Archive 23rd December 2013

Tips for Safe Driving This Christmas

As a new driver, the thought of going out on the roads at Christmas time can be somewhat of a worry. Not only is this one of the busiest times, people in general are not really taking much notice of what’s going on around them. Rather, they’re thinking about whether or not they’ve remembered presents for everyone, how they’re going to deal with the usual family “fallout” over Christmas dinner and a whole host of the other things.

Couple this with heavy traffic and poor weather, it’s no wonder there are more accidents during the festive season! So, we’ve decided to give you some tips on how you can stay safe when you’re out on the road.

Avoid Drink Drivers and Drink Driving

It goes without saying that if you intend to drive, you SHOULD NOT touch a drop of alcohol. Even the slightest sip can lead to your concentration levels being affected, and as we all know the police are particularly vigilant about people drinking and driving.

If you think you’re going to end up having a tipple (or two) at the office party or at the pub with friends there are a couple of things you can do:

  • If you’re in a group have a designated driver, and make sure this is someone that can be trusted not to reach for the bottle!
  • Take a taxi! This might cost you more than it does to drive but a few extra pounds for your trip is nothing compared to the devastation a road accident can cause due to driving when you’ve “had a few”.
  • If you can’t arrange either of the above, ask a friend or family member to be “taxi driver” for the afternoon or evening.

Avoiding drink drivers can be a little trickier because you’re not in control of what others do. However, there are some signs to look out for. If the vehicle in front is moving at a slower pace than expected, make sure you don’t follow them too closely.

The same goes for people who are driving at erratic speeds, or appear to be weaving about on the road. If you can, turn off and take a different route. If that’s not possible, choose a place where you can safely stop for a few minutes so you’re not driving behind or in front of the vehicle.

Get Your Car Checked

Lots of us will be making trips by car to friends or families during the festive season, so if you want to avoid any mishaps book your car in for a winter check. When you do this, your chosen mechanic will check things like the battery, lights, and wipers and anything-else that might mean you’ll be left calling for roadside assistance.

Above All

Although the tips above may seem obvious to you, you would be surprised at how many people don’t think about them. If you remain vigilant and make sure your car is in good working order, you’ll be set for a very Merry Christmas!

Don’t Stress Just Because It’s Rush Hour!

As a new driver it may surprise you to know that even the most seasoned drivers can get stressed out when they have to take to the roads during the rush hour, and with the festive period just around the corner this can make things ten times worse!

Some refer to rush hour as “stop, start driving” and with good reason! You also have to remember that this type of driving is usually done when people aren’t exactly at their best. First thing in the morning people are tired or even worse some are still feeling the after effects from the night before.

In the evening, it’s the same story. Everyone is tired after a hard day at work, their stress levels might already be up because it’s been a particularly hard day and all their concerned about is getting home to a warm house and a cup of tea.

Concentration Levels

Given the information above, it’s easy to understand that more accidents happen during rush hour than at any other time of the day. You also have to take into account the fact that you’re probably driving in heavy traffic which means you’ll generally be moving pretty slowly.

Coupled with thinking about other things and feeling like you have nothing more to do than stare at the car in front it’s no surprise that you’re concentration levels wane, and this is the one thing you need to avoid. Instead of looking at what the car in front is up to, try looking further along the line of traffic.

This will help you work out what speed everyone is likely to be doing when it’s “your turn” to move along. Doing this also helps you anticipate anything untoward that might happen.

Keep Your Patience

This is possibly one of the hardest things to do especially if you’re late for work. However, being told off for being a few minutes late instead of spending the day trying to sort out a road accident is a far better option. Avoid trying to nip into gaps that appear so you can get ahead more quickly. In fact, this isn’t going to get you anywhere! Plus, you might upset another road user and it doesn’t bear thinking about where that might end up!

Tips To Keep You Calm

Whilst we recommend you concentrate at all times, there are a few things you can do that will help to keep you calm:

  • Keep your arms and shoulders as relaxed as possible. The more you tense up the more your body will react.
  • If you do happen to stop in a traffic jam, have a stretch. Roll your head around or stretch your arms (but only when it’s safe to do so).
  • Finally, try listening to something that makes you laugh or pop on some soothing mood music.

If you follow some of the advice given above, you’ll find your drive to and from work or that trip to and from your Christmas shopping a far more pleasurable experience.

Car Tax Discs Are About To Be A Thing of the Past

Today, you were going to find some tips on how to deal with rush hour driving as we move ever closer to the Christmas shopping season. However, a headline caught our eye today that needs to be addressed!

For those of you who are still in the process of learning to drive, you might not be aware of how taxing your car works or, indeed what it even is. Car tax is something every legal driver has to pay in order to use the roads in the UK. The reason for this is so the Government can keep all types of roads, both minor and major in good condition so they’re safe to use.

However, don’t get too excited about the title to this article because we’re not about to tell you the Government has decided to abolish car tax! Instead, Mr. George Osbourne will announce in his autumn statement that drivers will no longer have to display a tax disc in their vehicle.

How to Tax Your Vehicle Currently

You can apply for your tax disc online and this is done using the DVLA website. If you’re applying for the first time, or you want to renew there are a few requirements which you will find below:

  • You must be able to prove you’re the registered keeper of the vehicle being taxed.
  • The DVLA must have your current address, correct name and vehicle details.
  • If applying for a renewal you can apply using the V11, V85/1 or V5C certificate.
  • You must be able to prove you have insurance on your vehicle.
  • Finally, your vehicle (if needed) must have a current MOT.

It’s actually very easy to apply because all you need to do is follow the on-screen instructions. Paying is also very simple by using a debit or credit card. If you don’t have access to the internet, you can still apply via post at your local post-office but this is where things are about to change.

What the Government Intends to Do

Once the autumn statement has been disclosed to the public it will include the fact that you will no longer have to display a tax disc in your car. Instead, you will have to register and pay for your tax online. This will then go into a central database and every single vehicle that passes through various road traffic cameras will be automatically checked to ensure it’s taxed.

Police officers on the beat will still play a part in making sure this tax is paid but instead of checking a disc, they will run the registration through a central database.

Is This a Good Idea?

On first glance, it’s hard to imagine that policing such a radical change in the way road tax is paid will be easier to do however the Government has announced this will save businesses across the UK about £7 million in administration costs.

Will it work? Who knows, but all we can say right now is keep an eye out for these changes should they be implemented.