage

Our website is full of information on how you can successfully learn to drive (among other things). However, today we want to give you some information on what seems to be an ever increasing buzz word on the roads and that’s “road rage”.

There are all sorts of reasons why this has suddenly become an accepted phrase. Perhaps it’s the increased number of drivers on the road? General traffic congestion or, it could be that we’re all just too stressed out by the time we hit the road.

Whatever the reason, there are things you can do to stop it from happening. We have one question first though. Have you ever lost your temper? If the answer is no, think about it again! Even the most placid of personalities can be stretched at times, and losing your temper at some stage is inevitable.

What Should I Do If I Start to Lose My Temper?

It’s not difficult these days for your blood pressure to start to rise, especially when you’re in heavy traffic. Hot weather doesn’t seem to help either. Many drivers have their windows open and you’re also surrounded by hot metal cars that emanate heat, all adding to the whole “hot and bothered” feeling.

What you have to remember is you’re not perfect, no-one is! Everyone makes mistakes on the road and, even if you’re not in the wrong (on this particular occasion), you should think about implementing a couple of the points below:

  • If you do happen to make a mistake, be gracious. Hold your hand up in an apologetic gesture. This often calms a situation before it starts. As hard as it may seem even if you think you haven’t done anything wrong, you’ll be the bigger person for making the first polite move.
  • Don’t give someone filthy looks because you think they’re being an idiot; just concentrate on your own safety.

What Should I Do If I Think Someone-Else Is About to Lose It?

It’s all too easy to react when someone starts to gesticulate at you. Again, this may seem incredibly unfair because you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong. What you have to remember is this person is probably only going to be part of your life for a few seconds even if it is an unpleasant experience.

The best piece of advice we can give you here is to try and diffuse the situation. Hold a hand up allowing the other driver to think they were in the right to throw that nasty hand gesture your way. Below are a couple of other tips:

  • If you think someone has lost it and they’re weaving in and out of lanes in front or behind you, DO NOT do the same thing, they’ll soon get bored and leave you alone.
  • If you think you’re being followed, go to the nearest and most public place you can find (a police station is always good if you can find one) and park-up.

Above all, don’t rise to the challenge your safety on the road could count on it.

Your Car and Insurance Costs

As a newly qualified driver you will no doubt get loads of advice from all sorts of people. The trouble is that not all of this advice (as well meaning as it is) is something you should follow. Friends might get excited about the sort of car you should purchase and, if you’re in your teens or early 20’s the emphasis is probably more on power and looks than practicality.

If you’re someone new to the world of cars and owning one, insurance is going to be one of the biggest costs associated with your vehicle (aside from fuel) and, the type of car you opt for will have a huge bearing on how much you pay.

Unfortunately, many insurance companies see younger or new drivers as high risk. The reason for this is that to a certain extent you’re still learning and statistics prove that insurance claims are higher from people in your bracket. In the following few words, you’ll find some tips and advice on what you should think about in terms of the type of car you have and how to get the best insurance deal.

Type of Car

Basically, unless you have pots of money (which is unlikely), you are going to be limited on the type of car you can have. The more powerful it is, the more insurance you pay. The more expensive the car, the more the insurance will be. These are pretty obvious points to think about but, when you’re caught up in the excitement of buying a new vehicle, they can easily be forgotten.

Before You Purchase a Car

The best thing to do is to at least have an idea of what your monthly outgoing will be for insurance. If you have your eye on a particular type of car, check out how much it will cost you to insure it. There are various ways you can go about this.

Comparison sites on the internet are a great place to start. Because this is likely to be your first insurance policy, you will need to get an idea of what all the companies out there have to offer in terms of discounts and incentives.

How Insurance Companies Help

You may think companies like this are just out for making money. In fact, these days many of them are also interested in making sure you stay safe on the roads and, there are plenty of ways in which they will help you do this. The safer you are, the less it’s likely to cost you. Below are some incentives to look out for:

  • Consider safe driving schemes. There are insurance companies that will fit your vehicle with a device that measures how safely you drive. The higher you rate, the more discount you receive.
  • Think about taking an advanced driving course that will give you a certificate once completed. This will go in your favour when you’re looking for insurance.

One Other Point

When you’re looking for an insurance company, make sure you take a look at those that specialise in new or young drivers. They will often have many more benefits to a standard policy.

Above all, MAKE SURE you have insurance. Without it, you could end up in a lot of trouble!

Driving Long Distance

Have you ever looked at a lorry driver as you’ve overtaken them on the motorway and wondered just how they manage to drive all day long? Well, if you have then you’d be wrong to think they spend every waking hour behind the wheel, that would just be dangerous and against the law!

Lorry drivers are subject to very strict rules not just in the UK but in Europe as well so, if you’re about to embark on a long journey don’t think it’s as easy as the average “trucker” makes it look. Following are some very important tips on what you should do prior to and during your journey.

Check Your Vehicle

Now, this doesn’t matter if your trip is just a few hours up the motorway or, you’re going abroad. The same applies for everyone:

  • Check the tyre pressure and don’t be afraid to get the manual out for accurate readings.
  • Check the oil levels.
  • Make sure things like your lights and wipers are all working correctly.
  • Your car should be clean – this is important, if you happen to come across the police on the road and they can’t read your number plate, you could be stopped and given a good telling off!
  • For longer journeys, consider putting your car in for a full service.
  • If you’re going abroad, it’s wise to ensure you have the correct insurance paperwork and any other credentials required of you in other countries.

Planning Your Route

OK, so you might be thinking “I have a Sat-Nav, what’s the problem?” Sure, these gadgets are great (most of the time) but, we’ve all heard  the odd horror story so, if you are going to use a device like this take a map with you as well. If you’re going abroad, make sure you have the latest software and it really is wise not to depend solely on your Sat-Nav system.

If there is more than one driver, make a plan of who will drive at what intervals and, for how long. One very important piece of advice here is not to over estimate how long you can safely stay behind the wheel.

For excessively long distances, budget for an overnight stay somewhere. This isn’t a race! Safety is hugely important and driving on the roads abroad will seem very different to the UK. This means more concentration and probably shorter driving times for each of you.

During Your Trip

Keep plenty of water and various snacks in the car with you. It’s not a foregone conclusion that you won’t breakdown so having some essentials close to hand will come in useful. You should also ensure you make plenty of stops and that doesn’t mean just when you need to re-fuel.

Motorway service areas are not just there for petrol, food and toilet stops. They’re called “rest areas” in various parts of the world for a reason! When you do make a stop, stretch your legs and take a little walk. This will stop your muscles from becoming stiff which can affect your ability to drive.

Above all, remember that taking a long distance drive should be fun for everyone but, safety is something you really cannot forget.