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Drivers advised to prepare for ‘The Great Summer Getaway’

Around the same time each year drivers are warned to prepare themselves for what is known as ‘the great summer getaway’. Even though the date varies each year, it is always the Friday after schools break up for the summer that it starts, as thousands of Brits embark on their holidays. This means that roads, public transport and airports see an influx in travellers and therefore traffic and waiting times increase considerably.

This week motoring organisations have warned drivers that on Friday 25th July there will be a substantial increase in the amount of traffic on the roads. They have claimed that between 2pm and 6pm there will be around twenty per cent more traffic and up to fifty thousand commuters will be affected each hour. Chris Lambert, INRIX Traffic Expert, said: “On Friday 25th July, although the morning rush hour will be noticeably lighter than usual, that won’t last for long. By about 11am, traffic levels will already be starting to rise and they’ll peak between 4pm and 5pm with congestion nearly 20% higher than you would find even on a normal Friday afternoon.” Continue reading

Are Learner Drivers Dangerous?

It has been reported this week that one in five learner drivers have points on their licenses even though they haven’t even passed their tests yet, which has caused many people to call for harsher restrictions for young drivers. Data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) shows that there are currently almost six thousand drivers that have points on their provisional licenses and that three in ten people are unaware that you can gain points on your licence while learning to drive.

Most of the points for learner drivers were handed out for speeding (60 per cent), however 43 per cent of the points were issued for jumping red lights and 33 per cent for driving without car insurance. Discussing the issue, a DVLA spokesman said: “We take road safety very seriously and all motorists, including learner drivers, should be aware that if they drive irresponsibly they can be prosecuted.” Meanwhile, Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said: “It is incredibly shocking that so many new drivers are accumulating points especially before officially passing their test. The one positive aspect is that bad driving is being spotted and prosecuted.” Continue reading

Northern Ireland introduces new Driving Laws

Over the past year a number of groups have called for the UK’s driving test to be changed so that learners have to spend at least twelve months practicing before they are allowed to take their tests. Furthermore, many believe that it would be better for learner drivers to be taught how to drive at night, on the motorway and in bad weather conditions in order to better prepare them for when they are allowed to drive on their own.

Those that have put these proposals forward have claimed that if learner drivers spent more time practising to drive before being given their licences there would be less accidents on the road, particularly accidents involving young or inexperienced drivers. However, it is not easy to change such regulations and laws, which is why it is surprising to see that Northern Ireland have recently changed their driving laws so drastically. Continue reading

Petrol Prices Fall, but are we Better Off?

Just under a month ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that there would be a freeze in fuel duty across the UK. Even though this sounded like good news at first, the fact of the matter is that fuel prices across the country are still extremely high and fuel tax makes up a substantial amount of this cost. Many groups said that it would have been better for the Chancellor to reduce the amount of fuel tax instead of just freeze it, however this is an extremely unlikely move for the Chancellor to make while the UK still has a large deficit.

However, even though the government failed to reduce fuel duty, reports have suggested that the cost of petrol is currently at a five year low. According to the AA, the average cost of a litre of petrol in mid-March was 129.46p, while a year ago it would have cost around 138.42p. Surprisingly, London is one of the cheapest areas in the UK to buy petrol, where a litre costs an average of 136.3p, while Scotland has the most expensive average petrol price at 137.3p per litre. Continue reading

Police warn Drivers to be prepared for Heavy Fog

As the weather starts to warm, Britain’s drivers need to prepare themselves for the prospect of driving through fog. Unfortunately, as we only tend to have a noticeable amount of fog across the UK for a couple of days each year, drivers often forget how to drive through it safely. However, if not taken seriously, fog can be even more dangerous than driving in wet or icy conditions, which is why police around the country are reminding drivers how to stay safe.

One of the most important things to remember when driving through fog is that visibility is extremely poor, which is why it’s so important for drivers to make sure all their lights are in good working condition. It is common for drivers not to notice that one of their lights is broken, especially their rear lights, which is why it’s so important to take the time to check them on a regular basis. Continue reading

Drivers warned over Dangers of Driving through Floods

Over the past few weeks drivers across the nation have been repeatedly warned to avoid driving through flood water, however even with these warnings it seems as many still choose to take the risk. Along with numerous homes and businesses, a large amount of vehicles across the UK have been damaged by flood water, leading to many being written off by the owners’ car insurance providers.

Just ten days ago a number of motorists on the A1088 near the Tostock and the Woolpit Business Park had to be rescued from their vehicles by soldiers who were luckily passing by with equipment on hand. Discussing the state the cars were in, a spokesman from the Suffolk Police said: “The water was up to the steering wheel and the woman was hanging out of the car window when crews arrived.” Not only does this show the extent of the flooding in the Suffolk area, but also the amount of danger the motorists put themselves in by choosing to drive through flood water. Continue reading

American Politicians debate safety of in-car Technology

The issue of drivers being distracted by technology has long been debated, and as a result laws have been passed which make using certain devices such as mobile phones illegal while behind the wheel. However, as technology develops new debates are surfacing, especially as some devices claim to be ‘hands-free’ and therefore don’t break current laws.

There is an argument that even hands-free devices distract drivers however, which has led to numerous driving safety organisations campaigning for them to be banned altogether. Politicians are also struggling to keep up with the influx of new technology, such as the Google Glass which is currently more popular in the US than in the UK. One politician in New York, Félix Ortiz, has even gone so far as to say that he believes Google Glasses should be banned for those operating a vehicle. Continue reading

Police Warn against Drink Driving over Christmas

We all know the devastating consequences of drink driving, however over Christmas there is an increase in those trying to bend the rules as they attend more celebrations and events. This is why police are already ramping up their anti-drink driving campaigns and warning drivers that being over the limit behind the wheel will not be tolerated.

In order to prevent people from risking their lives and the lives of others, Derbyshire Constabulary and the West Midlands Police have set up a campaign where those that report people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can receive a reward of up to one thousand pounds. Chief Inspector Steve Wilson, the head of roads policing in Derbyshire, said: “This time of year is one of celebration for many, including work parties and especially with family and friends. Continue reading

Charity calls for Ban on Hands-Free Phones

If you are caught using your mobile for calling or texting while behind the wheel you can be fined up to one hundred pounds and will receive points on your licence. This is one of the reasons that so many drivers choose to use hands-free kits while on the road, however you can still be penalised for dangerous driving should a police officer believe it is distracting you

Since the introduction of the hands-free kit there has been an ongoing debate as to whether they are actually safer than handheld phones, with many arguing that being on the phone hands-free or otherwise distracts a person from driving. This is one of the reasons that the road safety charity Brake has called for a ban on hands-free kits as well as an increasing the fine for those caught using their mobiles while behind the wheel. Continue reading

Should the way we learn to drive change?

It’s a question that has led to some passionate conversations over the past few months, which is why the debate over the amount and types of lessons a person has to take before being allowed to take a driving test is an important one. There have been a number of people who have claimed that the current system doesn’t prepare drivers for when they are driving on their own – especially on motorways and at night. Continue reading